Chinese, Japanese and Korean business people are struck by how soft, gentle and kind we are to our children. The school system in the Far East requires so much more of their young people. School starts very early in the day, activities that are fun and engaging are not included and often, at the end of the day children will opt to go to large scale lectures and presentations that might last until up to 10pm at night. The other extreme is where we are, caught up in providing a totally child-centered form of education where they can pretty much choose what they do and what the they don’t. A by product of this is the current challenge that we have with anxiety, mental instability and depression. I wonder if we have allowed the pendulum to swing back too far? As I write this I am sitting at home with a number of my children off ‘sick’ and I am conscious that if I was living 10 thousand miles east of where I am this would not be tolerated so I know that I am right at the heart of the bone china club!
So what can we do about it? It is wrong, I think to have a knee jerk reaction – after all we need to accept our culture – but it is certainly worth bearing in mind. Maybe we should look wider and further at the art of child rearing and just challenge ourselves this week with this notion.