Creative-C Learning: The Innovative Kindergarten
©2015 Peter Fritz Walter. Some rights reserved.
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
— Chapter 5 : Get the Focus Right
‘Creative-C Learning’ presents a pre-school curriculum for a sane, holistic, brainsmart and systemliterate education of small children. The author’s educational approach is tailored to how our brain works and develops from ages 2 to 6. It’s a functional approach, not an idealistic one, based on the actual constitution of the human being, with all the complexity inherent in it.
The author contends that children are born sane and are rendered more or less insane by an educational system that till now considers the human being as the impossible human, that is, a creature that is basically faulty and has to be improved and upgraded by education, and morality. The present view opposes this age-old educational paradigm and shows that traditional education brings about fragmentation, ignorance and widespread violence.
The present curriculum emphasizes the natural integrity and wholeness of the small child, who is by nature a systems thinker. The curriculum builds upon this fact and presents a way to raise pre-schoolers in a learning environment that fosters systemic thinking capabilities, so that children become systemliterate at a young age.
The author also emphasizes the need for teaching emotional awareness to teachers and presents techniques to be applied in the vocational training for early child care workers and pre-school teachers that teach how to cope with stress, and that show the details of the trustbuilding process both between teachers and students and between parents and teachers.
The audience for this guide are all those involved in educating children, as well as educational policy makers, also parents, educational associations, politicians, pediatricians and child psychologists, and also the lay public, especially those who are looking for a new way to educate children now and in the future.
Chapter 5 : Get the Focus Right
Learning languages is important in life, we all know that. Languages are useful. Speaking different languages helps to communicate with people from different cultures, and greatly enhances our understanding of peoples and the world as a whole.
When I see that the human is basically the same everywhere, despite all our cultural and national differences, I become myself more human.
Languages are indispensable when you want to look over the fence of your own culture, when you want to get out of the usual nation-based conditioning that is inflicted upon children everywhere in the world.
Suffices to watch the daily news in three different countries, just by switching the channels of your cable television, and you will see, perhaps with some surprise, that every country focuses upon news of their own nation and regarding their own people, and there is not even ten percent to be seen that could be called ‘international news;’ and when international news are reported, they are reported only because they have any kind of link with the nation; if not, they are simply left out.
If young people are to be educated internationally, they have to learn several languages, and they have to earn enough money to have the funds for moving freely and working in foreign countries, for that is the only way to really learn a foreign culture. Having lived for almost twenty years in South-East Asia, I know that speaking English is a very real factor for social progress of any kind. When you speak English fluently, in Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia or Malaysia, you can easily get a job in import-export or in the flourishing tourism business. Without speaking English, what you can do in these countries professionally is low class work that is paid less than about a hundred dollars per month, such as cleaning work, taxi driving, begging or prostitution, or hard work in the rice fields, which earns about ten dollar cent per hour, less than thirty dollars a month.
And yet, for example, in an international metropole such as Bangkok, most taxi drivers speak only a rudimentary English, despite the fact that they could earn substantially more, once being fluent in English, and working for a limousine service. Why are they not eager to change, except a few, simply by upgrading their English? The reason is that it’s not that simple.
Upgrading your English implies many things in these cultures, nothing less than building a vision, stopping negative and destructive self-talk, setting out to lead a different life, changing your attitude, and saving some money to pay the language school.
I know many stories and heard that in many a case, it was a foreigner who befriended a local taxi driver, waiter or maid, and who became the support agent the person needed to do the major change. This support, I saw, didn’t just consist in giving the funds for the language school fees, but is of a more general nature; it provides some sort of encouragement, and some backup in case the prospering local is attacked by his or her local friends because of outright jealousy.
And there is another factor that is often overlooked. We are living in the information age which is a communication age; better communicators are rewarded in our times much more than at any time before in human history.
However, our schools have not yet caught up with this new trend; in most schools, what you learn is to duck down and keep silent, to become non-communicative. This is especially disadvantageous for introvert males who are shy and passive, as they are often taken as suspicious or hostile, while with females, shyness or introversion is often interpreted as decency.
Hence, what these males have to learn is not just English, but open and fearless communication. This, then, requires an almost total change of attitude, and that is really something not easy to bring about without a personal tutor at your side.
Even if the school system is modern and child-focused, when the subject matters to be taught are all fragmented, disregarding our right-brain capacities and our creativity, do what you will, people coming out from such institutions are barely communicative; they may have learnt to study hard and to concentrate, and to memorize facts; they may have learnt ‘good behavior’ and manners, they may be polite and tactful, but that doesn’t help much if they don’t know to start a conversation, to cold-call customers without fright, to hold a speech in front of an audience, to give a charming presentation in a meeting or to bond with potential associates.
