Why a Wildflower Childhood?
I was originally inspired to write this blog when I read an article about a book entitled To Train Up A Child.
I won’t go into details here, but the book argues that it is an excellent idea to hit your children, excusing this as discipline and at one point describing in glowing terms an occasion on which the authors daughter, on hearing a crying baby, observed: “If he’s old enough to make that noise he’s old enough for a switching”.
Unsurprisingly this made me feel quite sick.
Coincidentally, on the same day that I read this we had gone out to a garden centre, while there our daughter, then maybe one year old, began to fuss and to cry.
At first we thought she was just overtired and overexcited: I took her out of the garden centre and sat with her, but instead of calming down she got worse, refusing to even try to calm down.
Her hysteria continued all the way home.
When we got indoors I tried to sit her down and talk to her: still no good.
I began stripping off her outdoor clothes and, yikes, underneath it her skin was covered in fierce, red, hives.
Something in that garden centre, maybe a plant or an insect bite, had caused a painful allergic reaction in our little girl.
Now imagine for a second that I had read To Train Up A Child and, moreover, had accepted its “teachings”.
When she started to fuss in the garden centre, she’d have got a quick smack or two across the hand.
When that didn't work she’d have been taken out of the garden centre: for a switching with a length of plumbing line.
At some point, presumably, the clothes would have come off, revealing the raw skin beneath, but by then I’d have compounded the damage, adding more red marks of my own, answering my infant daughter’s pain with more pain, her need with selfish anger.
As it happens, once we’d stripped off her clothes she scampered off to play in the garden, stark naked, the cool air soothing her ravaged skin, but it left me thinking: I’d rather have my children wild than train them up.
So that’s where the title came from: I originally wanted to call the blog Raising Wild Flowers, but it seems everyone who’s ever written a blog has called it Raising Wild Flowers so I settled for Wildflower Childhood: not trained up, not hothoused, just kids, simple, wild and free.