What does Punch think? For many years, children found it nice to have wooden-head think for them. They felt if he smiled or wept, if his approach toward a solution was circular or straighforward. Children felt empathy alongside him on stage – for bank robbers, crocodiles, sailors, market-women.
The man who currently pulls the puppet strings, Klaus Marschall, recently described in a radio interview with simple word how our children have changed due to cultural change: “For many children, it is no longer possible to follow the figure with their hearts as they used to do in former times. They immediately have to process everything externally.”
We have come to a stage where our children are supplied with and drowned in non-communicative games and toys.
Flooding the market by immense amounts of products, the media (face book, video games, email, sms, tv, radio, …) also contribute to quite some extent – greedy for money, full of words –, caused the new child‘s epidemic ADHS, accompanied by the new pharmaceutical chance “learning drug“. In the USA, they 40% of all students are now dependent on them, in the FRG, the number of presciptions also continually rises.
On screen, the connections between floods of stimuli happens at such a high speed that the children can not follow them up in their linguistic fantasy. Thus, said fantasy cannot flowrish. The plush toy armada has the same effect. Gifted children may still be able to name them, but they can no longer supply them with identities like dolls in order to gain inner life through role-playing.
At school, you can actually see at first hand how the attack on our children is a success. Students are mostly no longer capable of an inner dialogue – which is absolutely necessary for the learning process. A question or answer given by a fellow student can no longer be put in perspective with the learner’s own environment. Our children lack the chance to practice the inner dialogue and the empathic dimension of understanding their classmates.
So what can we do?
In order to lead the children towards the experience of concentration during lessons at every opportunity, I introduced mental mathematics training in my classes. Mathematical concepts, per se, include the activity of thinking. Both the proponent and the opponent interact communicatively, while the student acts as the critical keeper of the truth of the statements in this dialogue. For one or several moments, the world around them can become irrelevant. Good-bye social media and social life in favour of a few moments of contemplation during lessons. Well, this is something a young person must be allowed to experience.
What can we adults do in order not to let the Christmas flood of stimuly turn into a successful attack against our children? Just look at the children made up for advertising and ask your own intuition whether what you see is just a child in an intimate situation. In fact, what we see is more the intoxication of a child divested of itself and extroverted gestures of a productive pseudo youngster carrying a consumer’s role as written down in the script.
Why don’t we all counter this at Christmas? Let us reduce media and presents. Let us reduce everything around our children that can be bought and contribute towards more rubbish in the child’s bedroom. Let us take out the speed in many things and then give the time we won to our child for a simple but intense inner experience.
In order to prevent wood-head Punch (Kasperl) from forgetting how to think and feel.
(Translated by EG)