Re: meaning of life (RE: (repost) RE: GUNS: Re: Self Defense)

From: Chris Russo (
Date: Wed Jan 24 2001 - 14:50:11 MST

At 13:06 -0600 1/24/01, Barbara Lamar wrote:
>I've spent quite a bit of effort studying the various ways of
>raising children. In every case I've seen or read about, humans
>function better if they're given a certain level of care when
>they're developing: good nutrition for the mother while the fetus is
>attached to her blood system; human milk, preferably directly from
>the mother's breasts, until the child self-weans (which usually
>takes place between years 3 and 5); the personal freedom to study
>the world and learn how things work; respect as intelligent humans
>from the time they begin speaking. When I say they function better I
>mean that they're happier, more intelligent, better able to make
>rational decisions, better able to cope with changing conditions,
>more self-confident, better able to interact with other people,
>kinder, better able to stand up for themselves in non-aggressive
>ways. I've seen this happen too many times to think it's merely
>luck. (Sarah Lawrence has a web site called Taking Children
>Seriously that I'd recommend for anyone who's interested in learning
>more about the way children respond to being treated with respect--a
>large part of this being respect of their nature as intelligent
>humans). The sort of freedom of choice and mutual respect that works
>for raising children also seems to work well for groups of adults.

I think that the philosophy above could use the word "discipline" a
couple of times. Respecting a child as an intelligent human being is
certainly important, but just like in adult life, children need to
come up against hard realities that demand self-control. Sometimes,
toys have to be taken away. Sometimes, baby has to be taken outside
away from the fun until she can settle down. And yes, sometimes,
baby has to be left in her crib to cry for a few minutes before she
falls asleep.

I guess the reason I'm interjecting this is because your description
above reminded me of the teaching philosophy in Norther California.
My wife was a private school teacher in the Silicon Valley, and had a
number of friends who had moved on to or come from the public school
system. Apparently it's gotten to be pretty bad. You can't tell a
child that he got an answer wrong. You can't discipline a child for
bad behavior. You can't determine a curriculum, because the children
have to be allowed to "figure out what they want to learn."

Like California's ridiculous energy policy that has created a
disaster, California is also reaping years of this
touchy-feely-experimental education policy. They rank very near the
bottom in academic performance studies, and one of the main reasons
why I moved out of that area was that I didn't want my daughter to be
educated in such an environment.

My wife and I also studied the breast feeding issue before our
daughter was born. Everything we read indicated that breast feeding
is a no-brainer choice, in terms of convenience, nutrition, and
transfer of immunity - but everything we read and heard from health
professionals indicated that anything beyond 9 months to a year was
unproven to have any extra benefits, physiologically or
psychologically. I'd be interesting in seeing any scientific
evidence that the 3-5 year figure that you mention above has any
advantages. I'd certainly be willing to change my mind on the
subject given some evidence, but currently, I find a 5 year old
tugging on his mom's bra to get a quick bite to eat to be more of a
potential problem than a gain.


"If anyone can show me, and prove to me, that I am wrong in thought 
or deed, I will gladly change.  I seek the truth, which never yet 
hurt anybody.  It is only persistence in self-delusion and ignorance 
which does harm."
              -- Marcus Aurelius, MEDITATIONS, VI, 21

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