My daughter spent 4 1/2 months living with her father this last winter and spring. In our house, she does not watch television and movies are limited, nor does she play idiot, I mean video games, or ever listen to music on headphones. (She is a Waldorf student, after all, and I have followed these teachings as closely as possible.) At Dad’s house, she was given a television in her room. He let her play video games and bury her brain in headphones listening to true corporate crap. The differences since she spent those four months watching the stupid box are enormous. She was sold on corporate culture, began to believe most advertising (although she is also skeptical if the ad isn’t cute and geared toward selling to a ten-year-old), and generally thinks all the television that was left on at all hours of the day was entertaining.
I don’t know if I did her any favors keeping this shit from her if seeing it makes it so palatable. Yet I still would not change that most of her life has not been spent in front of the idiot box. The first couple of weeks after she came home she kept claiming she was “bored” and wanting me to entertain her. Then she slipped back into her home routine and started knitting and creating plays for her stuffed animals and reading, doing all those things with her mind she did not do when she had an idiot box to stare at.
It blows my mind that parents find the thing “educational” and “interactive.” It might present some content or ask questions the child answers, but the child is still sitting there on her butt, being told or asked by flashing movements, more loud and ugly these days. The child is not out making the discovery on her own, thinking and creating, truly interacting.
Milla proved to us her ability to create and design and think on her own, using her own mind. She planned and executed an amazing dog wedding between our dog and the neighbor dog, Luke. She designed and sewed Ava’s gown and veil. She made a marriage certificate with a shiny, glittery, yellow seal. There was a guest list for us all to sign. She wrote the vows and planned the ceremony. She chose the music for all aspects of the ceremony, including the processional, after the vows, the first dances, and the reception. She designed decorations and hung them in the yard, Ava and Luke Tie the Knot. All of it was thorough and amazing. She’s ten. This is what she does instead of staring at the television.
I was thinking about all of this this morning. There was an ad on Dan’s computer before something he was watching on Huffington Post. Milla saw it and said it was a funny commercial. She had seen it at her dad’s. She told us the premise. To me it sounded so damn stupid and ridiculous, nothing funny at all, and I felt sad that she found this shit she had seen on the idiot box amusing. However I long ago realized that her life is hers to live, not mine to control. I can provide certain influences, but so do so many other things and ultimately she will make her own choices. I can only hope that the influences I’ve provided help her to be a functional, healthy, and happy adult. That’s the thing about parenting, if we do our jobs, this is exactly how it should be.
I wish that you could somehow bring your daughter’s father around the raising and education of your children — because you will need a united adult front committed to clear goals if you are to succeed in inspiring them to become fully independent and creative. Put them first – ahead of any petty quarrels and disappointments – and doing so in full, painful awareness of what might befall them if they are raised under a discordant, nebulous family structure with no clear lines of authority and little sense of the tragic future that inevitably follows therefrom — unless a potent awakening and reorientation is effected. Unsolicited advice: along with what is obviously a profound love of animals and nature, teach them to first speak properly, sing, dance, and play an instrument. Disallow television and certainly do not let them become addicted to machines and gadgets and obsessed by cellphones and other means of rendering them into automatons for pop culture soul killers. For them to think and feel for themself, they need to steer clear of the beast that invites them to lose themselves in the hypnotic spell of talking heads and pop idols. To tell a story, memorize a song, write a poem and do so without a machine and primarily with, for, and in imitation of adults acting their best and most beautiful self. And do so with the classics — with for instance, Aesop’s Fables, Classical mythology, the Bible, and as early as possible, Shakespeare and the like; the drawings and sketches of Leonardo da Vinci rather than coloring books; Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms if at all possible with folk songs and negro spirituals and all forms of singing that founded on learning to read and even compose music — music founded on ideals, morals, and stories — the very opposite of what our mind-destroying, overly sensual popular and pornographic culture portends — and refuse to allow them to follow as another dupe the idiocy of mimicking and simulating a musical experience by parroting, mindlessly, a machine, computer, radio. Machines that turn children into cheerful robots, easily frustrated barely contained balls of rage — automatons mindlessly repeating Brave New World-like slogans and even psychological deadening. Upon that foundation, reading and writing naturally follow but to put reading first without teaching a child to speak and sing and know the scale is to cripple them because self-confidence founded on making oneself a beautiful soul — through aesthetic education of the body, mind, and soul and the social action and interaction that flows therefrom trumps all. Sewing and fashion – which I take to be a strong suit of your kin would flow best from a child that is grounded in knowing herself as a beautiful soul in the making. A soul who could wade into clothes and the illusory world of fashion and know what is truly sweet in life. And knowing the beauty within oneself by means of singing and dancing, martial arts, yoga, and forms of self discipline must be first and foremost. A total resolution to raise your children as if Genius Can Be Taught! Learn from and respect adults — but if the adults are not committed to such a program and instead mired in sullen resentment and morose regret, then what will be the result? If the adults do not respect each other, then the children will see that and exploit the animosity in order to garner favors which will inevitably spoil them. A united adult front to engender sound morals and self-development with a total commitment [entschlossenheit] to help inspire a child to become fully and beautifully and potently human. Now with that said, I exhort you to recall the self-destructive members of your family and redeem their mistakes by inviting, inspiring your Mother and Boyfriend and Father to help you create a loving extended family that will support its own and cover for each other during crisis. In so doing, you will give all of the members of your extended family a purpose – to include those who have fallen by the wayside – and inspire the best from each and every one of you.
So, your example of living with your boyfriend and having his baby is somehow a “better” example than your ex-boyfriend’s daughter watching TV???! Perhaps the wedding she created between 2 dogs is the projection of what she craves from you. A marriage and family. A unit. A unity.
Or perhaps there is someone else she is looking at as a role-model? Some other example she is shining after?? Anyone in her vast circle planning a wedding? Now you just have to wonder why she is so deeply moved by this to copy it into her “boring” playtime sans TV.
Or perhaps your mother’s negativity has been embedded once again. What a lovely vibe to bring your next child into the world. Kudos on setting the stage for a grandiose repeat.
I don’t happen to believe in traditional “marriage” based in outdated patriarchal systems, religious bigotry, and ownership of women, so your version of morality is misplaced.
Your little idea that my daughter somehow “craves” marriage is also presumptive and ridiculous. She went to a wedding the week before and loved the decorations and dresses.
Also, you clearly lack reading comprehension skills. I made the point that after she got over being bored because she knew the idiot box would not entertain her, she stopped complaining of boredom and entertained herself.
Kristen, It seems to me that you don’t have a clue when it comes to young children. They have a massive imagination and whatever their living situation may be, doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the way he/she plays and makes things up. Children aren’t completely understanding of what a marriage is and that being said, i cant believe that you had the audacity to call this woman out on her way of living. Shame on you.