Monday, December 24, 2007

The Magic

I wrote this a few years ago, but I believe it is still very relevant particularly at Christmas time when magic fills the air.

The Magic

With our changing world, so much of the continuity with the past has been lost, partly due to the breakup 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 a 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 baby sitters, 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. At the same time, our innocence was preserved for as long as possible to give us time to mature enough to handle the harsh realities.
We now 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 wanted 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, even cooking dinner is seen as taking away from quality family time.
There is 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 and uncles, cousins, grandparents … and the rest of the extended community that earlier generations belonged to and were supported by. WE have become a restless, rootless society.
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 Martha on the farm.
Parents don’t 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 the match box 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 that 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 pass them on. With the extended family being the exception rather than the rule, there is room for the “family by choice”. I personally have three daughters by choice, yielding five grandchildren by choice as well, who all enrich my life immensely. I am seeing more of this and I believe it may hold some hope for the future.
There are really no words to describe exactly what this missing magic looks like to anyone who has not experienced it, but 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.


Rauf said...

Zareba, waking up itself is magic,
its a bit hard to imagine that all our organs work in harmony. What if one of them refuses to work when we sleep. A couple of organs can go on a strike. But it doesn't happen thankfully, mine have been working non stop for nearly 60 years. This is a miracle, we humans are walking miracles, so is life, all forms of life. We have to be thankful for that. So i don't complain about mosquitos. i don't know why God created them, i accept them to make my life less miserable. i'll be miserable if i refuse to accept them. i have murdered quite a few in my life with no guilt.

Zareba, believe me, every one wants to give and share. People just don't find time for it. There is more love kindness and compassion in the world today than there was ever before. The immediate response to tsunami was amazing, aid started pouring in from all over the world very fast.
Fast paced life has made our lives very mechanical, we live like machines without thinking. But love giving and sharing is always there hidden our minds. It comes out sometimes.

Human race as a whole has been very disappointing, we lost our connection with nature, though every claims to love nature. We refuse to learn the art of connection from the animals and trees. We have considered ourselves to be superioir with all our beliefs which have not helped human race one bit. We are marching towards extinction.

Hope you enjoyed Christmas.
A steady stream of goodies was pouring in from friends and neighbours. Lots of cakes.
Please stay warm and Enjoy the holidays Zareba.

Zareba said...

Thank you Rauf, for your kind wishes and thoughtful comments. It has been a very different, but wonderful Christmas this year.

I agree that the fact we exist is magic. Unfortunately, I also agree that we are marching toward extinxction, or at the very least destruction of civilization as we know it.

We have lost contact with nature amd the penalty will be severe. I will post an article I wrote a few years ago about the end of the world as we know it.