by David House
Cognitive dissonance anyone? We run PSA type commercials exhorting our children to "play an hour a day" Then proceed to lock them in institutions that teach them little more than the ability to recite "facts"
I say "facts" because one of my grandchildren told me the other day Dolphins are about as intelligent as a 15 yr, old child", he got that in school".and I know from personal research the "jury" is still way out on really understanding the nature of their intelligence
I have had a lot of real blessings in this life, and one of the most educational and rewarding was the pack of Wolf-hybrids i raised for many years on my land in Ne. From the incredible gift of a beautiful Wolf pup out in N. California...to her ten cubs, and then the packs that came from them and from the other beautiful gift pup, Sasha, from my daughter in 2000 i was given the most wonderful set of lessons in how to live, love and learn!. Wolves are not only pack animals. They are incredibly family oriented. I was blessed with the time and proximity to watch each new litter born and grow and finally take their place as full pack members.
I lost many to murderous ranchers out in that country. You see if a wolf decides he wants out of a pen or run...it will happen with the same certainty of the sun rising. I do not know how many early mornings some early riser staying on my land would wake me with the cry...the wolves are out!...nothing could stop them!...from buried tires all around the pens to picketed rows of Re-bar driven deep into the earth and laced with heavy wire...to boulders chunked down in the weak places...once the urge to run was strong enough, out they went, and out we went frantically rounding them up before some paranoid rancher shot them. You see hunting large game, like cattle is not instinctive...it is a learned skill, taught by pack elders...like discrimination is in our human children. You couldn't explain that to the ranchers though, they shoot first and never look back!
One of the greatest joys was watching the puppies play. Almost every type of play they engaged in ended up being a method to acquire a skill they would need in thier life when they were grown. They attended no class room, were never, ever pushed into adulthood before that critical play time had given them, naturally, the very life skills they would need to survive!
In a lot of ways watching them took me back to my own childhood and the hours of play in the hot, dusty wood near our house. The BB gun wars...sans any protective gear...that we engaged in constantly that ended up making me a crack shot when i entered my life, my dream, the Army. The building of "forts" that taught me one had to be careful when building because shoddy procedures meant the fort collapsed or the floor of the tree house gave away and we risked falling to the ground.
On fine summer days i would grab a small pan from the kitchen, a can of good old Campbells Tomato soup, some fire making implements, a cup, a loaf of bread and my current must read book. Off to my special place, in a small hollow, where a tiny spring bubbled fresh cold water...there i would cook, eat and lounge in the deep sweet grass...reading..listening to the Crows who would tell me when my friends or strangers entered the wood..the days were long, lazy and fulfilling...the skills i learned playing there stayed with me, made me a decent soldier with good skills at camouflage, tracking and self defense. The first time i skipped school, it wasn't to be free of the place...i was deeply involved in reading a book and didn't want to be forced to read something else...i got caught". but, i finished the book, which was far more important to me than that days school work would have been.
With my best friend we, spent entire summers reading, building, and discussing the universe, how it worked, and why things were the way they were. NONE OF THIS was ever really part of what we learned in school, but it effected us more deeply than anything we were taught there. I remember learning the concept of "as above, so below" and the concept that if the universe was infinitely large, it had to be infinitely small as well...from discussing the images on an Evaporated Milk" tin,,,that had a picture of the can on the label, which had a picture of the can on its label and so on...none of these concepts were really discussed in school at least at our grade level...but these ideas came up in the long lazy times we had to just...BE..and think and dream. Can you see where i'm heading with this thing?
Now children are drilled in reading, spelling, math and the like BEFORE they even hit Kindergarten! before they have a grasp on anything, they are being molded, shaped, prepared for a life of running here and there...the college race, prep, prep, prep...test, test, test. Is it any wonder that with whatever free time they might wrest from the race they will be in until they are old enough to retire but too old to enjoy same, they spend in the mindless meditation of a video game.... and to top it off because of the greed and selfishness of the men in control, even that date of restricted freedom, retirement.... is being pushed later and later in life. Now they are discussing taking summer away from children".. they already got recess, where i really learned group participation...sharing and good manners. I ask you truly...has any of this helped? Is this country still a mess educationally? Will stealing the last vestiges of childhood help? Or is it really babysitting you need? babysitting so that both parents can slave away, leaving their children in the care of others that cost almost as much, as the time wrested away from the kids, to earn the money to pay the child care, while you work non stop til 70 or beyond?...it this the world you want to make????...where even the family is shredded to the point of semi non existence? Who benefits...you?...your children?...your family? Or is someone else benefiting from what you have given up?
They say in the purest form of slavery the slaves believe they are free.....is freedom really being able to chose any car in the aisle? Or choosing to use the free time, you used to have, to spend with your children? In a movie i really suggest everyone see, if for no other reason to understand what our native brothers have to live like on the Rez., "Thunderheart," John Trudell, [poet, musician, actor and activist, and my personal hero, role model] who plays the Jimmy character, says something profound..."We [the Native people]... know the difference between the illusion of freedom and the reality of freedom!" Do you?
Look to your children...what are you doing to them? What are you doing for them? Is money and a good college that they will pay for receiving most of their lives, worth the loss of freedom, childhood, and family?... could you get by few fewer possessions and more time with family. Who controls the economy that forces you to skimp on family life just to survive? Wolves learn by playing"..i learned the most important lessons of my life playing...is sacrificing the emotional stability of your children worth the loss of play, of life, of deep family love earned by time spent together. Is burying our children in one institution after another really going to make life better?...who told you that?...and what was their agenda?
Blu...my Alpha wolf who died in 2009