This week I’ve been able to get some writing done and even started a timeline of the major events in the series that begins with An Anguished Heart. Even though I am only about halfway to this month’s goal and I’ve made some major breakthroughs, I’ve decided to discuss something else in today’s post.
Being not only a parent, but also a school teacher to my children whilst we are living abroad, I’ve had to opportunity to spend a lot of time with my children, not only teaching them and playing, but also observing them. Observing the things they do, how they behave, the TV shows they like to watch and the clothes they choose to wear or enjoy wearing.
Fortunately, except from enjoying some of the most annoyingly stupid TV shows ever created, my children seem to have a pretty standard childhood. They’re allowed to get dirty, be silly and have fun – all within reason of course. In essence, they’re allowed to be children and allowed to have a childhood, something that is harder and harder to find these days.
It seems that children are almost being forced to grow up as quickly as possible. Event he clothes available to different age groups are suggesting that children as young as seven or eight need to ‘grow up’. My daughter, who is eight, has always been quite tall for her age and has fairly large feet (almost as big as mine!) Since she was around five or six, it’s been a struggle to find decent girl’s clothes for her, you know clothes for actual little girls, not smaller versions of ladies clothes. I’m sorry but I refuse to let my daughter, who is a child, romp around in short shorts with her arse hanging out and flashing non-existent side-boob in some skimpy halter-neck number. My daughter is a child, she still likes to play with dolls, so how about we just let her be the child she is.
It seems even the education system is trying to force our children to grow up sooner than they need to. Instead of beginning kindergarten and learning through play and experience, instead they are bombarded year after year with endless goals and expectations. Instead of exploring themselves and their learning we are telling them they need to be reading at level ** by the end of Kindergarten, so they will be prepared for standardised tests that occur in grades 3, 5, 7 and 9. Despite the latest pedagogy and practices promoting that children should experience learning and explore with open-ended tasks and so on, it doesn’t remove the notion that children (and schools) are being judged by a few tests. Any teacher will know that standardised tests such as NAPLAN do not truly reflect a student’s ability or skills, especially by the time the schools receive the results. However, even though teacher’s are told not to “teach to the test” it doesn’t change the fact that the educational goals for students from kindergarten are in place in order for them to “know enough” by the time they encounter standardised testing. I’m not saying that students and teachers shouldn’t have goals, it is important to have goals and to strive to be better learners and educators, but I do believe that every student is an individual and learning and teaching goals should be reflective of that – standardised testing hampers this.
Many cartoons now are designed to be “educational”, cartoons like Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Dora the Explorer and Dora and Friends all try to be educational and “teach” the children that are viewing these programs.
What happened to children being allowed to use their imaginations? What happened to the time when cartoons were simple and made for enjoyment? Cartoons and characters like the ones made by Hanna-Barbera like The Flintstones, Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, The Jetsons or Top Cat. These days many of these cartoons would be considered “politically incorrect” or to be promoting slavery or racism or some nonsense like that. I watched them all as a child of the eighties and I don’t consider myself to be racist or in favour of slavery, definitely not! Would children these days become racist or such from watching these cartoons? I should think not, especially if their parents are being parents, teaching them right from wrong and fairness and equality.
In my day, we had a childhood. We were allowed to watch a few cartoons as a treat, for entertainment, we were allowed to play and scrape our knees, I was allowed to wear pretty dresses that didn’t have my chest hanging out, I was allowed to wear shorts that covered my arse, I was allowed to wear pretty pink sandals that reflected my age, I was allowed to be a ten-year old dressed as a ten-year old and wasn’t forced to be dressed like I was sixteen, I was allowed to be a child and to have a childhood for as long as possible.
This is the childhood I would like to give my own children, one that isn’t hampered by the constraints of political correctness that has spiraled out of control, one where they are allowed to play, have fun, get dirty and be children! One where they are not forced to “grow up” before their time, a childhood they will remember and look back on with fondness and a smile.
I am a child of the eighties, a time when we were allowed to have a childhood and I want my children to have a childhood too, for as long as they can.
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