Spare the rod?

Critical Thinking's deliberations on the dissolution of hierarchy extended this week to consider how we (should) treat our children.

Progressive atomisation of communities and families has resulted in growing state control over our children, ostensibly under the guise of "child protection". This has created a sense of powerlessness among parents. In some communities, parents are jailed for inflicting physical punishment on their children; meanwhile increasingly psychological techniques to exercise "discipline" can be far more corrosive and abusive.

The way we treat our children is a reflection of our society and how we are treated as adults - we too are bound by ever expanding limitations on our freedom, to ensure a compliant, conforming populace. Is it any wonder the world is spiralling out of control? The political economy and society are too big and complex to "manage" - the only way to recover sanity and stability in the world is through self-organisation. It should start at home, in communities and at school.

AS Neil created Summerhill School, the basic premise of which was freedom and love - it worked. Like the rest of us, children are capable of self-organising, if they are given the opportunity.

Prolonged childhood through removal of personal freedoms and imposition of "rules" extend dependency on authority into adulthood. Compulsory education is where our problems start and the pattern is repeated throughout our lives. Conform or be punished.

To paraphrase AS Neil what we (children and adutlts) need is freedom and love.

Please register to post comments