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Believing in a helpful reality.

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  • #377730
    Weiword
    Participant

    All of humanity’s beliefs are things they can’t verify. Some of these beliefs are sometimes damaging, like believing in a pre-planned destiny…

    How do you make sure that kids, who are still forming their views of the world, believe in a kind, helpful, and wonderful reality despite society suggesting otherwise?

    #377739
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Weiword:

    “How do you make sure that kids.. believe in a kind, helpful, and wonderful reality”?-

    – any part of reality that is not kind, I will  not reach kids that it is kind. Any part of reality that is not helpful and wonderful- I will not teach kids that it is helpful and wonderful.

    It would be a terrible thing for kids to teach them that people are kind, helpful and wonderful because many are not those things, and you don’t want the kids reaching out to people indiscriminately.

    I would teach children to pay attention, to evaluate people and situations and make informed choices.

    anita

    #377751
    Weiword
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    Thanks for replying. I guess my question should’ve been a bit more descriptive.

    When I mentioned reality, I meant the way humans think the universe works…not human society.

    Of course there are bad aspects about human society, which by all means is bad.

    But I was referring to what humans think about the nature of the universe. Things like destiny, karma, and really everything that can’t be verified..ever.

    As a concrete example, if someone believes that their destiny is planned out, and they’re going through a hard time, they’ll go in a downward spiral, thinking what’s happening to them was meant to happen, and hence not take steps to change things. Now in that context, the belief about preplanned destiny is not helpful (and there’s no way to say if it’s correct or not).

    So, my question was, how to make sure kids don’t start believing stuff like that, and see it as fiction, and not reality.

    Thanks

    #377752
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear Weiword,

    I believe the best way for children to have a healthy attitude to life, where they feel empowered and able to go after their goals and dreams, is by proper upbringing. It starts from a very early age, where the child is loved, appreciated, seen, validated, encouraged… If so, the child will develop a healthy personality and won’t be prone to flawed beliefs and theories like pre-planned destiny and similar.

    #377768
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Weiword:

    You are welcome. So your question was not how to make sure kids believe in “a kind, helpful, and wonderful reality”, but how kids believe reality as it is, instead of believing in fiction/ make-believe ideas like destiny. (Your original question suggests that if children separate reality from fiction, it will be helpful to them, they will be kinder to each other, and their lives will be wonderful?)

    My answer to your question how to make kids believe in reality and not in fiction in regard to destiny: teach kids that part of what happens to them is out of their control, and part of what happens to them is in their control. Help them, over time, to be able to tell the difference between (1) what is partly or wholly in their control, and (2) what is not at all in their control.

    Help them accept and move on from the second, and learn what appropriate action to take about the first. An example: the kid gets a bad grade on a math test (the teacher did not make a mistake in the grading)- the kid can not change the reality of that one test, and therefore, it’s okay to feel sad or angry or whatnot about the grade for a little while, but not to get stuck in those feelings.

    Instead of allowing the kid to get stuck in those feelings, ask the kid what action he can take to get a better overall grade in math, and help him come up with answers, for example: spend more time on homework every day, ask the teacher how can he improve his overall grade.

    anita

    #377783
    Peter
    Participant

    Hi Weirword

    Its a great question.

    There are those that argue that only the objective world is real.  If we can touch it, smell, it, see it, measure it, it is real. But when I see, smell, and touch an object the experience is filtered through memory, emotions, associations, and the experience something more, the inner world often at apparent odds with the objective one. What is real? Where is the Wonder?

    To navigate these waters, we become story tellers – ‘At our most basic nature, we are social creatures who love to tell stories. Stories that may or may not be true, designed to be taken into deep consideration rather than believed.’ – In Ireland when asked if a story is true the answer might be a some Yes, some No and you are left to discern which is what. I’ve always liked that answer. Their may be an objective truth, yet the best stories touch something deeper, a inner truth.

    How to teach a child to believe in a kind, helpful, and wonderful reality?

    Your question reminded me of 1897 book ‘Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus’. A kind of question every child faces at some point in life.  ‘Does Santa Claus exits?’ is the question of what is real, the objective reality of sight, smell, touch, measurement… or that which touches something beyond measurement?  (is it a either or? I trust not, however society of late seems to prefer a imagined certainty of all or nothing… In other words the death of wonder) Is Santa Claus a true story?  Some yes, some no… what is it you wish to connect to? The wonder of generosity and Love or a reindeer flying not as metaphor but an impossibility.

