Children like routine. That’s what we hear, so that’s what we repeat, so that’s what most people believe is irrefutably true.
Children hate routine. They love to mix it up, make it up themselves, absorb new experiences, stretch their imagination and form their own judgement. It’s how they learn, it’s how they gain confidence and an identity.
Parents like routine. It’s convenient for them. They hate change and surprises, which interfere with the serious business of doing what ought to be done. Unpredictable, inquisitive, opinionated children are a real handful, and they need to be brought under control (for their own good).
With enough discipline, children’s initiative can be successfully crushed and they can be integrated into parents’ routines. And stop learning, just copy.
Sadly, one can also go back above and change each instance of parent into teacher or employer, and each instance of child into student or employee. Kids or adults: there’s little difference, just more years of debilitating conditioning.
There seems to be a lot of lying going on. The realisation of this is pretty liberating. Not just for me – my kids hopefully have now lost a potential captor, who has instead switched onto their side, prepared to treat them like human beings, individuals. Nurture their wild spirits and protect them from the vulnerability to meddlesome conditioning that their innocence exposes them to.
The broader realisation is equally critical. I see now how my habits, beliefs, decisions, are based on following the path of least resistance. This means sheer laziness, dishonesty and an abdication of true responsibility. Everything is driven by fear rather than love.
No more. There’s a lot of work to do. And the possibilities that all of this opens up are so exciting that I can barely sleep.
Have a great weekend, and happy Fathers Day.