By Joseph Featherstone
As an educator and journalist who has been heavily looking at colleges for greater than 3 a long time, Joseph Featherstone is a strong voice within the fight for greater education in our state. This much-needed and fantastically written assortment testifies to the significance of respecting kid's minds, instructing all childrens, the craft of training, and democratic values.
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Extra resources for Dear Josie: Witnessing the Hopes and Failures of Democratic Education
Yet in Locke’s terms, it is plain that he is also seeking to expand the role of the father now that childhood has become, so to speak, a policy matter. Locke is promoting a new role for Rousseau and Modernity 13 fathers, a middle-class version of patriarchy in which authority is ultimately rational. And he is anticipating the 19th-century middle-class family style Freud was to interpret in terms of the myth of Oedipus. From today’s perspective it is less the directly sexual character of the Oedipal problem that looks interesting and more the general question of power and authority: Locke is describing a mode of child-rearing that puts great stock in an internalized father.
Giving more support to families is not going to end the grief of children and parents. More generous family policy would do only what any public action can do. It can help parents and children meet the inevitable tragedies of life with more dignity and less needless pain. This is not the millennium, but then family life is not a millennial sort of thing. There is another side to this matter of poetry, and it bears on what kind of family scholarship we might look for over the next few years. I’ve touched on a number of reasons why the topic of the family has peculiar political resonance, but the resonance is not only political.
Rousseau’s pastorale, and those that have succeeded it, like Friedrich Froebel’s nineteenth-century daydream of children’s harmonious development, reveal some of the deepest weaknesses in this line of thought. No real childhood can ever be an idyll. Today the heirs of Rousseau’s foolishness are the sentimentalists and pop Freudians who have taken Freud’s dark picture of development—his secular version of the sinful, tormented souls of religious tradition—and converted it into the simple idea that children can be made happy by an absence of restraint.