Wednesday, September 11, 2013

How schools enable consumerism

This is a comment I've posted on http://sangeethasriram.blogspot.com/2013/09/natural-learning-faq-if-your-child.html

With your permission, I'd like to chip in with my two cents to []'s query: School actively promotes living in a dictatorship: doing what's told to you by someone claiming authority without you getting a chance to judge whether that person is deserving of the authority or not. And with love being replaced by strictness, rules and judgement.

It also teaches being afraid of the judgement of one's peers without getting the time to evaluate said judgement.

Next, it teaches that you aren't good enough; someone else is better than you and you need to do what it takes to trump them. These are fallouts of efficient classroom management and focus on excellence. Whether this is done through physical punishment or psychological carrot-and-stick, it's the same (actually from my experience, it's worse with the latter).

Consumerism does not work on whole, satisfied, independently thinking indviduals; it works on people who have internalized the above things. I can understand the natural need for protections in early ages; but once the child's world expands beyond the family, once they are able to be by themselves without a parent present in the room, this independence would develop enough to be able to ward off consumerism, and other than not setting an example themselves, I don't think it's so necessary for parents to be shielding their older children from consumerism - that's a tall order.

I'm not a father yet and I've been thoroughly schooled; but from my own upbringing I can credit my family's democratic (and very chaotic) structure, exposure to real life problems early on instead of being shielded from them, and my regular exposure to people from multiple age groups and backgrounds for making me resilient and never very interested in consumerist activities when I was coming of age.

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