TEACH YOUR CHILDREN
By Roland Watson
To close this series, I want to return to children. This is because the new generations of humanity represent the best hope for the future. To break free of historical patterns and problems, we must alter our behavior, and this will be most easily accomplished with our young.
At issue is the question of how children learn, and the answer is that children learn by copying their parents. The question then becomes, what do you want your children to copy? (It seems that we are not going to get off the hook - of modifying our own behavior - that easily.)
For the first category of education, about the universe and life, you want your children to copy:
Your awe at and interest in the marvel of existence, including your awareness of the unfathomability of the universe, including of its, and our, fundamental purpose.
Your interpretation of this unfathomability: that you do not react to it negatively; rather, that you consider life to be a wonderful opportunity.
Your belief, and actions!, that you should therefore strive to make the most of your life.
Your discipline, and your pursuit of education and experience, to accomplish this.
Your desire to understand something which no one has ever understood before.
Your love of reading, about all aspects of life, including such subjects as philosophy, history, science and art.
Your creativity, as demonstrated by your efforts to make art and music and crafts, and through writing, singing and dancing.
Your love of travel.
Your recognition that life regularly involves hard knocks.
And finally, your courage and resilience, and humor, in the face of these challenges.
This last message is particularly important. Children should be taught that life is often unfair, and that many unfair things will almost certainly happen to them. They need to learn to fight against this unfairness. They need to be taught that if someone tries to harm them, that they should fight back, and, how to do it. They need to develop the courage to defend themselves.
They also need to understand that sometimes they will win, but other times they will lose. More than anything, they should not go through life afraid to take a punch, or to give one.
About the world
For society, social relationships, the natural world, and the practicalities of getting on in life, you want your children to copy:
Your awareness of the existence of behavioral form.
The diligence that you bring to fighting it, and the specific ways in which you do, including how you have disciplined and strengthened your free will.
Your lack of bigotry, and your nonacceptance of discrimination.
Your sensitivity to, respect for, and interest in other cultures. Your acceptance - your celebration - of cultural differences.
Your lack of interest in television, particularly in mass entertainment, including the fact that in your house the TV is usually off.
Your skepticism of social messages and influences, in all advertisements, on TV and in films, on the Internet, in books, newspapers and magazines, in music, from schools, and from political, business and religious leaders.
Your skepticism of society's view of the goals that people should have, and of all other such "social truths."
Your ethics, beginning with your honesty.
How you regularly use your will to deny your personal selfishness. How you refuse to compete, and instead strive to cooperate.
How you react to people positively. How you do not respond with immediate negativity to their ideas, plans and aspirations.
Your patience, and tolerance, and willingness to compromise.
Your love, of them, and of your spouse or partner, and of your parents.
Your enjoyment of talking to them.
Your love of nature.
Your appreciation of the beauty, and the value, and the rights, of all other forms of life.
Your love of animals.
Your veganism, or your minimal consumption of animal products.
Your concern for, and your desire to protect, the natural environment.
Your ability to maintain your self-control.
Your peaceful and rational approach to solving problems.
Your lack of complacency with regard to social and environmental problems, both at home and in other countries, and your activism in seeking their resolution.
And lastly, your commitment to achieving your goals in the face of any and all resistance; your unwillingness to give up; and your willingness to renew your efforts following setbacks, personal failure and defeat.
To get active
Finally, for physical activities you want your children to copy:
Your devotion to exercise.
Your cultivation of a variety of forms of physical activity, particularly outdoor activities - such as hiking and camping - which immerse you in nature.
Your avoidance of alcohol and drugs.
Your belief that a sound mind and a sound body are the two inseparable components of a sound being.
To love life
In summary, you want your children to copy your love of life. More accurately, you want them to develop their own. You want them to share, and duplicate, all the fun that you have, and all the happiness that you create.
This, then, is a complete education. I hope you are able to provide it. When passed from generation to generation it will form the basis for a just social and natural order, and, on the individual level, it will provide the reward of greater understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of life.
In the next series, I will explore our brain, and mind.
© Roland Watson 2014