Around the topic of child rearing are constant disputes. Almost every day, dozens of new ideas are born, or a whole theory, so that young parents are at a loss. Breaks as many copies of that one wonders how people coped before. Let’s take a look at the past era. What is common and what is the difference with respect to childhood among various peoples? When and what are the requirements imposed on adult offspring, as freedom provided that expected?
If we talk about early childhood, it offers interesting material the director of the documentary film “Kids” (2010) by Thomas Balmes. For eighteen months he has overseen the development of four newborns from different countries: girls Ponihao of almost primitive tribe of the Himba in Namibia, Mongolia Bayar boy from nomad families, as well as girls Mari from Tokyo, Japan, and Hattie from San Francisco, USA.
The film is not accompanied by any comments – just kids in their natural forms and the situation around – but gradually the viewer begins to pay attention to the first two children a little more. Their integration into the environment seems something unattainable desirable for residents of large cities. Here Mongolian boy bathing in a basin, approaches him and starts a goat face in a bowl to drink; Here Namibian girl crawling in the dust, sitting on the ground, what is born, pulling pebbles in his mouth, drinking water straight from the stream; nomad family slaughtered a sheep, and the boy picks in his entrails, all smeared with blood. And all this against the backdrop of pristine nature. Of course, against this background, neat urban children, watching the life of the personal carriage window, lose in naturalness. They are limited in their movements, they have fewer opportunities for free knowledge of the world.
This is not to say that the first pair of babies abandoned to fend for themselves and are endangered. In primitive societies, each woman took care of each child, runs past. So, Mom Ponihao breastfeeding a little boy, playing with her daughter. The same Douglas Lockwood writes in the book “I – aboriginal”, which tells about a Philip Roberts. Roberts was an Australian savage as missionaries introduced him to civilization. Philip’s mother, and the other the mother of their tribe, fed her son breast years to three or four.
To do so it does not benefit from the awareness of breast milk, and because of limited food resources. If she had a second child after the first, maybe she would not be able to raise two. Gathering and hunting provided food only 0.05 persons per 1 km2, while modern agriculture supports the life of 54 people. In ancient times, the shortage of food preference was given to the senior, as the stronger. Junior while most died or become the victim of a ritual sometimes (alas, can not be said that such a practice in the past. The volunteers watch it in modern Africa).
Such a society can not be detotsentrichnym – he simply does not have the resources. Prerequisites appeared in Europe only since the great geographical discoveries have enriched some of the layers and nourishes the ideas of humanism. Only Contemporary with its technological advances have allowed the Europeans to nurse the weak and feed the disabled. Thriving Asian countries now come to this, having no Christian humanism in the luggage and its own ethical system, so the children are not there in the first place.
Common place in the educational systems of bygone eras is a hierarchy. Sometimes a person all the way was clear from its very birth. Newborn Philip Roberts already had a mother in law, although his bride is not yet born. It was not the tyranny of parents, and wound up the age-old custom to marry the girls of a certain part of the tribe. Introduction to European civilization and the work of the mission saved him from having to go hunting, but did not release it from the obligation to come.
Get out of this circle was virtually impossible: born a peasant always remained a peasant warrior – a warrior, artisan – craftsman. Their children play with toys that develop relevant skills. Aborigine Roberts was supposed to be a hunter, like all boys, so it all day long metal toy boomerang or a spear into a fish or a bird. When he grew enough to handle heavy weapons, for his education he took a hunter.
Knights from seven years gave their sons to grow up in a family of another knight. Peasant children in eight to ten years were already full-fledged domestic helpers, were able to perform any work not heavy. Alexander the Great, who is preparing for management of the state, had a whole army of instructors, led by Aristotle and the opportunity to practice taking overseas ambassadors. Laziness derided and despised, to recall the bezdelnitsy Machekhin daughter of fairy tales. Life expectancy in ancient times was only 20-30 years old, so the children were expecting from the ambulance “return.”
When Philip Roberts learned to hide in the shadows, to approach the animal on the windward side, to circumvent the rustling grass, not to disturb the birds and catch flies, carrying the smell, he was able to kill his first Wallabies. After that, he declared valid hunter and considered ready for marriage, that is, to the life of an adult member of society. Initiation does not become the entry for it in the adult world – he was still in her nine years. It consisted of a variety of tasks designed to test his patience and forbearance.
First he made a circumcision without anesthesia (fortunately, sharp iron blade, not stone, as his father). Then they sent to spend the night with relatives, that is, sleep with them under one blanket, which was very shameful for a boy. Moreover, he was forbidden to talk to them, while they can in every way to tease him. Then his head was wrapped in a blanket and danced around a ritual dance, which he could not enjoy. When all procedures have been completed, it was two years can not eat certain foods and interact with some of the relatives. The tests vary from tribe to tribe, but all of them, anyway, are the test of the adopted in this community of virtue.
As a child, Philip and his companions were several times smack of blatant violations. Modern researchers have noted that corporal punishment is used in more than 75% of companies of the world, and in the more aggressive companies, during the wars and unrest children punished harder. If we talk about traditional cultures, the approaches are observed very different.
On the one hand, for example, a Bedouin tribe Roald sang of spanking, did not think without it the process of education and attributed stick heavenly origin. On the other hand, the Chilean Indians and tribesmen Philip Roberts resorted to punishment only in extreme cases and never raised a hand to kids. There are those, such as the Canadian Eskimo-Inuit, avoid physical exposure and prefer to persuade, or ridicule, or, at worst, ignore hooligans. More information about this can be found in Igor Kohn in his book “To beat or not to beat.”
I think all modern parents agree that they prepare children for adult life. The complexity of the current stage is that society has lost a strict hierarchy: professional Dynasty today is not so common, children are free not to adopt the profession of parents. The emphasis is on the development of the individual abilities that can only be welcomed. However, until the child is small, it is difficult to identify their interests and preferences, so conscious parent is ready to load the child of everyone. It seems way out in this situation – to teach a child to learn, to teach him the skill and love for this process. And it is not only about school subjects. The child will grow to become a spouse and parent, and well, if as a child he had, on the one hand, the experience of solving everyday problems, on the other – the practice of establishing interpersonal relationships.
The material used in the frame from the film “Nomad” (dir. Sergei Bodrov, Ivan Passer, Talgat Temenov, 2005).