Such basic human skills are simply not taught in our traditional schools, while they are to some extent in top-notch international schools!
Mastering open and fearless communication goes a long way later in your life, especially in case you did not have the chance to learn it in early childhood. I know this so well because I myself did not learn it early in life and was suffering from extreme timidity all my younger years through, to a point of having been a social inept. I could learn it to a certain extent later on, but when I compare myself with our great natural communicators, I am still too much in my shell, while I have trained myself to speak freely in front of an audience.
And as to the usefulness of knowledge learnt in school, I know many cases, including myself, that show that only a tiny percentage of what was learnt can later be used in life.
I have a friend in Germany who is a mathematician and when he began to study mathematics at university, his professors told him to forget, as completely as possible, all he had learnt about mathematics in high school.
This and many other examples show that our traditional school systems have very little value to educate our children for global culture because they have not followed up to our moving into a network society where communication and language abilities are primed, and where any kind of science knowledge is rendered obsolete within five years or less, as a result our swindling technological progress.
Yet our school systems, a bit around the world, are still stuck in the setup of the 19th century bourgeoisie, while they may today be equipped with computers and educational games. But the basic philosophy has not changed, and that is why most of the curricula are simply superseded and ineffective.
And here I do not even talk about subjects like systems theory, quantum physics or complexity research that urgently need to be embraced by our school curricula because they have to do with how we deal with perceiving the world or ‘reality’ in our times of change!
The hidden reason why our educational authorities are so reluctant to embrace these topics may be that by doing so, they would have to change their entire educational philosophy, and this is a task that needs political backup or even a change of administrative laws. This is probably the reason why all is stuck and very little is moving forward in matters of education; the other main reason for this stagnation is that educational budgets are curtailed down almost every year, while military budgets are raised.
Language and communication training should be put first on the list in any reform of school curricula on every level of the educational ladder, and creative activities such as painting, design, dance, theater and creative writing should equally score high on the list because they foster self-expression and the deployment of our talents — and they help us to communicate socially.
Science knowledge is much less important because it’s so quickly superseded by new technologies and insights, and can be learnt on the spot later on, for a specific job or mission.
Our old idea of ‘general education’ cannot be reasonably maintained because the amount of knowledge today is so immense that no human being can ever even remotely attempt to embrace it. This was certainly different two hundred fifty years ago, at the time of the Enlightenment when a man like Denis Diderot (1713–1784) could write an encyclopedia that embraced about the integrality of the knowledge of that time.
An extremist educational approach that tries to exclude technology is as wrong as one that puts all its hope in modern information technology. We certainly need computers as a creative tool and we need to use them wisely; this is what we have to tell children.
I think especially today, where technology is part of the network technology we are using to interconnect the world, any kind of escapist approach that tries to put on stage Rousseau’s ‘back to nature’ is an illusion and doesn’t work in practice. And more importantly, it’s not useful to the children we educate; they need to grow into the world, not out of the world, and this by dealing wistfully with all they got, including hyper-technology.
I know that many high-class parents love the idea of the New Age School around the corner where children are invited to eat vegetarian dishes and play with wooden toys, where there is no television and no computers, and where they are informed about the ‘dangers of modern life.’ Parent meetings are of course held in a room lit with candlelight because ‘it’s depriving children in poor countries of resources to use too much of electricity.’
I honor simplicity, but driving education toward extremism really is not useful. We do not need extremism to give our children a sane education; extremism, any kind of it, sorry, is as insane as patriarchal hubris — even if it’s all very decent, smart and natural. Our offices do not run on candlelight, and children’s naturalness is not really a factor for employment when they don’t know how to handle a computer. What extremism does is to distort children’s innate common sense. Have you ever seen an extremist child?
Yes, of course, when they imitate their parents who are members of the communist party and therefore eat only red food, breathe only red air, wear only red clothes and think only red thoughts! But not a natural child. Never.
Children are amazingly balanced, they do not reject anything, they use technology when it’s useful and when it’s fun to use it. And that, after all, is a good and productive attitude. Every artist, every intellectual has the same attitude, except they have sworn revenge against ‘society’ because they project all their personal hangups upon the meta group.
Good education is not one that excludes things, is not one that renders things, thoughts, feelings or behavior taboo, but one that embraces all, while teaching, on a daily basis and a little step at a time, the wisdom to use all we’ve got.
