A parent has a great, if not entirely fulfillable responsibility to prepare his child to survive as well as possible in the social, professional, commercial and psychological jungles in which the child will find herself. And learning must be done step-by-step. Even if a child is ready intellectually to understand a complex moral argument, if she lacks a sufficient foundation of experience it will be an academic concept, hard to take seriously or retain.
In The Education Henry Adams recalls how as a young man he asked the veteran New York politician Thurlow Weed if he thought that no politician could be trusted. “Mr. Weed hesitated for a moment,” Adams writes, “then said in his mild manner:—‘I never advise a young man to begin by thinking so.’”
May each parent decide for himself at what age his child is ready to move on from “Put that back where you found it” to “Americans think that if you are not going to buy an item you should put it back where you found it,” or, “The store has suckered you into grabbing that item, now do you want to let it sucker us into giving them money for it?” Or, “If you think anyone may have seen you break that item and you want to fit in, it may make sense for you now to make a show of telling some member of the store staff what you did and that you want to pay for the item.”
To read more: Click on Sick. Originally published in the Wed del Sol World Voices series. Illustration by Richard Delgado. One of a series of illustrations he did for Surviving the Twenty-First Century.
Love this one…and reminds me that I missed many opportunities to give my children good navigational tools (my learning seems to too often take place in hindsight)
Thanks! (And of course we parents know all too well that we have been preparing our kids for today’s world, but they will have to deal with tomorrow’s.)