A Child Friendly Society, Part 2
(an updated Commentary on "The Imagine Nation" Series)
by Daniel Jacob
The manner in which we treat children and young people in the world outside is quite indicative of the attitudes we (secretly) hold about our own Magical Child Self inside.
Chapter One of "The Imagine Nation" speaks about the reflections which children bring to their parents, and to the rest of their world, simply by the way they live their lives when no one is looking. It says that children are "the embodiment of certain aspects of their parent's personality and aspirations, which desired to be reborn and continue on in the world. They are passion and curiosity, freshly directed towards desires and goals that may have been forgotten or laid aside in their parents' pursuit of security or social standing."
In many ways, the development of a single family, within society as a whole, serves the same purpose. A family is to society what one child can be within a single family. They "embody certain aspects within (that) society that have been laid aside in pursuit of other priorities." They are caretakers for a singular viewpoint, an agenda, or a set of ideals within the Greater Whole.
For purposes of these discussions, I propose that we refer to such subdivisions of society as "clans and tribes." I will demonstrate later the expanded meaning of doing this.
A New Template for Living
The traditional relationship between parent and child, all across history, has been quite similar to the relationships we see between masters and slaves. In nearly all societies, children are officially the possessions of their parents, until age eighteen, when the child comes of age. Some masters are benevolent, and some are cruel. Some give their slaves a long leash, and others hold onto them tightly and demand much.
By the time a child becomes legally emancipated, under these conditions, many of the attitudes and habits of living are already deeply engrained. Is it any wonder that more and more young people are opting to continue living under their parents' roof until they are into their 30s and beyond? Having been shepherded through an adult-dominated "lifestyle" and uniformly "educated" through their formative years, many young people choose to become "sheeple," rather than taking the risk to develop into whole people in and of themselves.
There will come a time, we are told by Spirit, when a civilization will exist whose primary focus is not the control of its citizens. In that day, we will see a new and exciting profile emerge within our collective consciousness. It will not be the only way that people will choose to live, but it will clearly be an option - a choice many can make if they so desire.
In our newly formed “Imagine Nation”, a child would be considered free from the moment he (or she) verbalizes a decision to be so. And even though infants spring forth from the loins of two specified individuals, they become Free Citizens the moment they take their first breath. Breath=Life. Before that first breath is taken, a fetus is considered to be a part of the mother’s body and, therefore, under her complete control.
Mothers may choose to suckle their young, but there is no requirement that they do more than insure that the child is safe, and placed in the care of someone who really wants to introduce the infant into life in physical form. People have very different motivations and gifts, which we have explored in a former series, and which we shall recall again later.
If freedom is real, it must be extended to all people everywhere. This includes birth parents. A child cannot be loved, nurtured, and liberated if he feels like a millstone around his parent's neck. Within every society, there are those whose joy abounds in patiently and faithfully taking the necessary time to orient children to what it means to integrate successfully with society. In return for this favor, these children reward their communities richly by infusing them with new life, expanded creativity, and joy.
The traditional "bonding" that occurs in families could also occur between children and community if its members were well grounded in a heart commitment to the principle of Universal Onenessas a societal base. This paradigm is nicely encapsulated in the Mayan phrase "In L'akesh," which means, "I am another yourself." The energy behind this concept takes the principle of "Love your neighbor as yourself" to a completely new level.
Freedom to Explore
One can scarcely pick up a newspaper or a book today without reading something that extols humanity's need for freedom, and each person's right to the pursuit of happiness. Yet, within the very fabric of a society that honors and promotes freedom, foundations of bondage and dependency are being laid down - attitudes which drastically color and affect the lives of the very ones who are destined to become the caretakers of its future.
The Bible teaches: "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." Why, then, do we begin a child's journey with bondage and servitude, rather than granting them independence and respect right from the start? What makes us think that our adult ways are superior to those decisions that each soul would make, if he were only given a choice?
Does this mean that children (or anyone else) would be allowed to run rampant, through the streets? Heavens, no! Instead of an ornate and detailed legal system, the Imagine Nation runs simply on two prime precepts, which were set forth long ago within many ancient traditions: "Harm no one. Do as thou wilt."
The rule of government, in whatever form it takes, is best confined to the elimination of AGGRESSION or DOMINATION, within a society...nothing more. To go further than that is to risk becoming a controller, rather than a liberator of life. Morality is a product of a natural evolution of inner attitudes. It cannot be legislated. As we have discovered again in recent days, ornate societal structure can be expensive and risky. Structure requires leadership, leadership bestows power, and power usually corrupts.
Within the Imagine Nation, it is everyone's responsibility to insure that each person - regardless of age, race, gender, or social standing - is allowed to live life in freedom and respect. We dare not ask: "Am I my brother's keeper?" We are much more than that. We ARE our brother, and he is us.