    At our most basic nature, we are social creatures who love to tell stories. Such stories often become Mythic, the “dreams of the universe”, stories that may or may not be true, designed to be taken into deep consideration rather than believed.

    I might argue that a door to wonder is becoming conscious (mindful) of the ways in which we relate and engage in stories.

    Joseph Campbell suggested that there are Four Basic Functions of Mythology.  Four ways to engage with story. In my opinion learning to be conscious of ‘which lens’ we are engaging with a story is the key to wonder.  – “It would not be too much to say that myth is the secret opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the cosmos pour into human cultural manifestations.” ~ Joseph Campbell

    Joseph Campbell’s “Four Functions of Myth” From Pathways to Bliss

    1. Mystical Function: The first function of mythology [is] to evoke in the individual a sense of grateful, affirmative awe before the monstrous mystery that is existence
    2. Cosmological Function: The second function of mythology is to present an image of the cosmos, an image of the universe round about, that will maintain and elicit this experience of awe. [or] …to present an image of the cosmos that will maintain your sense of mystical awe and explain everything that you come into contact within the universe around you.
    3. Sociological Function: The third function of a mythological order is to validate and maintain a certain sociological system: a shared set of rights and wrongs, proprieties or improprieties, on which your particular social unit depends for its existence.
    4. Pedagogical Function: the fourth function of myth is psychological. That myth must carry the individual through the stages of his life, from birth through maturity through senility to death. The mythology must do so in accords with the social order of his group, the cosmos as understood by his group, and the monstrous mystery.

    The second and third functions have been taken over in our world by secular orders. Our cosmology is in the hands of science. The first law of science is that the truth has not been found. The laws of science are working hypotheses. The scientist knows that at any moment facts may be found that make the present theory obsolete; this is happening now constantly. It’s amusing. In a religious tradition, the older the doctrine, the truer it is held to be.

    In the scientific tradition, on the other hand, a paper written ten years ago is already out of date. There’s a continuous movement onward. So there’s no law, no Rock of Ages on which you can rest. There’s nothing of the kind. It’s fluid. And we know that rocks are fluid, too, though it takes them a long time to flow. Nothing lasts. It all changes.

    In the social realm, again, we don’t regard our laws as being divinely ordained. You still hear it from time to time, as in the current abortion problem: God is talking to Senator So-and-so, or Reverend  Thus-and-such. But it doesn’t seem to make sense otherwise. God’s law is no longer the justification for the nation’s laws. Congress decides what a decent aim for the social order is and what the institution is that should bring that aim about. So I would say that in this secular society of ours, we can no longer really think of the cosmological and sociological functions as a problem.

    However, in all of our lives, the first and fourth functions do still play a role, and it’s these that I will be addressing. We are going to find ourselves far away from the old traditions. The first is the problem of awe. And, as I’ve said, you can have one of three attitudes toward it.

    The fourth function now is the pedagogical. Basically, the function of the pedagogical order is to bring a child to maturity and then to help the aged become disengaged. Infancy is a period of obedience  and dependency. The child is dependent on the parent, looks to the parent for advice and help and approval. There comes a time, however, when the individual has to become self-reliant and not dependent but himself the authority. Now here we come to a distinction between the traditional attitude toward this problem and the contemporary Western one. The traditional idea is that the adult who has moved from dependency to responsibility should take over without criticism the laws of the society and represent them. In our world, we ask for the development of the individual’s critical faculties, that you should evaluate the social order and yourself, then contribute criticism. This doesn’t mean blowing it up. Nor does it mean blowing it up before you’ve found out what it is. ….

     

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks ago by Peter.
    #377806
    Peter
    Participant

    To simplify my answer to the question: How to teach a child to believe in a kind, helpful, and wonderful reality?

    Teach them to apricate both the language of Science (measurement) and of language  Art (story, poetry, song, symbol , myth, religion…) Both languages can lead to wonder if in different ways. Having the ability to engage with both is a gift, a discerning mind also open to wonder.

    The language of Science is great when you want to build a house but it the language of Art that has the ability to turn a house into a home and ‘warm’ things up. A transformation that is a wonder…

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