Here is the definition of the word 'symbiosis', from the Encyclopedia Britannica online edition: "Any of several living arrangements between members of two different species, including commensalism, mutualism, and parasitism. The species involved are called symbionts. In commensalism, one species (the commensal) obtains nutrients, shelter, support, or locomotion from the host species, which is substantially unaffected (e.g., remoras obtain locomotion and food from sharks). In mutualism, both species benefit. Many mutualistic relationships are obligative; neither species can live without the other (e.g., protozoans in the gut of termites digest the wood ingested by the termites)."
I offer this arcane piece if knowledge because I think we often forget how closely we are all connected and how alike we really are--biologically, socially, emotionally, and politically (gasp!). Recent events have hurled this idea to the fore, in my opinion. There is no getting around it--we need each other and we need to work together, on little and big things, because it makes our world a better place to live in and raise our children. And there it is, the subject that has always been simmering on my back burners: raising and educating our children.
Raising and educating our children is now on my front burner at a boil, most of the time. If you think for one minute that we are not ALL raising and educating all the children, then you are sorely mistaken and will probably suffer terrible disappointment and discomfort in the very near future. I have observed, over time and in many varying venues, that lots of people believe that children are an unnecessary annoyance and hindrance to their way of life. You know what I am talking about, those remarks you read on travel sites referencing the horrid children that should not be allowed on airplanes (hey guess what, there are no more half fares for kids, their seats cost as much as all the others), or the scowling disapprovers in restaurants or museums, OR the letters to the editor complaining about paying taxes for public education.
Really? Do people not understand the connection between children and adults? As much as us parents would like to ignore the fact, our children will very shortly become adults, regardless of our attempts to keep them young and innocent as long as we possibly can. In fact, I can guarantee that those same children, who cried a little too loudly on the plane or in the museum hall and offended the delicate adult sensibilities of the unencumbered, will definitely become virtually indistinguishable from other adults by the time they turn 18, give or take a few years. You will harldy be able to remember that the obnoxious guy who cut you off on the 605 on-ramp was actually a child just a few short years ago. But that guy was probably not shown courteous consideration for his difficulties at one point or another in his childhood and so now could care less about yours or mine. He probably did not have access to a drivers training course in high school either.
You may think I stretch the connection, but I assure you that there is a direct relationship to how adults behave and how we treat and consider the children of our society. It is called symbiosis, and it is both biological and psychological. We are the hosts for the children of our society as they grow and mature into adults. The kind of nurturing and education our children receive will directly affect how they behave as adults. Much to the chagrin of some disgruntled adults, if we stop having children, we very soon stop having society, or at least new barristas to serve our lattes. Yes, there are emotional and psychological anomolies that we cannot control, but the vast majority of children demonstrate the behaviors that they have been taught. And then they become adults who reflect what they learned as children. See? It is all very logical.
Thus, as we roll into the final days of this election cycle (that has seemed to go on forever!) it behooves us to remember that the way we vote on important issues that affect children will have a direct impact on our lives. I am no psychologist, I am just an adult who was shown kindness and caring as a child, who was taken to museums and fine restaurants (on special occasions) and was exposed to all kinds of people from different backgrounds. I was given educational opportunities to explore music and art, and some adults in my childhood modeled a desire for lifelong learning. This did not happen because I was child of privilege, definitely not. But I was shown that if I treat people with courtesy and respect and open my mind to the world, that I can receive in return a lot of good stuff--knowledge, satisfaction, gratitude, happiness and emotional growth. Don't we want that for all children...and adults?
I say we have to strive for that or else we will very soon be living in a society full of under-educated adults who behave badly and do not contribute to society in a positive way. I have said this so many times, but I will continue to say it because I know it to be true: If we do not provide for enriching educational experiences for all children, then we do contribute to the decline of our society, and we have none to blame but ourselves. The choice is happening right now. We can change the direction we are going, we can vote for education, we can all join our voices to the debate and make sure that things are done well, or we can sit back and watch it fall apart. And the next time an adult cuts you off on the freeway or rips you off or does something stupid, remember that he or she was once a child who could have been taught differently.
I urge you to vote your conscience for children, because they are citizens of our country but they do not have a political voice. Even though you may think unions and government have misused funds or mismanaged institutions, we cannot afford to stop funding education. Put pressure on your representatives to vote for better management and fiscal responsibility, but do not deny our children the education that they deserve and that makes our society a better place.
Vote 'Yes' on Prop. 30.
Vote 'Yes' on Prop. 38.