Monday, January 16, 2006

The Magic

With our changing world, so much of the continuity with the past has been lost, partly due to the break up of the extended family and the frailty of the marriage bond. This is a major concern because it is part of the magic that children used to inherit from the older generations. It allowed them to know what was real and what was make believe, but also allowed them to dream great dreams. If our children do not dream, they will not do great things. a recipe for disaster in these most terrible of times.

So much of the magic is gone that many young parents do not even know about it, so how are they to teach their children. What always comes to mind when I think of this is the news item a while back about the young boy who shot his brother, then waited for him to come back to life and continue playing. He had been brought up on a steady diet of violence on TV and in the video games his parents used as babysitters.... and they said Mother Goose is too violent for the current crop of children. At least with Mother Goose, Grimm's and grandparent's stories, we knew what was make believe, and we absorbed the moral of each story without even noticing. We also absorbed the moral fiber of their generation along with our daily bread. We knew what was right and what was honorable. We knew that dead was dead!! Our innocence was preserved for as long as possible to give us time to mature enough to handle the harsh realities.

We live in a society that is stressed to the extreme just trying to provide the necessities of life. Family play time or story time or even participation in group activities has become extremely rare. These are the times that should be providing the magic of dreaming big. I was always told that if I wanted something bad enough, I would find a way, that hard work and integrity were rewarded, that I could be anything I want to become ....when my daughter was in grade 7, her teacher told her she would make a good secretary, not to dream beyond what was logically do-able. We had words, that teacher and I!
The schools are letting the children down and the parents are not taking up the slack, they simply exhaust themselves trying to survive and there is nothing left over for the children. Everything is done in the fast lane, no time to cook, no time to teach, no time to participate in activities together, no time to share memories of accomplishments, dreams and ambitions, no time to learn sportsmanship, life skills .........and on and on. Often there are no aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents..and the rest of the extended community that earlier generations belonged to and were supported by.

When something died, it was given a fitting burial and the occasion was used to teach the sanctity of life, the logical rhythm of living and dying. Now the dead thing is disposed of and the children are told that it went to live with Aunt Marthy on the farm. Parents do not face the big questions with their children, they take the line of least resistance. This may be because they did not learn these things in their childhood either.The first funeral my children went to was for a favorite goldfish. The children decided the fish was hungry and gave it a whole oatmeal cookie. The next morning I found the fish had tried very hard to eat it all, but had not been up to the task. He barely fit into a matchbox for his burial, but we sent him on to the next world with full honors and the children knew that dead is dead and he was not going to wake up.

I am not saying there are no good people left, only that the balance has shifted with more young parents not having learned the skills and are now unable to pas them on. So many are unaware that there is anything missing. There are really no words to describe exactly what this missing magic looks like to anyone who has not experienced it. Maybe part of the answer is for those of us who know, to reach out to those younger ones who know there is something missing, and help them find it.


Darlene said...

As for the logical rhythm of living and dying, maybe today's young parents did learn the skills to teach, but they don't want their children to have to face the realities "just yet." Unfortunately, the longer it takes for these children to face reality, the harder it's going to be for them to cope.

P.S. Can't believe how dumb that teacher was, saying that to your daughter! You’re so right that children, and all of us, need to be able to dream great dreams. That’s what gives us the impetus to try to reach them, and we need to try if we are to succeed.

Dancing Mists said...

Maybe this is a part of our work as seekers, and grandparents... we are in a perfect position to make sure the little ones "know the magic" of not only our fairy tales, but of imagination, creativity and seeing and thinking magic all around them, all of the time.

In sleeping beauty when the princess was born they invited the fairies to come and bless her, the 12th was a wicked fairy and cursed the babe, But one fairy had yet to give her blessing, She pointed out she could not take away the curse, BUT she could alter it!

Let us alter life, and add more magic! Bless the little ones.

Zareba said...

Hi Darlene: It is so true that the longer it takes to teach the children to deal with reality, the harder it is for them to cope. I have a young friend with two children, who did not learn to deal with death as a child. She was totally unprepared to deal with the death of a children's pet because she still did not know how to deal with it herself. With understanding, the terrible fear drops away. I am pleased to say that she and her girls are now much more prepared for the natural outcome of having lived.

Zareba said...

Hi Dancing Mist:

I think it is the work of all of us who grew up knowing the magic, to spread it to all that can grasp it, not only as seekers and grandparents but as the older generation.

I know I have mentioned that I have 4 daughters, only one of them by blood, and 3 grandchildren, none by blood. In this age of portability, few young families live close to the older generation and we can help to fill that need. The children truly are the future for all of us.

Yes, let us add a little magic...Z