Freedom to explore, unhindered, will eventually be our salvation, as a society. That doesn't mean that we won't hit a few roadblocks along the way. But it does mean that, when we do hit a snag, we give ourselves lots of room to maneuver in order to extricate ourselves from whatever difficulties arise.
At this point, it is useful to remind ourselves that, ultimately, FREEDOM ISN’T FREE. The illusion that someone can get “something for nothing” is one of the major obstacles to spreading freedom around the world. So, also, is the illusion that we can give “something for nothing” and continue to stay afloat.
Many worthwhile humanitarian organizations are failing today, especially financially, because they staunchly adhere to the principle that what we do for each other needs to be our gift (and God’s gift) to humankind. This is a nice ideal, but it lacks the necessary grounding that is required to keep worthwhile projects afloat. What goes around comes around. This applies to finances as well as general karma.
The primary issue that is at play today is society is not the disparity between “haves” and “have-nots.” Rather, it is the struggle between “gives” and “give-nots.” We cannot live a fully balanced life if we are one-sided (either way) about the energy that flows through our lives. More will be said about this as the series continues.
The Children’s House
As long as we are discussing ideal conditions for starting out in life, how about considering the idea that forcing young persons to live their lives in old-people-dominated spaces is neither fair nor desirable. The general principle for harmonization in life is "like with like," unless specified soul contracts decree otherwise. With that in mind, would it not make more sense for kids to live their day-to-day lives in close proximity to other kids, aligning their temperaments and energy patterns with those who are facing the same challenges as they are?
The Israeli people have long been at the forefront in the study of alternative lifestyles, and have contributed a considerable amount of data to humanity through their Grand Experiment with the Kibbutz. A longtime point of interest for sociologists and psychologists alike, Kibbutzim have offered a rare look into the idea of keeping "like with like," through the establishment of a communal "Children's House," where children in the community can reside.
I first heard about this concept from a fellow who spent several years living in a Kibbutz, and it sounded quite blissful to me. I was especially attracted to the material about the offsetting of parents' "biological tragedy," or the sense of chagrin that is felt by mothers (and fathers, too) as they grapple with the daily grind of caring for children, rather than enjoying their kids as individuals, leaving their daily care to those more temperamentally suited to the task.
When I was in London recently, I had dinner with an Israeli couple who updated me on the issues of Kibbutz and the "Children's House," as it is being applied today. The woman told me: "Not many people are living that way anymore." I asked, "Why not?" She said: "It has been proven that this is not the best overall environment for the children." I remembered thinking: "Who is making this decision - the psychologists, the politicians, the parents…or who? I wonder if anyone ever asks the children what they want.
The Best of all Worlds
As I ponder this concept, in the light of my own personal experience and the experiences of many who share with me, I am still quite attracted to the idea of having a “Children’s House” in society. It could be a place where kids can be in their space, allowing parents to maintain a nest to continue building their love. It must not be made mandatory, but it needs to be an option, available among many other options.
The primary difference, between the application of communal living in a Kibbutz, and its application in The Imagine Nation would be the element of INDIVIDUAL CHOICE. In the Kibbutz, kids were required to live together, because that was the nature of the "grand experiment." Everyone did what the experiment required. In The Imagine Nation, the primary operating principle is: "Harm no one. Do as thou wilt."
If birth parents and children long to live together, no social experiment should be allowed to keep them apart. And if some parents and children find that they DO need space from each other, no societal "norm" should be allowed to dictate how they live their lives. What we are seeking here is an expansion of OPTIONS, not a new set of outward controls over who does what in a given society.
The Kibbutz concept wed the idea of Zionism with socialism, set within a unified religious context. In a sense, the same is true of Yeshivas, to some degree. There are many who believe that these experiments are being aborted because of the infusion of capitalism into the picture. Personally, I feel there can be a golden mean that can be achieved between socialism and capitalism that has not yet been discovered.
The Soviet Union did not "fall" because it was built around socialism. It fell because corrupt politicians dipped into the community storehouse and ravaged the place. In our own present day, we face the possibility of seeing capitalism run aground for the same reason. In my view, there is a place for "communal" sharing of responsibility, and there is also a place for individualism and private space as well. It is my feeling that it will be our Children of the New Earth that will teach us how to blend the two.
In a sense, I am using these writings to discover a Golden Mean that utilizes the best of "both worlds," in all these areas of knowledge, for the good of all. Your input becomes invaluable to the process! Please write me with any thoughts you have on the subject.
More to Come.Originally published in Children of the New Earth Magazine Online. www.childrenofthenewearth.com
Copyright, 2005, by Daniel Jacob. All Rights Reserved. May be copied and shared, for purposes of personal growth and/or research, so long as the above URL and this copyright are included. All reproduction for profit, by any means, requires the written permission of Reconnections, Inc.