11 September 2009

Children's work and the Continuum Concept

'I was present at the first moments of one little girl's working life. She was about two years old. I had seen her with the women and girls, playing as they grated manioc into a trough. Now she was taking a piece of manioc from the pile and rubbing it against the grater of a girl near her. The chunk was too big; she dropped it several times trying to draw it across the rough board. An affectionate smile and a smaller piece of manioc came from her neighbour, and her mother, ready for the inevitable impulse to show itself, handed her a tiny grating board of her own. The little girl had seen the women grating as long as she could remember and immediately rubbed the nubbin up and down her board like the others.
She lost interest in less than a minute and ran off, leaving her little grater in the trough and no noticeable inroads on the manioc. No one made her feel her gesture was funny or a 'surprise'; the women did, indeed, expect it sooner or later, as they are all familiar with the fact that children do join in the culture, though their approach and pace are dictated by forces within themselves. That the end result will be social, cooperative and entirely voluntary is not in question.'
Jean Liedloff
The Continuum Concept

May 2009

1 comment:

  1. Just wanted to thank you for turning me on to The Continuum Concept (in a previous post). I am reading it now and loving it! I really admire your lifestyle and that of your son. I am American, living near Leeds and my husband is from Cumbria. We are here on a job assignment and will return to California in March. I really enjoy reading your blog.