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Friday, September 12, 2003

Two Good Things

Two good things just in from Dervala: a moving personal remembrance of 9/11 (she was in lower Manhattan at the time); and an outstanding comment to my earlier post, ā€œBratology.ā€ Unfortunately, a lot of people might miss it because it arrived some ten days after my post appeared. To prevent that, Iā€™m reprinting Dervala's comment here:

ā€œI've been traveling a lot this year, as you know, and I was struck by kids in the developing world. They don't cry! They don't whine! Ever!

In part, it's because they have a great sense of their contribution to the family. Even tiny ones collect firewood, and slightly bigger ones take care of the babies or the chickens. They seem to regard tasks as being fun, especially as they're usually done in big gaggles of kids of mixed ages.

Very small ones go everywhere with their parents (usually, but not always the mothers)--tied to the back in a sarong, which must be very comforting. All that rocking and good-smelling skin contact.

I never saw any dedicated-quality-time situations: storybooks and what have you (and I would miss the storybooks myself). But they are sure of their contribution, surrounded by plenty of other kids and mixed adults, and they have a lot of freedom that our western kids miss.

I find myself wondering if a western parent can create that kind of environment unilaterally. I'm not hopeful, but I feel that lacking money would help."

Thanks for your wonderful perspective, Dervala!


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