Something I have been contemplating this week is the link between the way we treat our children and our relationship to the natural world. Peter Gray talks about the way in which hunter gatherer communities allow children the freedom to play and explore. Trusting in their natural curiosity and desire to learn. He notes a change in the way adults related to children at the advent of agriculture. Parenting methods tended to become more punitive and focused on obedience.
Gray points out that this may be because success in farming requires “adhering to tried and true methods” where as success in hunting and gathering involves creative and flexible thinking.
Parenting practices that focus on obedience seem to also fit well with the industrial age: Workers were required to carry out repetitive tasks in a consistent fashion. The legacy of this approach to parenting is still with us and it has become so normalised that many of us are still fearful around allowing our children to be active participants in their own lives.
Where are we now? It is apparent to most that it is no longer desirable to raise compliant workers and citizens deprived of vitality. Similarly it is not desirable to control and suppress the natural environment, draining and degrading resources until life itself fades to a whisper.
Perhaps what we need is to bring our wildness back, trust our children to play and learn from the natural curiosity which overflows from them. Providing a rich environment of adults who care and can model empathy and love.
Our natural creativity is tied to this wildness.
Unlocking the kind of thinking that unbinds us from our current self destructive rampage. In doing so we find that we are not alone. Somewhere there is a bright possibility of us sharing creative thought to find a different way. Discovering our own potential and noticing Gaia as a mirror for ourselves.