Television contains many good and useful programs, information about technology, about cultural events, about great people, about cultures you will perhaps never visit in your life because of the harsh climate that reigns over there, or because of places too remote for visiting without incurring great discomfort. And there is footage useful for children because it is not targeting children. I believe that children instinctively are preferring serious information over information baked, cooked and spiced for children; they do not like to be addressed as ‘children’ but simply as spectators, alongside adult spectators.
And honestly, I can’t see how stupid, senseless, violent and frivolous cartoons should be in any way ‘educational’ or ‘good’ for children? They are money-making devices, that’s all, they are a global business in the hands of a few powerful corporations. That’s all there is to know about that.
With television, all is choice; when there is choice, television is a good thing, when there is no choice, television is a bad thing; it’s as simple as that.
The more consciousness-based your education is and the less authoritarian, the better for your children’s choice ability. For to make choice has to be learnt as well, it’s not put in our cradle. To make good choices in life is according to the I Ching the real crux in life and where ordinary people and sages most differ in their attitudes and capabilities. The Book of Changes defines a sage to be a person who knows to make good, sane and beneficial choices for themselves and those they care for, while ordinary people tend to make bad or wrong choices, which bring decay, and destruction, loss and failure.
Often we do not know for sure if a certain choice is good and not, as we do not know all implications of our decisions; however, somebody with a truly spiritual vision of life and lots of experience knows these mostly invisible factors and therefore can make good and viable choices.
Now, when you see how difficult it is already for us other adults to make good choices, how difficult must it be for young and inexperienced children! To say, it’s one of the most important topics actually in education to assist children in gradually developing a sane choice ability.
This requires two things from educators that both must be present simultaneously; the first is that the educator leads himself or herself a life where the basic choices are right, and remembered with a certain gratitude, and second, that the educator has enough patience with children’s making lots of wrong choices at first; for if you don’t let them make wrong choices, choices that hurt, how do you think they are going to make right choices later on?
Or are you one of those who choose for children, while pretending it was the child’s choice? That, excuse me, simply is dishonest. Once you discover that, you will understand that being an educator is challenging because children tend to mirror your bad qualities; then you may begin to question yourself.
Mediocre educators often get angry in these moments, and that is how they differ from those passionate educators who are really gifted for their work. Good educators react by momentarily cheering up but subsequently questioning if there is in their behavior any residue of self-pity, of pride or of arrogance?
When you practice this approach, that I have practiced all along my working with children over about ten years, it can serve you to make a personal evolution that will not be a minor one.
And it will rejuvenate you and lift you up from any depression you may be stuck in; in addition, you will make real discoveries about yourself.
Children are real mirrors for us; they very easily tear our clothes down, to contemplate us naked, some of them even do it physically, but all of them do it metaphorically. I would say that in your quality of an educator, this is about the best you can experience in your daily life with the children in your care, for it will purify your relation with yourself, and your relation with the child, of all hypocrisy and of all fear.
When you can develop a sense of humor in your daily dealings with children, your task as an educator will feel so much lighter, so much more joyful and smooth, and once you are at this point, you won’t want to go back to your all-serious attitude that you may have carried from the time of your professional training.
Children to a certain extent mirror your nature, thereby building their character by integrating what they admire in you into their own nature.
Nature, and natural life, has undoubtedly a special attraction for children; while it’s also healthy and good for adults to be outdoors and enjoy nature, the importance natural life has for small children cannot be overestimated.
I have found that disturbed and ‘difficult’ children calm down and improve spontaneously after having spent a few hours in open air, enjoying the wind and the sun, and moving their bodies as much as they can.
It is strange to see how little this simple fact is known among educators, and especially among specialized educators. They often believe in their technologies, their healing methods, their machinery for lifting handicapped children in huge water basins, their health food and their professional expertise.
But most of the time, these children are kept in a prison-like existence, indoors most of the day, and afar from the adventures that a rough climate can offer; a simple rain, a thunderstorm, snow and ice, a walk at the river side, walking through mud, running over beach sand, picking some flowers at the roadside — all these activities, which most adults take for granted without seeing their dimension for the child, have healing qualities.
Nature heals. It’s as simple as that. Nature widens inner space, and it unwinds inner knots, it heals emotional stress, and it lets us breathe deeply, which by itself already is a powerful trigger for healing.
