Public education is more stressful than ever for our children, as standardized testing requirements increase and programs like art, music and physical education are being phased out. The result of this type of environment is predictable, and the medical establishment and big pharma are making a killing by drugging active children with ADHD medications …
Is it just me, or is this one of those “duh!” moments…? Children are actually allowed to do what children are biologically and evolutionarily intended to do, which is have a decent amount of time to play outside, and their attention span when they return to their lessons increases? Wow, y’don’t say! *shakes head* So, what does this have to do with traditionalism?
Well, in the words of Maria Montessori, founder of Montessori education, “Play is the work of the child.” Through nearly all of human evolution, play was how children developed their minds and bodies, and how (along with helping their parents and older siblings, and listening to the adults tell stories around the campfire) they learned what they needed to learn to survive, and help their tribe or folk survive. Play is a manifestly and supremely traditional art form! We forget that at our peril — and that of our children, and therefore, our future.
From the linked article:
“Students don’t have to be drugged to do well. Meditation in schools is highly effective at reducing school violence and increasing concentration for learning. Higher quality nutritious and organic foods, rather than processed snack foods and fast foods, when served in school cafeterias are another part of creating an environment more conducive to the needs of children.
“The most common sense, natural solution to inattentive behavior in school children, however, may be the basic idea of giving children more time to free play and to engage their bodies in physical activity. It’s such a simple notion in such unusual times that it actually sounds revolutionary, and several schools in Texas are being hailed for trying a new program which solves behavioral problems by doing nothing more than allowing children to play outside more often during the school day.”
See also Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder, by Richard Louv, for more on the many benefits to children of unstructured outdoor play and interaction with the natural world. It may not be the cure-all in each and every case, but (especially if combined with the aforementioned high-quality, nutrient-dense, natural / organic foods), can only help the situation.
While I appreciate the benefits of modern, allopathic medicine — I might not be alive without it — I am also more than a little suspicious of both the motivations and the outcomes of “big pharma” and our pharmaceutical culture. If we actively promote the idea that there is a pill for every problem, and medication is our go-to for all behavior problems from childhood on, can we really be surprised that so many people select various forms of “self-medication” to deal with stressful issues in their lives?
Hippocrates famously said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” He wasn’t talking about pills or injections, synthesized in the laboratory! Let’s be grateful for allopathic medicine, and make careful and considered use of it, where necessary and appropriate. But the more we can do with healthful foods, meditation, obtaining sufficient high-quality sleep, and spending time outdoors in natural surroundings, the better, in my opinion. And even more so when it comes to children!