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Productivity Slaves

by Cassi Clausen

My son is now 9 months old. His days consist of waking up, eating, playing, napping, playing more, eating more, bath and bedtime. He’s not being very productive, is he? Well, at least that’s how many would react if he were, say, 9 years old. And, to be honest, I sometimes feel this way. I don’t think it’s a natural human reaction, but more of a cultural one. We see children playing all day and think, “Shouldn’t they be doing something productive with their day?”

We’re slaves to the concept of “productivity.” I often get to the end of a day and feel guilty that I didn’t get enough done. Hey, I’m a mom. Sometimes it’s an accomplishment that I ate at some point and that my son got his diaper changed at regular intervals, let alone what state the house is in, what writing I got done, if the bills were paid, etc. And, I tell myself this all the time, but that doesn’t alleviate the guilt. We all have felt this way, and are constantly working to do enough to make ourselves feel productive.

I think that’s why adults feel much more comfortable to confine kids to schools. We know that at school, kids must be productive. They must do math problems, read poems, write essays, etc. That’s their “job.” Adults work, kids go to school, animals stay in zoos, criminals stay in prisons. That’s the natural order of things. Everything in its box. Everything is under control and tamed.

And, although I heartily disagree, I have been engendered to react this way. To myself, and even to my 9-month old, who actually is being very productive by taking two blocks and banging them together repeatedly. This will be a reaction I will have to work on in the coming years.

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Posted in: Commentary by SoulRiser on January 28, 2010 @ 3:26 PM

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