(three-part father-to-son explanation on the perils of being young in contemporary Britain)
(Part I: Infancy)
Dear Master of the House and British Schoolboy
At the ripe old age of 4 and a half years you have just started attending one of Her Majesty’s schools. Your life will slowly turn from a continuous play to a struggle with books, notebooks and computers hopefully in the company of less than three dozen boys and girls.
Let me then explain what is the background of almost all your schoolmates, what kind of experiences are waiting all of you and most of all what can we already understand from the whispers of the Ghost of School-year Futures.
As soon as born in 2001-2002, your little friends found themselves in the care of infant routine-fixated mothers. Whole libraries must be out there demonstrating that the best way to deal with a hungry newborn’s night calls is to convince it to follow a strict schedule sketched out by the Divinity, pardon, by the Parent.
Mother will believe everything is under control when days keep rolling identical one to the next and so on. Worse: the propaganda says the routine is a “must” to get a child to grow healthy, strong (and ready to answer commands).
Now, the screaming (child) bag of bones and fat that disturbs the living (parents) in their sleep is no good listener. How then can one establish the routine? The solution is simple, written no doubt by some renowned pedagogue in Germany at the end of the 1930’s (Why? Oh well…let’s wait a dozen years and I’ll explain). It is to persuasion-via-abandonment.
I am not suggesting that little babies are left in the open as a matter of course, until they stop crying and start preparing breakfast instead. Simply, the infant is only taken good care of when the routine says so. If for example it gets hungry half an hour before food time, let it cry its soul out.
If somebody said sleep time is at 6.30pm, that’s when the tiny human is parked in the cradle and left until it gets tired, perhaps because of the crying; even when the sun sets much later, in the summer.
You will wonder: but if you, Daddy, get home between 7 and 8pm, how will all those children play with their dads if they go to sleep so early? In truth, dads more often than not get home when their boys and girls are already asleep. Think though, how relaxing! It’s Adult Time, in a silent and peaceful house (That’s called sarcasm, explanations in 2010).
Dads and children will catch up during the weekend, going to the movies or a restaurant together for once. If they are let in, that is: apart from a few exceptions, restaurants do cater in England for adults only, wholly unprepared if “smaller clients” show up.
An amazed BBC reporter in Italy with his infant daughter recently described:
“we could hardly go from one street to the next in the Italian city without children running up to see the bambolotto (dolly). Once what looked like three generations of a large family flocked out of a dark alleyway to alight around the buggy, whooping and shouting with delight.”
That tradition is not just Italian. Take a chubby, smiling child near the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and legions of Japanese girls will awe: “Sugoi!” (“Cute!”).
Nothing comparable to that in Great Britain. And this blindness and deafness to anybody below voting age doesn’t stop there. Every schoolchild is tasked to learn social conformism.
(continues to Part II: Letter to a British Schoolboy: The School Years)