Benevolently Spoiled

Imagine this:

The children were benevolently spoiled. They could eat and sleep where and when they wanted. They seldom observed the territorial customs of their elders; the entire lodge was theirs. They could demand the attention of adult members of the Camp, and often found it was welcomed as an interesting diversion; no one was in any particular hurry or had anyplace to go. Wherever their interests led the children, an older member of the group was ready to assist or explain. If they wanted to sew skins together, they were given the tools, and scraps of leather, and strings of sinew. If they wanted to make stone tools, they were given pieces of flint, and stone or bone hammers.

They wrestled and tumbled, and invented games, which were often versions of adult activities. They made their own small hearths, and learned to use fire. They pretended to hunt, spearing pieces of meat from the cold storage chambers, and cooked it. When playing “hearths” extended to mimicking the copulating activities of their elders, the adults smiled indulgently. No part of normal living was singled out as something to be hidden or repressed; all of it was necessary instruction to becoming an adult. The only taboo was violence, particularly extreme or unnecessary violence.

Living so closely together, they had learned that nothing could destroy a Camp, or a people, like violence, particularly when they were confined to the earthlodge during the long the long cold winters. Whether by accident or design, every custom, manner, convention, or practice, even if not overtly directed at it, was aimed at keeping violence to a minimum. Sanctioned conduct allowed a wide range of individual differences in activities that did not, as a rule, lead to violence, or that might be acceptable outlets for draining off strong emotions. Personal skills were fostered. Tolerance was encouraged; jealousy or envy, while understood, was discouraged. Competitions, including arguments, were actively used as alternatives but were ritualized, strictly controlled, and kept within defined boundaries. The children quickly learned the basic rules. Yelling was acceptable; hitting was not.

Seems like a practically perfect version of unschooling! :)

This is a description of Stone-Age life from the research and imagination of Jean M. Auel, author of the Clan of the Cave Bear series. Kind of makes me wonder how we lost our way. Seems we’ve over-complicated things to the extreme. What do you think?

Playfully yours…

5 thoughts on “Benevolently Spoiled

  1. Imagine how wonderful the world would be, if that were how children were brought up! We adults wouldn’t be confused along the way and would know exactly how to get what we want!

    1. I know EXACTLY what you mean Julieanne! How wonderful for the kids and how much different life would be as we became clear-headed adults deliberately creating what we truly want! Ahhhh… Thanks for dropping by :)

  2. How absolutely true, Mary.

    Sometimes I get the feeling that with all the texting, iPhones, iPads, and everything else, we were better off when things were less “developed.”

    I ran across a study that said that more children can manage an iPhone than tie their shoes! The argument was whether or not tying your shoes counts as a life-skill anymore…what do you think?

    1. Thanks so much for your comment Rachel!

      I’m not so sure I’d go as far as saying we were ‘better off’ – yet I strongly feel we can incorporate the ‘new’ without tossing out valuable, proven, natural methods and materials. In my humble opinion, our social organization has reached some absurdly rigid proportions… and is bound to collapse on us.

      And I’ll tell you what… should we ever experience, for whatever reason, an extended period of ‘blackout’ where current power sources fail, it will likely be the kid who can tie his shoes who will ‘win the race’! Yet I also know that we human’s are very creative and capable of making some amazing intuitive leaps… so all really is… always and forever… well! :)

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