Education and ‘Crisis’
delivered by the writer Irene Kamaratou Giallousi, (http://www.kamaratou-giallousi.gr), on 25August, 2013, in the
Polychroniadeio Arkansas Building, in Karpathos (summary).
would like us to examine the impact of the current crisis on the emotions and
behaviour of children.
undoubtedly the principal emotion experienced by individuals young and old
alike. But can we confront a child’s fear by means of adult rationalisation?
When young children wake up frightened because they have dreamt of some
monster, they are not pacified when told that monsters do not exist. We need to
help them discover a child’s way of combating fears. For instance, in an
attempt to deal with the monster, a very young child places candy in his bed,
hoping that the monster will eat the candy and not him. But when the following
morning the candy is still intact, he may think that the monster avoids candy
to protect its teeth, because, if they rot, it will not be able to eat people.
In a subsequent attempt to deal with the monster, the child draws it on a piece
of paper and asks his mother to turn it into a paper-boat. They then walk out
into the garden and set it afloat on a rain puddle. The boat sinks and so does
the monster, so the child is convinced that the monster has disappeared, which
also makes him feel stronger because he was the one to destroy it.
emotion that we need to cope with is anger. We all know that anger should not
be suppressed, so censorship is not advisable. Anger is best prevented. For
example: The child comes home angry because a classmate told him that he was
not wearing designer shoes. ‘Why are you angry?’ his mother tells him, ‘It’s
true they’re not designer shoes. Do you think we should be angry when they tell
us the truth?’ ‘Ok,’ the child replies, ‘but he said the same about my bag,
I’ve had it since the year before last, it’s true, but it’s a posh brand.’ ‘So,
if you know the truth, that your bag is posh, why get angry? After all,
everybody knows that people confer value on objects. Objects cannot confer
value on people.’
we may observe in our child during this time is laziness, which in most cases
has psychological roots. The child may feel that it is pointless to try. He
finds difficulty frightening and easiness boring. The teacher in our example
gives him two poems to choose from to recite at the national holiday. The one
is long the other short. He is afraid of the hard one and bored with the easy
one. In this case, we had better encourage him to learn the short one, but
persuade him to recite it in such a way as to make it exciting. We have to
teach our children to climb steps one by one, enjoying each stage; we need to
show them that satisfaction is not synonymous with the top of the ladder, a top
which may actually appear meaningless at ominous times.
issue we have to tackle is boundaries. With the collapse of ‘constants’ in our
society, the boundaries we had set as a family may have faltered. Boundaries do
not mean oppression, they mean freedom. An example to prove my point is the
following: somebody swims in a sea where a shark is known to be lurking at a
certain distance from the shore. No boundaries have been set so the swimmer is
fearful and while he could venture to 300 metres he restricts
himself to 20.
I suggest a
democratic way of boundary setting. We sit at the table and ask the child what
his daily schedule should be. We ask him to allocate time to study, play and TV
viewing. Our aim is to elicit the proper answers and ratify our contract. We
also ask him to pick a penalty for any infringement of the daily schedule he
parents need to do is be consistent in upholding these boundaries.
crisis may give us the chance to realise that happiness lies within ourselves
and we have to make that clear to our children. Let us see life as a painting
and ourselves as the artists holding the brush. It is up to us to pick
beautiful colours and cheerful shades, always trying to see hardship and error
not as cumbersome disasters but as experiences teaching us how to become better
critical times we may discover the joy of giving, not necessarily money, but
love, a smile, solace and support. It is also our chance to request the same
things of our fellow men, if we need them, but in a dignified way.
undeniable that the crisis breeds strong emotions, which we can express through
art and culture. Let us therefore encourage our children to communicate their
feelings by painting, singing, dancing, writing poetry or organising theatre
may also become a major turning point; a point of reassessing our values. We
will discover, for instance, that ‘cunning characters’ are obtuse,
short-sighted and parasitic. We will find out that we must regard society as a
human body and here is an example illustrating this point. Imagine someone
getting dressed for a hike; he is careful to wear sturdy shoes to protect his
feet from thorny shrubs. Yet, all of a sudden, he decides to let one foot go
unshod. Can this person advance, make headway? The same goes for our society,
it cannot advance if we allow anyone to go barefoot, we should not tolerate
Let us pass
on these messages to our children while they are still young. Let us cultivate
such values in our schools. I believe that this is the safest way to reform our