We are back with more of our book study of “Hold On To Your Kids: Why Parents Need To Matter More Than Peers” by Neufeld and Mate. I encourage you all to read this book; it will underscore the importance of your work as a parent and that what you do every day really does matter!
We are up to Chapter Seven in this book, entitled “The Flatlining of Culture”. The authors talk about how teen “tribe”s have no connection these days with adults at all. They remark that “Although we have lulled ourselves into believing that this tribalization of youth is an innocuous process, it is a historically new phenomenon with a disruptive influence on social life. It underlies the frustration many parents feel at their inability to pass on their traditions to their children.”
I have a few things to add here. I believe this peer orientation is beginning earlier and earlier, but parents are buying into this process as fact when it does not have to be so. “Sleep-overs”, something women my age remember happening from their own childhoods in the teen years (ie, junior high and up), are now happening for children aged 7 and up. There are many more instances of things that used to occur in the teenaged years just some decades ago that are now happening at the earliest levels of the grades. This should be worrisome and we should be fighting to take the innocence of childhood and being with family back!
The other interesting thing with this quote is the assumption that parents feel they have traditions to pass on. I meet many families who do NOT have traditions from their own childhood to pass on. Many of the parents I meet today are trying to re-create their families’ cultures from scratch with little idea how to start. We must get very clear with ourselves and with our spouses, partners and other family members what traditions we hold dear, what values we hold dear and work to show this to our children.
“When a child becomes peer-oriented, the transmission lines of civilization are downed. The new models to emulate are other children or peer groups or the latest pop icons….Peer-oriented children are not devoid of culture, but the culture they are enrolled in is generated by peer orientation.”
Another great quote and sobering fact from this chapter: “Many of our children are growing up bereft of the universal culture that produced the timeless creations of humankind: The Bhagavad Gita; the writings of Rumi and Dante, Shakespeare and Cervantes and Faulkner, or of the best and most innovative of living authors; the music of Beethoven and Mahler: or even the great translations of the Bible. They know only what is current and popular, appreciate only what they can share with their peers.”
What did you all think of this short but intriguing chapter?