ethel’s words

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PARENTS INSULTING CHILDREN

There is another component of so-called “child-rearing” that may play a role in educating for war--the inscrutable practice of parents who insult their children, while the child is struggling to understand a complex world, nearly always trying to please (though occasionally striking out against the terrorism being visited upon them). The child is fearful of losing even the CHANCE to gain the approval of those who matter most--the parents--the first familiar faces and odors. This fear and sense of inadequacy prepares a child to be a slave or a soldier or a compliant worker who feels subservient even doing “honest labor”. (Labor is portrayed as shameful in our industrial-techno-informational society.) Children who are praised seem to be, most usually, the ones who occupy the positions of power: the vaunted Ivy Leaguers, for example, who are able to send the deprived kids off to the slaughter (ostensibly, during some eras, as a free person, “volunteering”).

This aspect, this insulting of one’s children, is baffling. Is the child a reflection of the parent? Is the child a handy, sentient creature to receive the self-hate of parents?

Ethel C. Hale