Sunday, December 20, 2015

What does the family have to do with it?

A long time ago, by the Chinese and the ancient Romans, the family was seen as the basic building block for a healthy, intelligent society.  According to Confucius (551 to 479 BC), “the strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.”  No doubt about it!  That’s where the education of individuals begins, and, in fact, should never end.  Today more so than ever before.

Particularly in this technology-savvy age, the home is the place where ideally all learning should begin, and flourish, very much including online learning.  The skills using one’s computer, tablet or cell phone, should be learned, imbedded and practiced from early on, just like brushing one’s teeth, for that is an essential requirement for acquiring knowledge, like feeding oneself.  In my humble opinion, the family is the best team to lead by example and help the learner along, instead of leaving it up to a biased and possibly even distorted outside environment to bring the novice into the SMS-texting plus Internet world.

There is nobody more qualified than family that can supply the love, guidance, and support to stir up “the will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential ... these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence,” to quote Confucius again.   And today, as well as in the future, this is true to a large extent via computers or computer-like devices.

Therefore, playing computer games is a very good thing, not a vice, because it gives your brain the opportunity for a workout and more.  Which does not mean that it can't be overdone, in case a player loses his/her relationship to time and environment, and just overdoes it,  like taking an overdose of some legitimate drug.  That’s of course sick and harmful to the person,  particularly to the person’s health,  his/her relationships and other responsibilities.  But if so, that should be easy to cure, with returning to reason and pursuing computer use with common sense.

Especially in socialist oriented societies, and very much under Soviet Communism, society developed into a non-family enterprise, where children were turned over to the state or some other outside system to grow up and become classless citizens, uniform members of the homogenous human masses.  But as we all know, and as the Soviet empire demonstrated, that model self-destructs  although modern socialists of all stripes, even in strong capitalist countries, are still trying to do the same thing the same way, hoping that the outcome will be a less competitive, less differentiated society.  That’s one reason why children often get farmed out to nursery schools as early as possible and kept in school as long as possible to learn and grow up together with their non-family peers. The peers that these children grow up with will be the ones they are working with later-on in life, playing, being friends with, maybe marry, and so on.

Well, there is a lot that gets lost by making the family just the children-production and paying-for-them-thereafter department.  The most valuable component, the personal human connection gets weakened, often substantially, or even totally lost in the process.  It converts the involved human, or humans,  into something like a machine, mostly a somewhat emotionally deprived automaton, with a greatly reduced capacity for feelings, understanding and reasoning. Eventually the human is even incapable of just pursuing thoughts or ideas for the mere fun of it.

Obviously that’s not the state we want our children or ourselves to end up in.  So the answer to the question is, yes, the family has everything to do with it.  This is why we need to have healthy, well functioning families in the first place.  That’s where true learning needs to begin, and ideally can go on lifelong.  As I learned in Asia:  “Stay home and cook rice” is to say that the real action starts in the family.  Looking anywhere else for what only your family can provide, and provide better than anyone else, is going to be a disappointing search for utopia. Although that seems to be the general practice worldwide at this stage of human development.  Therefore to end with my friend Confucius again:

"The hardest thing of all is to find a black cat in a dark room, especially if there is no cat."

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