Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.
- Carl Sandburg
Since this quote ranks right up there with motherhood and milk for babies as a bland head-nodder, let's put it into perspective.
Time is a human creation. Humans are the only creatures on earth that keep track of time and the only ones who care about it. That is, we care that time exists at all.
However, as creators of time, we feel we have it within our control. We have all of today and the rest of our lives. It's endless, so far as the way we treat it. Indeed, mostly the only people who care about the passage of time are those who sense that theirs is nearly over.
So we have plenty of time, until our time is up. But we don't really. That kind of thinking is based on extreme ignorance of the realities of life. It befits primitive humans, not modern ones. Ignorant people, not knowledgeable ones.
What we do today most certainly does affect the rest of our lives. Human bodies are remarkably resiliant, it's true, but abusing them continuously over even a short period of time can result in trouble later. Sunburns, for example, can result in skin cancer two or three decades later, even if we recover fairly quickly from them at the time.
Poor nutritiion works for an amazingly long time without causing us much apparent harm. But in our elderly years the physical grief that long term nutrition deficit causes is quite severe. Grief in old age manifests itself in different ways, depending on the person, but putting it down to plain bad luck is like a gambler putting his poverty down to bad luck after he played to win for so long that his money ran out and he lost his job and his family.
It doesn't end there, our destruction of the future due to our messing around in the present.
Survey parents of twenty-something children about how well prepared they were when their first child was born and a large majority say that they were not well prepared at all. Having been through the process, they are much more knowledgeable about what little kids need and when they need it than they were when their kids were small.
Again let's put this into perspective. The first six years of a child's life are critical to how the child grows and develops, physically, intellecually, socially and emotionally. Their ability to think and solve problems forms during these years more than later. If the right stimuli are not available when little kids need them, they are poor problem solvers as adults. Not only that, they will tend to turn to destructive habits such as addictions because they can't cope with their adult problems they way they should be able to.
So we have inexperienced young adults lacking in knowledge and skills about child development during the early years raising children during their formative years. By the time the adults know, the kids are past the critical stages where the best development patterns could have been in place.
This is not good planning. It may be how it's done more than any other way, but it's not good for kids and it's ultimately not good for the community they live in.
In centuries past when grandparents tended to live with their adult children (or at least nearby), the grandparents provided guidance on child rearing to their children and applied their learned knowledge directly with the young grandchildren. It's now more common for grandparents to see their grandchildren far less. The effects are being felt.
If society changes in one way--call it the megasociety syndrome--then it must also change its ways of raising children. Other than by dumping them into daycare and hoping that someone can do the job right there. We need to have parenting courses for young adults, or even for high school students. New parents now flock to Lamaze classes so they want to do their parenting the best way they can. They want, so we should provide.
We need to give them that opportunity.
Before too much time passes.
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems, striving to put the needs of today into perspective for the future.
Learn more at http://billallin.com