A Philosophy for Parenting

“Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them.”

a kid with multicolored hand paint
~ Lady Bird Johnson

“Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.”

~ Margaret Mead

Instilling Responsibility, Hope, and Honoring Childhood Bliss

Parenting is a collective affair. I started my professional journey long ago, teaching the next generation in a kindergarten classroom. While I have practiced psychology for two decades now, I cannot help but see some atrocities at play in the one place parents should have at least an inkling of trust present. Well, maybe I should say that is an understatement; we as parents should have a fully functioning relationship based upon a shared vision of mutual benefit with the educational institutions we send our children.

However, I do not see a shared direction. Instead, I see a large shadow of psychological warfare looming over the curriculum and those who dictate its course, as classrooms become strategic manipulation centers bent on creating a new brick in that evilest symbol as of late, “The Wall.”

No, I am not going on a political tangent here. That would be too easy. Even though I speak of shadow-based situations, going into the gutter is not my intent. No, this is an exploration of the human meat grinder we call the Education System as depicted in the 1980 mega-hit “The Wall” by the British rock group Pink Floyd. Even though I have a profound respect for that rock band, I cannot help but think, are we just repeating the same meat grinder experiences they sang about four decades prior?

The citations of Lady Bird Johnson and Margaret Mead show this, as they find their origins in an earlier time, thus telling my inquiring and philosophical mind that this grand brainwashing experiment is nothing new. But what can we do about this?

I do not write these words as an affront to teachers. Most are wonderful people, conducting one of the most challenging jobs possible. They raise dozens of children for 8 hours a day before many go home to their own families to get some relaxation time: if that is even possible when one is married with children. Parents, you understand, and if you have yet to become a parent, you will one day see if you brave the journey to be called “mom” or “dad.” Parents, we got this!

This article touches upon deeply engrained political topics currently being exploited in the United States. However, as Jung so readily noted, the collective unconscious engages the “anima mundi,” a term that translates to the “world soul.” I wonder how many other countries feel subjected to institutions set on indoctrination versus an actual learning experience.

Seeing Pink Floyd’s “The Wall,” I can guess that the indoctrination grinder was at least a semi-conscious undertaking in England at the time of its writing. But I also understand the storyline to have taken place as a biographical account of the lead singer’s descent into madness, as he dealt with a whole host of traumas inflicted upon him in childhood and wartime England.

From an absent father (killed in World War II), an overbearing mother, an engrained Oedipal conflict, and an abusive schoolmaster with Oedipal strife of his own, we see a youth’s plight to become conscious. However, the journey carries well into adult life, where the singer faces drug use, womanizing, and a host of subsequent in-your-face traumas that provide an experiential perspective into the depths of a social, cultural, and educational shadow.

What is present? The antagonist, that tormenter within, engulfs the light of consciousness within into the darkness of a pawn’s night sea’s journey. Thus the meat grinder in the video entitled grinds away at youth until they become the cement and grout holding up the wall.

Now, with my respects paid and the lines drawn, let us see what we can do as active participants in our children’s lives so that they may avoid this fate. You don’t need to fall for the fallacy of the rabbit hole of education somehow being the end-all and be-all of our children’s learning experience. It is not. But what needs to happen is something of a sacrifice. It is giving the one commodity none of us can ever get back. Our Time!

Money may come and go. But time moves on. Not one of us is getting younger. Even worse, no one can take back what was to create the perfect opportune moment, right here and now, to be that presence in your child’s life they desperately need.

So what can we do? Be present. No, this doesn’t mean giving up on the dream; it means marrying the vision to the present moment, so all can move accordingly in its direction. While some goals may need to transition or even go, if they do not fit the current circumstances, let them sit for a while, permeate, and see if marriage is possible between the present moment and the future sought.

Our children are the next generation. Let us treat them as such. While we may entrust their education to a system, we must not abdicate the responsibility to teach values to others. It is up to us to advocate for the values we hold dear as parents.

Home or charter/private schools may align well with your specific value set or want your children to learn if all else fails. And, if the educational institutions fail to meet the standards for the values you want your children to have, teach them your beliefs as the alternative set and show them through lived experience about the who, what, when, where, how, and why we (you as a family) do the things we do.

With loving respect, my fellow parents. May blessings find you on the wondrously winding path we call parenting. Also, do forget to chase a few dreams along the way.

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