ASSIGNMENT >> 5. Read “A Child’s Right to Contribute.”


A Child’s Right to Contribute

You have no right to deny your child the right to contribute.

A human being feels able and competent only so long as he is permitted to contribute as much or more than he has contributed to him.

A man can over-contribute and feel secure in an environment. He feels insecure the moment he under-contributes, which is to say, gives less than he receives. If you don’t believe this, recall a time when everyone else brought something to the party but you didn’t. How did you feel?

A human being will revolt against and distrust any source which contributes to him more than he contributes to it. 

Parents, naturally, contribute more to a child than the child contributes back. As soon as the child sees this he becomes unhappy. He seeks to raise his contribution level; failing, he gets angry at the contributing source. He begins to detest his parents. They try to override this revolt by contributing more. The child revolts more. It is a bad dwindling spiral because the end of it is that the child will go into apathy. 

You must let the child contribute to you. You can’t order him to contribute. You can’t command him to mow the grass and then think that is contribution. He has to figure out what his contribution is and then give it. If he hasn’t selected it, it isn’t his, but only more control. 

A baby contributes by trying to make you smile. The baby will show off. A little older he will dance for you, bring you sticks, try to repeat your work motions to help you. If you don’t accept those smiles, those dances, those sticks, those work motions in the spirit they are given, you have begun to interrupt the child’s contribution. Now he will start to get anxious. He will do unthinking and strange things to your possessions in an effort to make them “better” for you. You scold him. That finishes him.

Something else enters in here. And that is data. How can a child possibly know what to contribute to you or his family or home if he hasn’t any idea of the working principles on which it runs? 

A family is a group with the common goal of group survival and advancement. The child not allowed to contribute or failing to understand the goals and working principles of family life is cast adrift from the family. He is shown he is not part of the family because he can’t contribute. So he becomes antifamily—the first step on the road to being antisocial. He spills milk, annoys your guests and yells outside your window in “play.” He’ll even get sick just to make you work. He is shown to be nothing by being shown that he isn’t powerful enough to contribute. 

You can do nothing more than accept the smiles, the dances, the sticks of the very young. But as soon as a child can understand, he should be given the whole story of the family operation. 

What is the source of his allowance? How come there is food? Clothes? A clean house? A car?

Daddy works. He expends hours and brains and brawn and for this he gets money. The money, handed over at a store, buys food. A car is cared for because of money scarcity. A calm house and care of Daddy means Daddy works better and that means food and clothes and cars.

Education is necessary because one earns better after he has learned. 

Play is necessary in order to give a reason for hard work. 

Give him the whole picture. If he’s been revolting, he may keep right on revolting. But he’ll eventually come around

First of all a child needs security. Part of that security is understanding. Part of it is a code of conduct which is invariable. What is against the law today can’t be ignored tomorrow.

You can actually handle a child physically to defend your rights, so long as he owns what he owns and can contribute to you and work for you. 

Adults have rights. He ought to know this. A child has as his goal, growing up. If an adult doesn’t have more rights, why grow up? Who the devil would be an adult these days anyway? 

The child has a duty toward you. He has to be able to take care of you; not an illusion that he is, but actually. And you have to have patience to allow yourself to be cared for sloppily until by sheer experience itself—not by your directions—he learns how to do it well. Care for the child? Nonsense! He’s probably got a better grasp of immediate situations than you have, you beaten-up adult. Only when he’s almost psychotic with aberration will a child be an accident-prone. 

You’re well and enjoy life because you aren’t owned. You couldn’t enjoy life if you were shepherded and owned. You’d revolt. And if your revolt was quenched, you’d turn into a subversive. That’s what you make out of your child when you own, manage and control him. 

Potentially, parent, he’s saner than you are and the world is a lot brighter. His sense of values and reality are sharper. Don’t dull them. And your child will be a fine, tall, successful human being. Own, control, manage and reject and you’ll get the treatment you deserve—subversive revolt.

the worse an individual or situation gets, the more capacity he or it has to get worse. Spiral here refers to a progressive downward movement, marking a relentlessly deteriorating state of affairs, and considered to take the form of a spiral. The term comes from aviation where it is used to describe the phenomenon of a plane descending and spiraling in smaller and smaller circles, as in an accident or feat of expert flying, which if not handled can result in loss of control and a crash.

set aside, discarded or rejected without direction or stability.

hostile to or disruptive of the established social order; of behavior that is harmful to the welfare of people generally; averse to society or companionship; unwilling or unable to associate in a normal or friendly way with other people; antagonistic, hostile or unfriendly toward others; menacing; threatening.

intelligence (brains) and strength (brawn, muscular strength).

to cease being angry, hurt, etc., and return to a better mood.

a departure from rational thought or behavior; irrational thought or conduct. It means basically to err, to make mistakes, or more specifically to have fixed ideas which are not true. The word is also used in its scientific sense. It means departure from a straight line. If a line should go from A to B, then if it is aberrated it would go from A to some other point, to some other point, to some other point, to some other point, to some other point, and finally arrive at B. Taken in this sense, it would also mean the lack of straightness or to see crookedly as, for example, a man sees a horse but thinks he sees an elephant. Aberrated conduct would be wrong conduct, or conduct not supported by reason. Aberration is opposed to sanity, which would be its opposite. From the Latin, aberrare, to wander from; Latin, ab, away, errare, to wander.

subdued or destroyed; overcome.

someone involved in activities intended to undermine or overthrow an authority.

that which appears to be. Reality is fundamentally agreement; the degree of agreement reached by people. What we agree to be real is real.