I was scrolling through my face book feed lost in the thought of how a decade of face book has changed the way we communicate, when an image catches my eye of a child being spanked.
I didn’t see who had posted it but was quick to point out the false logic behind the statement. Just because gang violence is more noticeable these days is not due to the absence of spanking in child rearing homes. Even though the poster of this spanking meme claims that there is statistical evidence that shows it to be true. I have not seen this evidence but I know that this alone could not be the cause of gang warfare. Most if not all of these kids get into a gang because their home life is either abusive or neglectful. Either coming from single parent homes or even homes where both parents have been forced to work to make ends meet and supervision and stress levels are less than optimal. They find a respect in the hood that they don’t get at home. Moreover I am certain the gangs of New York during the early twentieth century persisted in the face of corporeal punishment long before it was even taken out of the schools let alone before it was shunned as a socially accepted method of discipline. Though Canada is one of the world’s only developed countries to sanction corporal punishment.
All this got me thinking of a long over due article on what I want for my children and how I view the world as a father.
My oldest daughter is ten years old and along with her younger sister I have taught them to read and write, I teach them math and help them explore the world around them. We are a home schooling family and my wife and I have chosen this lifestyle for many reasons but one of them is so that my children can learn the critical thinking skills that are drowned out in a cookie cutter style education that focus’ on short term memorization and little if any practical application. I’ve come to this opinion of school through a variety of resources but a big go to book for many home educators who share the same ideals is the Underground History of American Education by John Gatto. If you’ve never had the chance to read Gatto it is not only an educational but truely sublime experience as he weaves his words with such eloquence. I will share with you part of a chapter called The Land of Frankenstein
The particular utopia American believers chose to bring to the schoolhouse was Prussian. The seed that became American schooling, twentieth-century style, was planted in 1806 when Napoleon’s amateur soldiers bested the professional soldiers of Prussia at the battle of Jena. When your business is renting soldiers and employing diplomatic extortion under threat of your soldiery, losing a battle like that is pretty serious. Something had to be done.
The most important immediate reaction to Jena was an immortal speech, the “Address to the German Nation” by the philosopher Fichte—one of the influential documents of modern history leading directly to the first workable compulsion schools in the West. Other times, other lands talked about schooling, but all failed to deliver. Simple forced training for brief intervals and for narrow purposes was the best that had ever been managed. This time would be different.
In no uncertain terms Fichte told Prussia the party was over. Children would have to be disciplined through a new form of universal conditioning. They could no longer be trusted to their parents. Look what Napoleon had done by banishing sentiment in the interests of nationalism. Through forced schooling, everyone would learn that “work makes free,” and working for the State, even laying down one’s life to its commands, was the greatest freedom of all. Here in the genius of semantic redefinition1 lay the power to cloud men’s minds, a power later packaged and sold by public relations pioneers Edward Bernays and Ivy Lee in the seedtime of American forced schooling.
more of this story can be read here
This ideology of forced schooling has permeated every nation in the world and since then has been used a tool to stifle creativity and suppress original thought. Right up to our present day model of outcome based education the intention has always been the same.
The culmination of this knowledge helped me to reaffirm my choices to home educate and send me on a path of liberty and logic. One of my favourite resources for information comes from The School Sucks Project. In this project there are podcast series that help define and implement the methods for honing your creative and critical thinking how to spot logical fallacies and even methods for becoming more productive and efficient.
Somewhere deep in one of these series’ titled the kids are not defective, the host of this podcast layed some logic on me that changed the way I parent. And it went something like this. If one does not wish to be aggressed upon one should not aggress on another. This holds true for war, schooling or what have you but none so true as that of a child who depends on you for its very lively hood. It invokes in me a likeness to that of a mental state called Stockholm syndrome. Where the abused identify with their abuser.
When I first heard this idea of the non aggression principle I was at a difficult time with my second child. She was finding her voice and defining her will. My patience was thin and I resorted to the same method of punishment that I endured. Soon after I searched my soul and identified the personal scars I’ve dealt with my whole life and I realized I didn’t want that for my children. In a world dominated by fear, authority and corruption I want to encourage rebelliousness but at the same time teach them to respect those that respect you. When someone raises a hand to strike or uses fear to misguide you that is not a sign of respect that is a sign that this person wants to undermine your intelligence to form a peaceful resolution, so they can use that worn out adage, might that makes right.
Its hard to communicate these ideas in a culture that for generations have spent 15000 hours being indoctrinated by state run machine who’s only concern is turning out the status quo. But becoming a student of logic helps me prepare my children to face the world that wasn’t designed to play nice. Where Stockholm syndrome isn’t just a byproduct of the home life but has become the norm in the our political arena as well. Maybe if enough people took their children’s minds into their own hands we could change this trend for the better. Sure I was spanked when I was a child and I turned out fine but I don’t want my kids to be just fine. I want what every self respecting parent wants. To learn from the mistakes our parents made and build on all the things they did right so that my children can grow with your children and create a better future that isn’t afraid to speak or act in a way that is in line with their morals and values.