Yesterday I looked at the documentary ‘Babies’ that follows four humans through their first year after birth. Two of the babies featured in the film are from rural areas: Ponijao from Namibia, and Bayar from Mongolia. The two other are from urban areas: Mari from Tokyo, Japan, and Hattie from San Francisco, U.S.
I found the film interesting because it showed the difference between how people relate to babies and parenthood in first world countries, compared to third world countries. And one point that came through clearly was how the first world parents were more anxious, and worried about their babies, and approached the point of upbringing using intellect. For example, in the first world, the parents took their babies to ‘baby-classes’ – which is a couple of parents coming together with their babies, and with the help of a circle leader – the parents then explore a topic together with their babies. In the movie the first world babies sang songs with the parents about ‘mother earth’ for example.
In contrast, the third world babies grew up very close to the ground, and in case of the Namibian baby Ponijao, she literally grew up in the dirt, as neither the hut where she lived, or her environment provided anything else but dirt as a floor. And it was fascinating to see the difference, how Ponijaos mother was very relaxed and did not try to be or do anything more than usual. When Ponijao was born, her mother simply continued the normal day-to-day activities, yet now, taking Ponijao with her at all times. She did not try to educate or teach Ponijao anything from that stressed and anxious starting point that can be seen in first world parents, such as reading stories to make sure that the child gets the necessary vocabulary as fast as possible, so that it will do good in school later on. Instead Ponijaos mother remained stable, and when Ponijao indicated that she was ready to learn something or expand, her mother would naturally and smoothly move herself to show that particular aspect of reality. The development of Ponijao was on her premises, in her pace, not forced, not stressed, not controlled.
From what I can see, us in the first world, we have lost touch with our physical nature to such an extent that we do not anymore trust ourselves to birth and rear children, as a natural expression of ourselves. One of the reasons for this is because our lives has become removed from any deep connection with and understanding of earth. We do not grow our food anymore, or slaughter the animals we eat, we just go to the supermarket and buy what we need. And in the city, we see some trees here and there, however, we seldom get to experience and be part of a wild and expansive nature stretching a far as we can see. We are very protected from the sensations of reality, and thus, we do not create an effective relationship with the physical, and when the body births a baby, which is a natural expression of the physical body, we simply do not know how to deal with it. And try to read books, and figure out how we should be as parents, and make up plans for, and create magnificent illusions of how our future will be, without any real understanding of the physical expression of the body. And what happens when the baby is born? Oftentimes, chaos ensues, as we are brutally awakened by the reality of what it means and implies to have a baby.
If there is something I took with me from this film it is the importance of not approaching childbirth and raising a child from within and as fear and anxiety – not make it anything more than it is – not try to come up with theorems, educational tactics and other intellectual designs. Instead, to approach having a children as something that is natural – trusting the human physical body to do its thing – and then as the baby is here – trusting myself to direct each and every moment according to what is best for all. Understanding that a good education is not necessarily to learn to play a instrument, and three languages fluently, but it might instead be, to simply be with and discover reality, in a comfortable and slow pace. If the baby does not have an inclination towards reading, then why force it? The urge to control always arise from some type of irrational fear, and as a parent, it is very important to not let those fears take a hold, and begin to mold and design, and essentially limit, our child’s life from within and as those fears.
Childbirth and taking care of children are all natural parts of the physical – and us making such a big deal out of it only goes to show that we have separated ourselves from the physical – instead of standing one and equal with the physical – and walking the process of birth and parenting HERE – within self-trust.
Check out the following interview on parenting
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