I came to the chapter where Gladys Hunt talks about who influences our children. She speaks of the home as a place of solstice and shelter, where relationships are nurturing. She talks about how our own being is already an influence. That reminded me about Kelly saying that nothing is neutral, technology, just by being, is shaping our culture which makes men be of a different kind whether we like it or not. Back to Gladys Hunt, she says we influence not only with what we do, but by being who we are. Then she comments some ideas from Margaret Meat who talks about three kinds of societal patterns in American history.
Post-figurative, where the grandfather expects the son's values to be the same as his own. This would be what happened in pioneer America, where people were in constant company, working and living side by side with each other.
Co-figurative, where the move to cities and consolidation of schools made children fall under the influence of their peers, doing all those things which made, in her words, their parents wring their hands.
Pre-figurative, an era overflown with technology and media, where there are many different voices and messages that compete to be heard and acknowledged. Margaret Mead, according to Gladys Hunt, concludes that we do not know what is valuable for this society since nobody has lived in it before. But Gladys Hunt also differs from Margaret Mead, she believes that
"we do know what values are changing in an unchanging world. And we can and must teach them to our children, or they will have trouble extracting them from the babel of our noisy environment." (Page 109).
Later in her book she also says that hours watching television are hours stolen from spending time with others, thus not cultivating education as a science of relations. As Brandy wrote, children in schools seem not to have this poetic bind with knowledge. If they are taught with punishment and rewards in a superficial attempt to fill them with facts, they see teachers and teaching obliged to entertain them, when that fails, they see them as necessary torture (to pass a test, to move up grades, to get a diploma, to get the job that pays the most).
Gladys Hunt also says how she dislikes Saturday morning TV that speaks of the joys of a day 'free from school' as if school were a prison. But maybe school is a prison. Not only. Maybe our homes are becoming prisons filled with technology fetters. (I just learned the meaning of fetter, they are these chains that are placed on prisoners feet). If there is no conversation in the family, if there is only the TV, computer, 'smart phones', and other gadgets and devices, we are in isolation from others.
She says maybe parents are living in a pre-figurative era thinking they are living in a post-figurative one. In simple terms. As if with just their presence in their homes their influence was enough to be sure we pass our values to the children in a respectful manner.
This reminds me always, how could it not be so, about Poetic Knowledge. It also brings up all that Charlotte Mason says about authority. And it finally inspires me to be sure our home and the atmosphere we all breath in it is not dominated by technology even if technology is present in our home. I do not want to let inertia settle down, or that will bring with it all those messages, values, and inadequate noise that technology and mass media offers. I am committed to intentionally and joyfully work to preserve our values and our home as a safe haven.