In addition, it has to be seen that contrary to many adults, children are indiscriminate regarding the weather conditions; they take nature as it is and derive joy from any kind of weather, and the educator should learn doing the same. I remember I always complained about rain, but once I was working with children and had to go for walks with them, my aversion against rain quickly vanished when I saw them hipping and hopping through the water pouring down, more noisy and more joyful than ever, as if rain had a magic quality to lift children up. It’s really wondrous to me why children enjoy rain so much! In South-East Asia where I am living since many years, there are very heavy rains during the rain season and that means tons of water pouring down in about half an hour. As there is as good as no drain in the streets, children simply run around naked, wading through the water that quickly comes up and floods houses, shops and public buildings in less than an hour. When you see the locals, they seem to enjoy nature’s abundance in just the same way, men, clothed with just an underwear, carrying stuff out of the house and taking it to a dry place, women taking down the laundry that is soaked in water, and elders standing in front of their houses, patiently waiting, with smiling faces, contemplating the naked kids playing with empty coke bottles, cigarette boxes and all the rest of a layer of garbage that happily floats on the water …
Needless to add that I was never setting a foot out of my house and could not understand that these people could enjoy water so much. However, I remember that as a child I enjoyed rain very much and from my mother and grandmother I heard they enjoyed rain more than anything when they were little girls.
It must have to do with the magic quality of water, for children experience the same joy when they come to the beach and look over the ocean, or take a ride on a boat. They are just crazy for it, and I have never met a child who was not enjoying an excursion to the seaside, or to a lake. Besides, the high ionization, and the salty air near the ocean is of course very beneficial for children’s health, as it purifies our bronchial system, and recharges our vital batteries.
Generally, the ocean has a strong metaphorical quality; it is associated in the subconscious with the matrix, and the eternal feminine, with the cosmic flow, and with sexuality! Children love to search for shells and snails that symbolize their intimate parts, and they are obviously reassured of their sexual identity by so doing.
I have always observed that children gain incredibly in expressiveness when close to the sea, that they are exuberant and full of joy, energized, and that even when they come from dim or abusive home conditions; at the seaside they can really forget their sad milieu for a few hours, and relax.
The intrinsic value of the ocean and generally of wild untouched nature for children is that they can exhibit their full desire for discovery, for the expansion of the known. Children are much less scared of the new, the unknown, than most adults; that is why they are generally more courageous than adults. When they explore something, be it the nature around them, be it the nature within them, they want to go as far as their courage reaches. They may not go through, but when they don’t, that should be within their own discretion, not the discretion of the educator.
Of course, when there is danger involved, for example children playing in the shallow waters when the tide is coming up, there is no question they have to be gently called for return, but generally when children explore they should be left alone.
Sometimes it’s good to say something funny, as humor generally expresses permissiveness regarding sensible matters such as sexual curiosity, but in general, the principle is non-interference. When an educator is invited to join in children’s intimate games, which happens more often than not, the situation can get out of hand if the educator is not mentally and emotionally prepared for it. The appropriate response in such cases is gentle refusal, that may be uttered as a half-joke, but not a joke that sounds like ridiculing the child.
And it goes without saying that punishment in such situations is the ultimate insanity, and has to be discarded out from the start when the school is setup.
To punish a child for pleasure seeking behavior, or exchanging pleasure with other children is pure sadism, and it’s pretty much a criminal behavior in my opinion. It should be legally prohibited. When children are excited and seek to exchange caresses and erotic favors, nobody, not even the state, has a right to interfere let alone punish them for it!
If governments do that nonetheless, they have to be dismissed by the vote of responsible citizens, parents and educators! We cannot raise children without sexual pathologies if we distort their psychosexual growth through denial and violent interference.
Permissiveness is not a fashion, not a trend, and not a new age invention, but a necessity when dealing with children. Or we can as well throw out our constitutions and return to political anarchy and chaos, for what governments do with such behavior is to raise perverts, not sane citizens, and when that happens, in my view, educators should openly and explicitly boycott such laws, measures and regulations, and lobby for a change!
Now, let me say a word about violence. There is no doubt that children, just like adults, are violent at times. Children are afraid of violence but that doesn’t exclude their being violent themselves once in a while. We have to be careful to not put up an idealistic scheme that posits a should-be reality, saying that ‘well, children may be violent, but they should not be violent.’
This leads straight to the result that children are punished every time they are violent, thus meeting violence with violence.
I think I can spare a comment. You won’t fight disease by making the body sicker; you do it by making it more healthy. Violence cannot be fought by violence. The trigger of this insanity is the premise that splits life in ‘what is’ and what ‘should be;’ putting up ideals is insane. Ideals are projections, at best, wishful thinking. Let me sort out the mess.
