Our country is sick.
No, I am not talking about Nazis or Donald Trump. Nazis and Donald Trump are the results of the ongoing illness of our society. They are the pain and the vomit and the blood when you have cancer. They are not the cancer. They are the alarms going off in our bodies screaming at us that we have ignored the signs and abandoned our souls for far too long.
The sickness I am referring to is the sickness of worshiping isolation and individualism. You vs. me. Almost everyone reading this was likely born into such a society so this isn’t about pointing fingers. Pointing the finger outward is what we all do in order to not look at and take responsibility for ourselves. Pointing the finger at others has it be that we never have to ponder the question,
“Where/how am I perpetuating the problem?”
Pointing the finger out leads to the same ole thing because there is no ripple effect of change quite like the one that inevitably happens when we change ourselves.
In terms of this societal illness, I want to address who it affects the most… and that is the children. Which also means it affects us all the most and we are all affected because we were all children at one time. It begins from the time we are born and seeps into our childhood and then children grow up to be the adults in the world today. The ones running it, fighting for it, the ones that raised you… and you… and me. Us.
“Pshh, me?! I’m fine,” you say. Here me out:
How do I know how deeply children are affected by a society riddled with foundational cancer?
It’s the way we make our problems about our child without recognizing that 99% of the time the problem is us. We expect a higher standard of behavior from children than we do for ourselves.
It is the way we pathologize kids so that we, again, don’t have to take a deep look into how we are creating the problem. If we did, this would likely mean we would have to drastically change the way we live and massively shift and realign our priorities. But we don’t, because change is scary, and our children suffer from our unwillingness to change and take responsibility for the fact that we have set up our society in a way that is mostly unsupportive and inconsiderate of children.
We slap labels on them like ADD, high needs, intense, sensory issues, and hyperactive instead of admitting that they are simply having a natural response to a society and to institutions that do not serve the human body and mind. If we admitted that, we would have to change, and too many people are benefiting from the way things are, and our children pay the price.
First, we have to have a clear and confident understanding of the true nature of children. That is to say, the true nature of humanity. If we cannot see children for who they truly are, are trust what they actually need to thrive, then it will be easy to justify inflicting this mistreatment onto them. We will continue to perpetuate childism and justify it to serve our agendas. A total paradigm shift around how to view and treat children is essential, and to do that it requires us to take a deep look at our own wounds and admit how we were affected by and play out this disease.
Children are wild and free (we all are, but I digress). This alone can be very triggering to some people, but they are and that is the truth of their biology. They are meant to move, explore, be rowdy, run around, test things, play, and be in connection with other people. And not just for a couple of hours blocked off every day, but all the time. They are meant to live it. The problem is not children, the problem is a society that makes no room for them to be who they are.
Most parenting experts will tell us how to peacefully handle car seat battles, bedtime protests, tantrums, etc (which definitely has its place in our current world), but almost no one wants to acknowledge that that being strapped down to a seat unable to move is unnatural and no fun for anyone, because maybe if we didn’t worship isolation, conformity, and individualism then we wouldn’t have to drive to play dates, grocery stores, school, etc. Because in a world that would deeply serve us and our children, our friends would wake up next to us, our food would be growing in our yards, and “school” would be life.
Someone once said that the image of a mother at home alone with her children is the most unnatural thing we allow to happen and at one point in history, this is something that would have never been allowed. I personally would be so bold to say that it is criminal and where the majority of societies problems begin. Growing up in isolation and then being brainwashed as a child to believe that it’s the dream to be had as an adult.
A play date or two a week isn’t enough. A night out a week with your girlfriends isn’t enough. We need to be living in communion with one another. This is our chance at healing on a fundamental level.
The worst is the way we punish children who have the awareness in their bodies that something isn’t right, but lack the words and comprehension to communicate it. These children know somewhere deep down they are not getting what they need, what their bodies were expecting to feel on a basic level when they entered this world. This shows up in children we label as “sensitive, disrespectful, heathen,” etc.
They are acting out their dissatisfaction of life (rightfully, so) and then we punish them for it which only perpetuates the thing in which we feel justified in punishing them for.
Children come into this world knowing nothing of isolation and individualism. They expect their needs to be met and to be part of something bigger than themselves. Growing up being the center of one or two adults attention is confusing, at best.
I think the reason it is so hard for us to enact true change in our society is because it would require an inventory of self, and from there things that we cling to would have to be dismantled, starting with the way we raise humans and the beliefs we hold that we impart to them. Institutions that play out the systematic roles of childism and no longer serve our new world view would have to radically change or come down completely. There are people who want to desperately keep things mostly the same, so we are locked into the idea that we can move things around, so long as they stay in the box. The truth is, there is no box, there never was.
Racism, classism, ablesim, conservatism, and nationalism are all things so many of us want to understandably speak out on and bring awareness to, but hardly anyone wants to acknowledge where all the -isms begin, and that is childism: a systemic belief and prejudice against children on the ground of a belief that they are property and can (or even should) be controlled, enslaved, or removed to serve adult needs.”
It runs so deep we don’t even know we are doing it. The ways we control and enslaved them are seen as normal to a society who sees children as less than. It is pervasive and not even I am immune to it.
So tell me, how are you perpetuating childism and how were you affected by it?