The San Bushmen, our oldest ancestors, value equality and generosity.
When a young hunter returns to the village with prey, he might be proud of his skills and magnaminity.
He should know better. The elders immediately tease him. They laugh at the size of his catch. And they poke loving fun until they’ve mellowed his pride.The bushmen call it insulting the meat.
To tease means to comb or pull apart. When done with compassion, it’s an act of refinement. It removes the coarse bits of human nature to reveal the finer fabric beneath.
Compassionate teasing is educational. It socializes a child, and helps him understand how to conform to family values.
The Sámi of northern Sweden call it nárrideapmi. The word means both teasing and a jocular form of togetherness. It teaches children self-control.
Teasing builds emotional resilience, but never shames or ridicules. It’s light-hearted, measured and purposeful.