Childism and Intrinsic Interest

October 12, 2013

Being both Autistic and an educator, I’m very interested in how our educational institutions are structured to inure children to accept the heteronomy of adult run institutions. I know that if children are given autonomy to do whatever they want that disaster will ensue, but I also know that we do not help children learn to be as autonomous as they safely can be. As John Locke said, children should be kept safe, well cared for and safe from hurting others, but beyond that they should be left to their own devices, and given nothing. They should find their own way until they choose to come to adults… only then should we engage them. Otherwise we are inculcating them with our own goals, values and dreams, and replacing what is their intrinsic interest with a worldview based on performance for adult approval. By the time they end up at university, it is too late to refind the intrinsic interest that is what they need to become fully actualized individuals.

Being confronted with the notion of Childism (Childism is the subordination of children’s needs/interests for the benefit of adults, even if adults think it benefits children.) is a very inconvenient notion for parents and educators. The whole notion of the institutionalization of lived experience that is reflected in our schools, hospitals and social services represents the organization of our own adult lives according to externalities. Yet, we ostensibly have a say in this matter. Children do not. We all decide for them, and by the time they are in a position to have a say they have been operantly conditioned to comply.

More on this later. Just a thought I wanted to get down.

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