When children are violent, there are reasons why they are violent; they may have learnt violence from their parents, or their educators, or they may be stuck in an emotional impasse that came about through repressing certain emotions. Or they may have pent-up negative feelings toward specific other children in school, and these children, in turn, may harbor similarly negative feelings against them. When you see this variety of possible factors in the etiology of violence, in one single case, you are becoming perhaps aware that to find a way out of the violence trap is not a simplistic matter. It’s not done by punishing violent behavior; actually punishment often just is laziness; it’s so easy to hit when you are too lazy to find out what’s really going on.
That’s why punishing children not only has negative effects in the children’s psyche, but also in the punisher’s psyche. It will gradually get him or her at the border of insanity because by regularly hitting children, you are reinforcing your inner shadow.
This is so because every time when you hit a child, you actually hit your own inner child. You simply accumulate guilt and shame! You are making yourself down in front of yourself.
Of course, in most cases educators are not conscious of these implications when they hit a child; they may get nightmares once in a while, they may be shielded even against their dream self. They may have repercussions in their private life, in own partner relation, with their own children.
Violence against children is not something the creator especially likes, nor is it something practiced by any animal race. It’s a perversion, if you ask me!
And it’s a signal for me that a particular educator is not up to his or her task, and has unresolved issues; it’s also a signal that an educator isn’t really self-aware and thus can’t be tolerated in the consciousness-based educational setting.
In most cases that I myself observed, I found that educators who hit are depressed, for one, and entangled, for two. I found invariably a strong codependence issue in their lives, typically with a parent, that was carried through to adulthood and is projected upon children. The depression then is the reaction of the biosystem to the repression of the violent impulses that are invariably triggered by the fusional rage.
When educators project unresolved issues on children they care for, they will unconsciously free the violent impulse that got turned into the depression response (which is a psychic cover-up triggered by the thought ‘I ought not be violent’), and release it on the body of the child. This is how violent behavior can be explained in most cases, while there are other cases that are more complex, of course. I elucidated the typical case, and for the purposes of this guide, that may suffice.
As this book cannot cover all the practical aspects of teacher training, I can’t really treat all the details of the problem here. But when educators accept basic awareness building, when they agree with the idea they have to build emotional awareness, they are able, in most cases, to solve the hangup by themselves and change their behavior accordingly.
Now let me get back to our focus on the child, for this is the primary focus I would like to uphold in this guide. Let us look at the child, when they are violent. What are they saying when they hit another child? Do they not say ‘I am confused, I need help’? Do they not say ‘I need to handle my emotions?’ Do they not say ‘Sorry, I haven’t learnt to cope with my hot energies, I just let them explode?’
I think this is what their body language and their face mimicking conveys in these moments, when they hit and sweat, and shout. And have you observed those who get hit, or hit back, when they fall down, how quickly, how energetically they jump up again?
I think it’s important to realize that violence, when it’s exchanged between children, doesn’t lead to depression but to energizing the other organism. And now look at the Gestalt of a scene where you see an educator hit a child and the child falls down from the force of the blow.
Have you ever seen that? If you have seen it, you know the child will not jump up energetically, but remain a moment in that position; in most cases the child will take a fetal position, and cry. The Gestalt shows depression, and humiliation!
So, this may suffice to render you aware of the essential difference of children being violent with peers, on one hand, and adults being violent against children, on the other.
You do not need to agree with me, I may be too black-and-white in this matter, it’s well possible. But I think the principle is correct that children tend to react differently when receiving a violent response from an adult they have been bonding with, and whom they may love, compared to receiving a blow from a peer boy or girl.
In the first alternative, a real inner damage may have been caused, that in some cases cannot be repaired, at least not in that specific educational relationship. It may be healed later on in another educational relationship, where again bonding occurs and where again the child falls in love with the educator, but where the violent response did not take place. Or it may happen with a parent who finds out about the problem and reacts appropriately, or with a child psychologist.
In the second alternative, there may be anger against the violent child, but there is hardly depression let alone humiliation. (The latter may well be the case when the violence was inflicted upon the child by an adolescent the child looks up to).
Anger is always temporary, depression is longer-lasting than anger, but humiliation is not time-bound and will endure on the level of the unconscious. It will be repressed and projected, thus the child who has been humiliated will later try to humiliate other, often smaller, children.
As a general rule, to open the way for understanding children who are violent at times, who are mad at times, who are out of their mind sometimes, any kind of morality scheme is to be discarded. This is the starting point. With any kind of ideology in the back of your head, be it religious or political, you won’t be able to see what’s really going on because your perception will be veiled and distorted by your belief system.
To get there entails already some work you should have done prior to begin working with children; it should be part of your professional education and is in some countries. In France, for example, the national constitution bans all and every religious tint in the whole of the school system; there must not be crosses on the walls, and Muslim girls can’t wear their traditional hijab. In other words, a functional approach should be taken in all matters educational.
