Thursday, August 14, 2008

Childhood

In this book The Disappearance of Childhood, Neil Portman talks about the seminal events in history that shaped the very concept of childhood. The invention of moveable type, the proliferation of printed material and books followed by ability to read separating grown-ups from children was one such event. Postman argues that childhood is a relatively new concept and since it is not humankind's natural state adults are still learning the rules of engagement and not always doing so hot.

With popular culture taking over our lives, adults are forcing the enchantment of children's lives and making them aware of the adult world ahead of time. Conversely, adults are turning childish - in effect childhood as it was first conceived and indeed "manufactured" in now disappearing. This sentiment is echoed by Katharine Mieszkowski in her Salon article which she ends with words of wisdom which parents would ignore to their own peril :

There is this feeling that if I don't do everything that I can for my child I'm cheaping out on my kid, and I'm not giving them all the advantages. Underpinning this is a huge amount of economic anxiety. We're incredibly fearful that for the next generation things are going to be a lot tougher, in a seriously competitive, not very rewarding global marketplace. Question before you make any purchase whether what you're doing is to assuage your angst, guilt and fear, and if it's actually going to make a material difference for your child.

1 comment:

ggop said...

Enjoyed the salon article HC. We were raised in simpler times. I don't think I ever saw a stroller till I moved to the US.