It’s the first day of school for many local districts. It provides another one of those contrasts in how our societal view of children has changed. Our kids have been homeschooled for a long time so it isn’t really a big deal for us but we see it all around us.
Back To School
For most parents, back to school has become this cartoonish celebration. Finally getting those annoying kids back to the holding pens where they belong so mom and/or dad can get back to normal life. Work or watching TV and drinking wine during the day or whatever they think parents do during the school year. In all things children are seen as a burden, a distraction and an expensive one. We get the obligatory news stories about how obscenely expensive back to school shopping is for parents. It has to sort of make kids feel like mom and dad don’t want them around and increases the separation between parents and children.
Overall the message is the same: children are an expensive burden, a hassle and an impediment to your personal happiness.
On the other hand, the Amish kids went back today too. The mood is quite different. Moms loving having their school age kids home because they are a huge help. Older girls especially can help with the wash and cleaning, cooking and gardening and of course with the younger kids. Older boys help dad with whatever he does for a living, on the work crew or on the farm. While the kids (at least the girls) are mostly excited to go back, their moms dread it. They want their kids around, they didn’t have children just so they could shovel them into daycare and then public school at the earliest opportunity.
It is a very different view of family life and the “English” view is deeply unhealthy. There are of course problems with the Amish family but in a lot of ways it is far better and explains why their families tend to be so close while English families tend to be fragmented. There is a lot many of us could learn from people who “only” have an 8th grade education.