When the mind is calm, and there is inner peace, the educator bears a non-judgmental look upon the child.
Children at times may not only be violent, they may also know streaks of perverse behavior. They may put their feces in the bath water, for example, which is considered by psychoanalysts as a typical case of perverse behavior with small children. The response should never be violent. The child simply is told that it’s against the culture to put one’s feces in the bath water. That’s all, and that suffices in most cases to change the child’s behavior accordingly.
Another behavior I frequently observed with children, when they are excited and fighting, is that one boy is going to sit on the face of another, weaker boy, or a girl, to let out a flatulence. While in most cases the audience laughs in such a situation, there is nothing to laugh about because such behavior really is dangerous. It may suffocate the child underneath, or even break their neck, when the movement was done harshly.
Now, how to react when you face that as an educator? It occurred to me in a free school project; the situation in that school was particularly dramatic because there were two boys who were stronger than the rest of the group and who tried to ‘make the law;’ usually they would fight with each other and try out all the perversities they would subsequently inflict upon the smaller boys, and the girls. I was alarmed when they targeted a girl from a different culture, and became hyper-violent with her, to a point to massacre her with their fists and kicking her in the belly.
The female educator who used to work with them since quite a time was escaping in the kitchen, to wash the dishes, and I reproached to her that she was really irresponsible, and got the boys off that girl, but it was not a minor task, as they began fighting me instead. I could handle the situation and after some serious talk, they did not attack that girl again. I was matter-of-fact with them. When they were were hitting me, I was not hitting back, but tried to catch up their blows before they hurt me. When they jumped on me from the beds, I was gently letting them down on the floor. After some time, they were so hot and sweaty that they gave up. Then I let them sit down for talk. I simply said:
— When you sit on the face of somebody you may accidentally suffocate them or break their neck.
They didn’t seem to understand right away what that implied. One asked, flabbergasted:
— Do you mean that … the girl would be dead later …?
And I replied:
— It may end up like that, in the worst scenario.
There was no answer. And they never did it again.
Another detail is important in this context. As in this school the general approach to education was liberal, as the whole institution was created by well-to-do local families who were quite fed up with the repressive school system in that country, I was discussing the matter of violence with the principle, a nurse. I told her the behavior of the boys toward the girls may betray sexual tension, and it was perhaps better to have them engage in sexual games instead of being violent to each other, which was, after all a perverse behavior.
She agreed and replied that the parents never had the idea to forbid the children to engage in their little sex games on the toilet. I replied I had never noticed anything of the kind, and was pretty sure there was nothing going on in this respect. Upon which she told me they’d had quite of a problem in that respect once, as the boys had encircled one of the smaller girls, and ‘unfortunately’ one that was already in psychological treatment, and they had forced her to undress in the bushes.
The girl had told her psychologist and they’d got ‘a serious problem.’ Upon which they had reasoned that sexual energy should not be pent up and that they should be free ‘to do their little games on the toilet.’
I wondered why it had to be on the toilet and asked her if she thought the toilet was the appropriate place for children to make their first attempts in self-discovery? She nervously replied they could not reasonably allow them to do it in the room, or create a room for that, as it was ‘too dangerous,’ as their educational project was more or less improvised and not ‘blessed’ by the authorities.
So after some questioning I found out that all was pure theory, that the children never even had known they had the right to enjoy themselves when being on the toilet. And more importantly, the matter never had been discussed with the children, only above their heads, among the educators, and the parents.
For me, having witnessed the two boys boxing that little girl in her underbelly and kicking her between her legs was clear enough to tell me the whole story. These children were repressed, and the parents glorified themselves with ‘being open and progressive.’
The parents had cherished an idea that they complimented each other for, but this idea was neither put to practice, nor was it in any way communicated to the children.
In my observation perverse behavior never is a direct outflow of natural behavior patterns; there always was a moment in the life of the child when something happened that disturbed his or her normal psychosexual growth; so we have a discontinuity, a split, a crack, a regression in the child’s growth history when we see perverse behavior displayed by a child. In such a case, we know that the natural emotional flow was disrupted at a particular point in time, in the past of that child.
With punishing nothing positive can be reached in such a constellation; in the contrary would I suggest the child needs help to understand the pattern, to see the distortion, without a need for doing something about it. Once the pattern is conscious, the perverse behavior will vanish by itself. To be against something doesn’t help to change it.
