I sometimes wonder if the human race is the only species that still fights for survival even when food, shelter and more than ideal circumstances are so over abundant. Are we the only species that needs to keep feeling that enough is never enough? Why are some people constantly fighting, and others feel quite happy to ‘settle’ with not much?
Some people (including me) feel that for families to function well, that they stick together. A long time ago, boys use to stay with their fathers as the fathers worked the land, worked on their trade or went to hunt. Girls would stick with their mothers. There is something so beautiful about this journey, where a child can always feel safe to explore and learn from their world, and always look up to the person that loves them unconditionally.
We have wonderful labels for eras of the past. Ancient times, Medieval, Renaissance, Industrial etc.
I have a feeling that when people look back on us, right here, right now, they would call us the ‘Competition Era’.
Because we living in a time where we pit our children against each other, rank them against each other, and put them through a rigorous timetable to ensure that they are the best.
Because when children are born, we feed them the thoughts that they will be the best, and can be anything they want to be, as long as they believe and work hard. We also sacrifice so much of ourselves so that our kids can reach potentials that are years (sometimes decades) in the waiting. Maths and English classes on weekends, language classes, practicing musical instruments; I know a lot of very accomplished children who are far more ‘talented’ than mine… but you simply cannot put “I have a great dad because he listens to me when I’m scared” on a piece of paper that is of any significance in THIS current world setting, and that’s the problem.
Also, we are in an age that has FULL access to what is going on around the world. It is the first time ever that the entire human race knows about what is going on to people around the world. Funnily enough, to be human, you would think that we would do all we can to assist, give and help those who are not just less fortunate than us, but those that are actually dying, starving and suffering so badly on the other side of the world. Instead, you will find, that most of us may give $30 a month, as long as it doesn’t inconvenience us too much, to these people.
But in this Era, the Competition Era, it is not what is defined as human. We have been taught to take care of ourselves. We have been taught that no one else will help us if we do not first help ourselves. It is a time where competition of being the smartest, fastest, prettiest, most talented etc is being instantly displayed on social media, for instant self gratification. Our motivation in life is no longer (for the majority) to help and assist those who are suffering so badly, they watch their children die, or the homeless right here in our own streets. Our motivation in life is purely for ourselves, our little circle or people.
I believe that the world is slowly starting to shift, and this is where and why homeschooling is making a remarkable increase all over the world. Suddenly we see that to set out children in competition with each other doesn’t teach our children life skills, how to love others, how to actually survive in this world, how to be human. We see competition, rankings and a full schedule as a fast track way to tell our children that family connections come a far second to self gratification and academic/monetary success.
We teach this to our kids the moment we rush them out the door to go to a really great school that we lovingly paid for. We teach this to our kids when we rush them from school to their violin/soccer/gymnastics/swimming lessons, and tell them to suck it up and do better, and why can’t you just get better at that/get into that league/get that mark? The pressure we hold on our kids is required because WE are putting in the effort to pay for the privilege, as well as sacrifice our own lives to ensure that they have these privilege.
Some would see this as love.
But when the kids are young, this is not what they see.
Love to a child is focused attention, slow conversations, cuddles, attention on things that matter to them (no matter how silly or useless we think they are) and not rushing through those very crucial conversations regarding difficult emotions. Love to a child is make believe games involving parents, rough play and lots of doing what makes them happy.
We are in a Competition Era as we speak. However, some of us are choosing to live a very different life, and choosing that for our children. Because we want our children to grow up knowing that family connections, are more important than anything this world has to offer.