In Indigenous societies all over the world, on every continent, we see babies and young children held close by parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, siblings and cousins. We see children intimately embedded in the natural world and free to move and use their bodies outdoors. We see children embedded in their communities and free to observe and participate in adult work, leisure, and celebration. We see complex social structures of mixed-age extended family and clan which provide child care and teach respect and hold anti-social behavior in check far more effectively and with less conflict than the institutions we now rely on. We see people connected to the land with a depth and richness and sense of reciprocal ethical relationship that is unimaginable to modern urban humans.
We do not see children confined indoors for twelve years of their childhood, we do not see children segregated with same-age individuals under the care of strangers, we do not see a state of perpetual competition in which children are measured and ranked against their peers and in which “helping your neighbor” equals “cheating.” We do not see parents having to choose between raising their children alone with no support and paying strangers to do it for them. We do not see young people starving themselves, cutting themselves, killing themselves.
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