You know that when you see people smoking. Many smokers are against the habit of smoking; they say ‘I do not like smoking. I do not like when people smoke. But I smoke because I do not know how to stop it.’ They know the dangers of smoking, they also know that by smoking they involuntarily make others smoke with them, and get infected on their turn. They know all this and they smoke nonetheless.
When a child grows up in a family of smokers, to tell the child that ‘smoking is not good’ is ridiculous, really, because the child hasn’t seen anything else than people smoking. So the child will think ‘Oh, that means that my parents are not good people.’ Is that the intention you had when telling the child that smoking is not good? Did you want to bring the child up against their parents, or create a gap in their trust level?
You see how easily such statements that can be called moralistic, are creating havoc. They are easily uttered and they ‘feel good;’ they give you that feeling of ‘moral righteousness’ the Bible so often talks about. Is that what you want in life, to be a righteous fighter? Well, such an attitude will perhaps look good in your church or prayer group, but it looks rather ridiculous in front of modern children. We are living in 2015, not in 1015.
See a difference? So then, keep your righteousness for yourself, it’s fine, and focus on the needs of the child. The latter is a bit more important, to be true.
Besides, such statements do not have an ontological value for children. They are should-be statements, they are wishful thinking. You cannot educate anybody by uttering such kind of slogans. They even get in the way when building trust with children you care for. So try to get beyond the paradigm of idealism, as it’s really not useful in education.
As a general rule, children respond rather poorly to a morality-based approach; they won’t say anything in the regular case, but they won’t build deep trust and they won’t experience real joy when they know the educators around them are following a strictly compulsive morality paradigm. It’s not morality but true love that helps children to grow sanely, and that can heal distortions if ever they occurred through educational negligence or violence!
And there is something else that morality-based education never understood. Children need a space also for being irrational, or nonsensical.
I have observed that all truly happy children once in a while have a moment of madness, when they do things that are nonsensical, dangerous, daring, irrational, and where you can long try to ‘psychoanalyze’ the behavior. You won’t get to any conclusions because there simply is nothing to analyze when a child just needs a space, a moment of free expression of their irrationality.
We humans are both rational and irrational, while we other adults have put our irrationality safely under control, except we are artists. Now, morality-based education stresses the rational mind so much because of their fear of the ‘untamed beast’ that they believe is contained in every child. So their approach basically can be described with the slogan ‘taming the beast.’
I won’t lose a word about this approach because it’s what it is: an attempt to tame animals. But human children are not animals.
This approach is based upon a misunderstanding of the human nature, or it’s simply based upon the ideology of Calvinism which is a form of religious perversion. Even Catholic education doesn’t go as far as wanting to ‘root out the devil’ in every child; a Catholic priest knows that the Devil, after all, is contained in God, for there cannot be anything that is outside of God. That is why, despite all, Catholic education has a space for irrationality, for the mysterious, apart from the fact that it’s really a pagan ritual under a new name — and that’s a good thing! It means Catholicism has incorporated nature in its dogma, which is visible in the idea of a ‘Mother of God,’ Maria. Maria stands for the pagan Goddess, and it symbolizes the matrix, the Mother Earth, and the eternal feminine as part of Creation.
In Calvinism, this is not so. There is no Maria in both Protestantism and Calvinism; it was rooted out, it was set outside the ritual, it was iconoclasted. That is why the real Catholic dogma (which is not necessarily the official one) tolerates children’s emotions, and their sexuality, by simply turning the face away; the Catholic dogma, contrary to folk wisdom, is not judgmental, but reduces all human to the Divine, in a rather simple logic that says ‘If God created us sexual, which is obvious, then God must have meant us to be sexual;’ so the real, mystic, Catholic dogma doesn’t condemn emotions and sexual behavior. It only condemns indecency of such behavior, and this is what even a well-educated agnostic would agree with.
Would you let your child run around in the street, naked? Would you receive your guests when your child is standing in the hall, masturbating? No, I mean we have to distinguish between religious dogma and decency; the two are not identical, and they are not synonymous.
If I am wrong in my assessment of Catholicism as an emotion-friendly religion, then please tell me how come that the Church has institutionalized the confession as a total and unconditional washing away of all sins to be confessed in the proper ritual? The promise of the baptism is that all sin is temporary, as ‘original sin’ can be washed off; which simply means a redemption of karma, in our modern psychological language.
So baptism frees of karma and repeats the promise of the Creator to accept His Creation despite human interference in the form of ‘sinning.’ In olden times, when a criminal, for example a murderer, was confessed officially by the Church, he could not be trialed by a court. So, Catholicism cannot be said to be judgmental, despite the fact that many Catholics are judgmental. They should take up studying their dogma once again.
