Friday, September 09, 2005

Children of the Storm

The kid, as I've mentioned, is having some trouble dealing with Katrina and her aftermath, as is Miles, the child of the Other Liberal Professor.

The kid has displaced her anxiety onto a really nice full-blown phobia connected to aliens (aliens as of The War of the Worlds aliens -- not from the movie, from the original radio broadcast, which mr. delagar let her listen to, the git) and sleeping in the dark, where the aliens might lurk. Miles is worried about "fast-running water," and what might happen if the fast-running water gets to Arkansas, and what if he is alone when it gets to him, what he would do then.

The Other Liberal Professor did some research (cause we are liberal professors, so that is what we do when confronted with a problem, research) and came up with a good site -- -- and that led me, after way too much time spent wandering through the site for someone who is teaching five classes with five preps and trying to finish a novel and trying to deal with a neurotic child, to this article,

which ends with this conclusion

Ultimate solution to the problems of violence -- whether from the remorseless predator or the reactive, impulsive youth -- is primary prevention. Our society is creating violent children and youth at a rate far faster than we could ever treat, rehabilitate or even lock away (Groves et al., 1993; Garbarino, 1993; Sturrock et al., 1983; Richters, 1993). No single intervention strategy will solve these heterogeneous problems. No set of intervention strategies will solve these transgenerational problems. In order to solve the problems of violence, we need to transform our culture.

We need to change our childrearing practices, we need to change the malignant and destructive view that children are the property of their biological parents. Human beings evolved not as individuals, but as communities. Despite Western conceptualizations, the smallest functional biological unit of humankind is not the individual -- it is the clan. No individual, no single parent-child dyad, no nuclear family could survive alone. We survived and evolved as clans -- interdependent -- socially, emotionally and biologically. Children belong to the community, they are entrusted to parents. American society, and its communities, have have failed parents and children alike. We have not provided parents with the information and resources to optimize their children's potential and, when parents fail, we act too late and with impotence to protect and care for maltreated children (Kendall et al., 1995; Urquiza et al., 1994; Klee et al., 1987; McIntyre et al., 1986; Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development, 1995).

The violence in our society, and especially the violence toward the Other -- who is a safe target -- it alarms me. It's growing worse, not better, under the current leadership, under the rule of a media and a culture where people are being schooled in the notion that to say hateful things is to be honest, and to avoid saying hateful things it is to be P.C. (The concept that it might be best not to hate at all -- that it might be best to attempt to love your enemy and do good to those who have done evil -- well, what sort of whacky talk is that?) A society that is so addicted to and so steeped in violence, which reaches for violence and hate as its first tool -- as ours does -- is in danger.

And the root of this violence lies in the way we rear our children.

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