For virtually the entire span of human history we have lived as Gatherer-Hunter peoples within close communities of 25-50 individuals. Modern society is but a blink in the eye compared to our primitive past (people in “developed” nations were still starting their fires with flint and steel barely more than a hundred years ago).
Children growing up within their tribe were secure in knowing that their future occupations included 1. Hunter, 2. Gatherer, and 3. Shaman. That’s it. They learned by watching their elders and mimicking behaviors. Almost as soon as a baby could close it’s hand around something, a grinding stone or bow would be placed in it.
When children mimicked adults successfully and dug up an edible root or caught a grasshopper, they were praised and honored for contributing to the welfare of the community. Over time, boys became proficient hunters and girls became proficient gatherers, with some overlap between sexes in the hunting and gathering.
Mimicking and the desire to contribute are instinctual. While living in tribes, the process of growing up was natural, secure and predictable.
Today, children are aware that they can’t mimic their parents and can’t meet their needs directly from their actions upon the land. They also discover (eventually) that whatever they learn in school will be largely irrelevant by the time they are old enough to have a family of their own.
Consequently, children often feel they are a burden to their parents. Yes, there are things that they can do to help, but washing dishes and cleaning don’t engage their instincts quite like hunting, gathering, fire-making, shelter building, basketry, pottery, and all the other ancient skills.
The fact is… children ARE a burden to their parents today and they are generally treated that way. Much of schooling and technology serves the function of babysitting, keeping the child occupied so that the parents can work.
And modern society thinks they are more “advanced” than primitive peoples, LOL!
But there’s hope. Children have the same instincts today as they did thousands of years ago. When they are encouraged to engage in skills that dovetail with their instincts, they “wake up” like someone who has been asleep. Ancient skills teach awareness, connection, communication, coordination, patience, attention to detail, respect, assertiveness, good listening, optimism, confidence, cooperation, and much more.
Children learn more about who they are through understanding how people have always been. They establish a solid foundation from which to evaluate all future options. And that solid foundation is common to everyone, so it unites the world’s peoples with the clear understanding that we are all much more similar than different.
Children need to know how to live in harmony with the land as their long-ago ancestors did.
Come learn with your children at www.elementsgathering.com