But modern consumer society, with all its ‘labeling’ of people, and its ruthless judgmentalism, is not based upon Catholicism but upon Protestantism, and its special vintage of Calvinism. In Protestantism and Calvinism, you don’t have a concept of redemption, but predestination, which means that when somebody murders another, he has done that murder not really by his free will, but he was ‘destined to become a murderer,’ to fulfill his original destiny — which was … predestined.
So in this religious dogma, there is no space for emotions, there is no space for free will, there is no space for the good to prevail because all is ‘predestined;’ it’s a very cruel philosophy that basically says that Creation is bad and corrupt if not from the start, but anyway from the moment of the Fall. I believe this dogma is through and through blasphemic in that it denies the Creator to have the Supreme Power and Wisdom, and puts up an eternal antagonism between good and bad in which the bad prevails, as long as the ‘beast is not tamed.’
The worst educational tortures have been inflicted upon infants and children during the reign of Calvinism, in the countries where this dogma was born, Switzerland, and other Germanic cultures. Until today, as Alice Miller showed in all her books, Germanic cultures are by far the most cruel in raising children, and the most violent against children!
In truth, there is no such thing as an ‘inner beast;’ there is well a shadow, there is well one of the inner selves that contains our negative energy, but that instance in us is not an antagonist, but an energy that, when properly handled, can be made a friend, and can be used for creative purposes.
Socrates spoke of his daimon, and modern psychology calls this instance our shadow. Anyway, in children this inner self is not yet created, except the child grew up in a moralistic educational setting and reached at least twelve years of age. Before that time, and especially when the child grows up in a natural and loving setting, there simply is no inner shadow, there is no inner beast, there is nothing of that kind. So the Calvinist idea here really is a projection; it uses children as poison containers, as psychoanalyst Lloyd DeMause, a great defender of children’s rights and educational nonviolence, expresses it.
— See Lloyd DeMause, The History of Childhood (1974).
Whole libraries have been written about this subject. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, in his educational novel Émile, describes an ideal world of ‘natural behavior’ that he puts up like an ideology created after, suspiciously so, he himself abandoned his wife and five children. In that novel, he describes a relationship between an educator and the boy Émile that has many pederastic overtones, and where the tutor turns into a real persecutor that leaves the child no secret space, and that today, psychoanalytically, would have to be qualified as ‘obsessional’ and ‘projective.’
This novel should render us very careful when we as educators come and boast with a slogan like ‘back to nature;’ when the Calvinists say the inner beast of the child has to be tamed, Rousseau said the inner beast of the child has to be freed! Both namely admit the existence of an inner demon, and thereby are subjected to a perception error, by projecting behavior upon the human being that is not there.
Fact is that this queer Swiss philosopher, who coincidentally was from Geneva, like Calvin, the founder of Calvinism, had five children to educate and left them in utter misery, to dedicate himself to ‘education.’
I call such behavior insane, while our academic institutions tend to call such a person a saint! Second, when you read Émile attentively, you will quickly realize how persecutory that educator was. Over a few hundred pages, you gain the impression that nothing in the world existed than the hero of the novel and his student boy, as if the two were fusioned in eternal codependence, as if the boy never had creators, a father and a mother, because all that, if not life as a whole, simply is blinded out from the plot.
What we can learn from this story is what I am saying throughout this book: in matters of education, those who recognize and accept their pedoemotions can be good and very good educators, those who repress them, can be good philosophers. Their psychosexual setup may be sadistic but that is less of a problem when he stays home and works on his philosophical treatises; the same is not true when the philosopher begins to educate children. Looking at these matters in a functional way helps identifying the complexity of the problem.
Nature cannot be deformed without unpredictable results occurring; what results is most of the time violence in one form or the other. When you prohibit sex, you create violence. Generally speaking, the ersatz pleasure is always more problematic and more violent than the original pleasure.
This is how the pleasure function works in the human being; it gives a priority, a prime, to the original, natural pleasure, and sanctions every attempt to circumvent the natural discharge of emotional tension, rendering the ersatz discharge more disruptive, and more conflictual than the original, natural discharge of the energy surplus.
In addition, the repressed desire perverts the energy contained in it, by polarizing it through retrogradation of its motion, and thus renders the originally harmless desire sadistic, violent and harmful.
To generalize this insight, we can say that ersatz pleasures are always more harmful than original pleasures.
A common example is the youngster who takes heroin because he can’t get through sexually with girls. While sex would have been healthy for him to experience, heroin will transform the blooming youth into a human wrack within less than a year.
©2015 Peter Fritz Walter. Some rights reserved.
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.