Some cool thailand culture images:
Village Experience and Homestay – Ayutthaya, Thailand
Image by whl.travel
Homestays offer a rare opportunity to spent a night in a local family‘s house while learning more about traditional Thai culture.
(By Nithi Subhongsang)
The Epidemic: The Rot of American Culture
Image by Earthworm
The Rot of American Culture, Absentee and Permissive Parenting, and the Resultant Plague of Joyless, Selfish Children. This book was recommended by Rivendell, an opinionated cycling catalog I like a lot.
This is a very sensible instructional treatise by a psychologist living in Berkeley, but he also connects his guidelines to the bigger picture of school shootings, culture and toxic media thus my interest. What’s wrong with kids today turns out to be very much what my mother, the behavioral psychologist has been up against throughout her career working with families of developmentally disabled children. Parents don’t know how to set limits. They treat their children as peers and want to be their friends. They give up their authority to a four year old when they say things like "I’m going to use the blue crayon, is that okay?" (This at a restaurant where crayons are provided to use on the paper placemats.) Geesh. Catherine says this is why young employees end up in her office with such a sense of entitlement demanding that their every need be met while they’re at work.
The author also warns the reader of how the politicization of child rearing has filled the arena with ideologies warning parents that they should not interfere with a child’s spirit with too many rules and too much discipline. I always thought the self-esteem movement was bogus and that the cry of child abuse was taken a little too far. I’m for making children earn their keep doing chores and knowing their place in the grand scheme of things. This whole child centered ideology fits right in with the generation that took itself to therapy. This is my generation that has gone so astray. They were raised by Dr. Spock (no not from Star Trek). That was the beginning of a child centered ideology. Benjamin Spock was responding to the Victorian era of absolute discipline (that my mother was raised with), but he didn’t mean no discipline or no limits.
I favor the British when it comes to child rearing. The British seem to be natural disciplinarians (though a bit on the cold side). So not surprising that the TV Super Nanny is British. The saying about how the British love their dogs more than their children always stuck with me as a teen, but their dogs are well disciplined too.
This author is not cold. He emphasizes bonding and love in the early years and keeping discipline calm and loving. This I got from the Thai side of my family. Asian children are also much more watched and constantly told how to behave, so much so that they don’t have to initiate anything on their own. This keeps the kids close to the family. It was my English side that wanted to go out exploring on my own (and take notes).
He warns against over-scheduling children. Children don’t just go home after school, now, they have a ton of activities they have to be chauffered to. Having time to myself is largely why I am so self-amused and self-taught, plus TV wasn’t broadcast until 6 p.m. in Thailand in my day, advertisements consisted of a placard and an announcer and the only other electronic media was a portable radio. There is so much more for parents to monitor, now, and it is too easy to leave them to the values being pumped out by slick consumer advertising. (My friend Cristina told me that ad agencies were putting babies into MRIs to see how their brains respond to different advertising strategies.)
Then they are pressured to become commodities themselves through high end education, thus we have a population of cognitively smart people looking to gratify the insatiable child within on a diet of constant entertain-me stimulus and consumer products. Pretty scary.
I got interested in "kids these days" because I met a sixteen year old boy who couldn’t ride a bicycle. His mother said they just never got around to teaching him so she had to drive him to the mall to get his school supplies with him because he also didn’t have any means by which to pay for said supplies. I was so appalled by this lack of self-sufficiency I had to seek peer counseling. One fellow organizer promised to tell me, when next we meet, what her 28 year old daughter tells her about working with 18 and 19 year olds and what they can’t do. I can’t wait.
Image by Reena Mahtani
Bangkok Art & Culture Centre, Siam Square