I was watching two small kids at the café yesterday. They were kids, and in a public space, their mom, her sister, and grandmother really had no concept of public spaces, so how could you get upset at the kids. The table where people were sitting was overrun by mom stuff, the kid's hands sanitized and all the accouterments of a germophobe. The highlight was when one of the kids spilled some water and just licked it off the table. I had to smile at the sight as that kid probably will be building up her immune system far more than her sister.
When did parents become so odd? You have to excuse me in that I don't' have any kids, so that part of life in raising a child is a complete mystery to me. I just see and observe the results with the various cultures I have interacted with around the planet. It always fascinated me how parents dealt with kids having tantrums.
What I learned most about parenting is from my friend Gennifer who had a farm that I would sometimes visit. One day her dog went off and ran off into the field when we had to be somewhere. She called the dog a few times, and it finally came to the truck after behaving rather badly in not listening, but at the same time, the dog is a dog, and when you put a field in front of one, it is like its natural habitat to play in.
Gennifer has far more patience than moi, and her version of being upset is a very controlled and muted display. "I can't get mad at the dog if it off misbehaving, it means that I didn't do a good enough job training it."
If you watch kids and/or build a skunkworks research lab, you will see there are times when Both the kids and adults behave the same way. They play with things to learn. It is one of the more critical things I see missing in most of the business world, and in silicon valley, it is probably one of its most significant weaknesses. The "reality" for most of the world is not getting free lunches, cool free range workspaces, or stock options that explode and afford people a lifestyle for never making any profit. I think and pray those days are over, but with some of the IPO's lately, you can bet there are a lot of money people looking to get out of the deals with ridiculous ROI before people look behind the reality of the curtain they have created to hide the reality.
So when I look at the kids today. If there is something great, odd, different, or quizzical about them, I simply go look at the parents to see what kind of folks they are. There is no guarantee about a kid turning out well. I know parents who gave their kids every and any benefit of privilege and money who have turned out to be idiots. I also know people that came from out of the ghetto whose moms and grandmas were the influence for them to work their way from abject poverty to becoming successful people today.
Parenting might be like fitness and exercise. You can do what you think, read, know, and feel is best for your child. Can we also exclude peer pressure moo-cow herd parenting? that is a term I just made up for parents that are too busy following the "keep up with jones's" or any other social behavior to fit in versus asking, "why am I doing this?"
sorry, I digressed with a thought – again.
But parenting is like fitness. You know it is good for you, you need to do it every day, there will be long periods where you don't see any gains and results, and the best way to train is to alter and change the routine every single day …even within the exercise motions. If you do this, you don't have a guarantee for better health, but you significantly increased your odds that you will feel better, move better, and have a more active body.
What I am noticing with many parents today. I think it was a street in Ireland where I stopped in sadness, it was a beautiful picture of a lot of young teenage moms with babies in seeming identical strollers all out on the street I was lost on. At first, I thought "wow, what an amazing photo!" and then my brain kicked in with the reality of some parts of the UK where kids get pregnant as they are told the government will take care of them. That is why I didn't raise the camera. My brain connected the dots because each of the moms and kids had identical strollers.
Sorry about that. I have seen kids that are pregnant in other parts of the world. It is a seeming unnatural look to see teenagers with their belly's extended out.
so how is a child expected to raise a child?
This trend appears to have spread to the west in that parents seem to be developmentally disabled by being spoiled or coddled. They have adult bodies, many probably went to college and university, yet, when you watch them raise a kid. It is like the kid is raising the parents these days.
The title of this blog post is about the helicopter, snowplow, free range, and moo cow parents. The first two are about parents that are overprotective and overburden themselves in the lives of kids. In some respects, I look at the Swiss system for kids having to pick their career path at age 14 as a bit young, but that is what the system is. It will turn out really highly skilled and trained kids to make any trade and follow. The free range parents are those that allow their kids to do anything and learn at their own pace. I probably would have loved this idea, but I was raised by a super strict father who was too busy trying to put food on the table for any fun and games, aka play.
And lastly, there is the "moo-cow" parent. Forgive the bland generalization, but it is that large herd of parents that are sucked into their social media groups and cliques that probably watch way too much daytime tv or reality tv. (sorry moms, I don't know as many men that watch it…perhaps the men do sports stuff? I don't really know.) This group of parents, I wonder if they ask "why?" too much of what they do. I wonder if they ask, "why?" or understand why they click the "like "button on their social media feeds? This group…is like what I saw yesterday at the café. I wondered if the parents and grandparents were even aware of themselves in the space, or were they just tired and needed a break from two adorable high energy little girls who already learned what nail polish, pink, doggies, and ponies was about. I did not see any princess tiaras or scepters…yet.
I ask these questions as I wonder about the idea of "balance" in the world. Perhaps this is coming out with the work in meditation and me getting experiential re-education in a different way about the beauty of balance in a world of specialists.
My intersection with younger minds is at the gym and the café near the university. There are plenty of really brilliant kids serving coffee these days. Also, there is a lot of people trying to improve their health and fitness, but it seems like the minority when I pull back for the larger (no pun intended) picture of overall society on this part of the planet.
What is traveling through my head is a lot of what we are using technology for now, as an aid for others to help grow. I don't think controlled environments are great for humans all the time. It goes counter to nature in that you have to grow and adapt to whatever happens. Man is a brilliant tool maker and is creating his own reality, that is minimizing the existence of the nature around him. I used to think this was so cool, but have come to a place where I realize the danger of controlled environments is that they are great to work in, but they can easily limit you and reduce that space of your view and perspective
with the coming advanced artificial intelligence, I can see where the future frontier of the robotics "data wars" will have so much bs and manipulation to everything that people will simply stop asking "why?" and believe whatever message they hear and see, no longer based on the idea of the world wide web and free transfers of information – but a world of "controlled human environments" run to commodify everything – it might be humans as well.
let's hope this doesn't' happen, and the pride and greed of humans might give way to a balance that creating a planet for the good of humanity will supersede what history has seemed to repeat.
This is how "play" works. In these 10 minute rambles…most of the time a lot of o crap comes out, it is like sifting for gems…you have to move a lot of dirt to see the treasures. If you simply do it enough, you will come up with some great ideas. The same can happen with parenting, but only if you realize it is so much you don't know, and it is ok to let the kids grow in an environment where you don't teach them to be afraid of everything. Teach them and allow them to "play" for a bit.