Question: Some people have already started practically implementing the method of integral upbringing. They have gained the first experience and made the first mistakes. I would like to discuss this aspect using an example of a specific situation.
An acquaintance of mine started raising her daughter using this methodology. She breastfed her daughter until the girl was almost two years old. Then she raised her according to the developmental phases: zero to three, three to six, and from six to nine years. Everything went well until the child started school. The girl stood out from everyone; she was more open, uninhibited, and more positive, and she quickly ran into powerful resistance from the regular environment. Later on schoolteachers joined this opposition as well.
A very serious situation arose, where the mother and child were forced to struggle against the system because the creation of a separate environment, the kind that we spoke about, is currently unfeasible. What would you recommend? How do we help these people?
Answer: If you’re talking about Russia, I have a few examples in this country of working precisely according to the principles of the integral system. This isn’t our system, but they are all very similar.
Their classes are more like extracurricular activities, where a child doesn’t sit in front of blackboard and teacher, but develops through free movement and discussions. He or she grasps the world through examples and not through dry lesson explanations that he has to memorize to pass the test the next day, and forget right after. There are many such examples in Russia, and they are well known there. But all of them are still just little “sheep.”
Undoubtedly, if you breastfeed a child until they’re two years old, as has been instilled in human nature since ancient times, then he or she receives all the necessary nutrients and micro-elements that help them resist all the problems that could exist at that age.
We are afflicted by many illnesses, not because they are particularly virulent, and not because we need to build immunity to them, but because we don’t receive enough mother’s milk in infancy. Today a baby is separated from the breast practically a week or a month after birth, if it’s even breastfed at all. That’s why all the problems begin precisely with not nursing.
Since the goal of integral upbringing is to establish maximum closeness to nature, in our family, in our domestic order, we need to adhere to the same natural state that we observe in the natural interaction among animals. We don’t have this instinct, but we have to awaken it in ourselves on the basis of scientific information about what existed in previous centuries, instead of considering them anachronistic. That’s first.
Second, an absolute majority of parents are unhappy with scholastic education because of the problems that currently exist in schools, classrooms, and society. A vast majority of children would gladly not go to school and instead would arrange a completely different method of upbringing and education for themselves.
Try to discuss with the children the fact that over the course of the year they will have to learn a little more about the way the world works and the way we and our society’s laws are structured. After all, in the course of 10-12 school years, we are preparing a human being for life. What should he or she know? How should they learn to interact with others? First and foremost, it is necessary for them to be able to help themselves, to help others, and know who to receive help from others. That is, everything is practically built on unification, on correct involvement and interaction with one another. Does school teach that? No!
We are preparing common craftsmen so that they could graduate from some vocational school, acquire some occupation or specialization, and earn a living for themselves. We don’t think about what’s next besides a salary.
Even about earning an income we don’t think much because we don’t morally prepare a person for that. He strives to evade any responsibilities that are related to society, parents, and family; he doesn’t wish to build one.
We need to think about how to transform the school. Our goal shouldn’t be to subordinate a child to the school, to such despotic or old German system, like when peasants became factory workers and nothing more, but to completely transform the school!
Aside from our integral approach, there are many similar methods. I won’t go into their comparative analysis, but they are all alike in that first and foremost, they think about the person, and not about what you need to cram into him, what mass of quickly forgettable knowledge.
That’s why today many are leaning towards their children not attending school at all. There is the Internet, distance learning, and home schooling. And anyway, a mother should stay at home with her children and not be away at work. A father has to provide for the family, and a mother should care for the home and raise children. Then it would be a normal family.
In other words, we should slowly climb down from the tree of the “realization of evil” and return to normal and balanced systems of mutual interactions. And we should stop crippling poor children! First, parents drag their children to kindergarten, then send them off to school, and they come back bruised from the battle for leadership instead of socializing with the collective. It’s not a collective but an endless battle!
We need to transform schools into something completely different, something humanistic. The state in which it exists today has so outlived itself that it’s painful to look at it.
But since a large amount of money has been poured into education, and enormous masses of people involved have a vested interest in it, they will not give it up easily. And they cannot change either. The educational system is the most ossified system. Educators are people who only know their own lesson and aside from it, no other lessons. That is why this is a very big problem.
Transformation needs to begin with the educators. We need to organize humanities courses and, first and foremost, mandatory integral courses for the body of educators with the aim of transforming them. In parallel to that, we should introduce psychologists and integral upbringing specialists into the school, who will then pursue discussions with students.
Furthermore, we need to introduce classes for instructors who would only be a few years older than their future students, and consequently, could easily develop contact with them and exert a positive influence on them. All this needs to be prepared. Without that our future generation will become the lost generation.
From a “Talk on Integral Education” #5, 12/13/11