Yesterday our outreach advocate came to visit. Outreach here is a program to help parents with resources and information to aid their children with special needs. Our advocate comes once a month. Anyway, Jane is, for lack of a better term, a wild child. She likes to climb and jump and wrestle, and just be her wild self. Yesterday, like normal she refused to get dressed and so she was just in a pull up. She wanted to climb and jump on our advocate. He responded by saying that since she wasn’t dressed that it was inappropriate. I assumed this was just policy, as I have no problem with my naked children being children. After she settled and went to her bedroom, he asked me about my thoughts on it and told me that he was responding that way because every family is different. Every family has their own history and responses to such things. I told him, that there isn’t a problem. She’s four years old, to her she’s just playing, it being inappropriate in anyway is an adult projection.
Now this got me to thinking about how we as adults project so much onto children, and how so many of our beliefs and the way we see the world has been projected onto us. And I started to wonder what the world would be like if we stopped projecting societal pressures onto our children. Now in movies and tv, they depict children that haven’t been raised in “normal” civilization as weird, fearful and violent. But usually in these stories these things have been projected onto the child. Like in Stranger Things, Eleven is taught that violence that she has, that violence was projected onto her. That might not be the best example, but it’s the one in my head probably because I just watched the entire series this past week. Hopefully you get what I mean though.
But even though in movies and such things these “feral” children are seen as violent, as humans, our natural state is kindness and compassion. We are taught violence and fear and hatred. Those things have been projected onto us, onto our children. And I wonder if our children really have to be taught right from wrong or if those concepts are just projections. I try to sit here and just watch my children, and I notice how much has already been projected onto them, how much of what they should and shouldn’t do has already been taught to them. I know there isn’t much I can do to undo that, but I know that I can try not to project more.
Before you go commenting that children would misbehave and be rude and mean or whatever, I’d like you to stop and think about how much of that you are projecting, and how much of that had been projected to you during your childhood. And then ask yourself if these beliefs are really true, are they absolute truth?
How can we know that children wouldn’t be compassionate and caring people if we didn’t believe that we had to teach them? How to do we know that children would be mean if we didn’t believe we had to teach them “right from wrong”?
Many of my peers were raised by parents that grew up in the 50’s and 60’s, and a lot of the way we were raised were milder projections of the way our parents were raised. But is that really the best way? We no longer live there, we live in the now, and with all we know, why wouldn’t we try to raise our children in a more authentic way that is truer to our children’s beings? Is it possible to undo all that we have been taught to believe so that we no longer project that onto our children? I hear people say “well I was raised this way” and all that says to me is that “I’m just repeating patterns because I don’t know what else to do”.
Is there a way to unlearn the projection of beliefs that were put unto us? Is it possible to not project onto our own children?