There was a time in your ancestry, either within living memory or well beyond depending on your particular lineage, when a child was raised not to be all that she could be, but to serve life.
Raising a child like that takes a lot of cultural savvy. The songs, the stories, the games, the rituals, the traditions, values or ceremonies all foster an understanding of what this service entails. The watershed moment comes at adolescence, when the initiators pull childhood from under the child’s feet, to make room for the adult to emerge, ready to serve.
All this, and a lot more, is to make humans who know how to obey life as a part of life, a welcome if troublesome sidekick, not the main act. A human like that doesn’t emerge on her own. She has to be made by those who know what is required of a human in a world that wasn’t made for us alone.
Here there is little requirement for a child to develop autonomy, mastery, control, efficiency or individuality. These self-serving qualities, when left untempered or glorified, are anathema to life itself. They rupture the relationships on which the child, the parents, and the fabric of the community depends. They also endanger the web of natural relations on which the village depends.
Cultures that still know how to make humans, and remember why they must be made, gather around the shared task of fostering qualities that affirm the demands of life itself. You’ll find that in these communities, to the extent that they still remain intact, quite a few characteristics occur again and again from one earth-based lineage to another.
Here parents are intent on preserving their child’s love of life, their sense of awe and excitement. Children are taught to be respectful, generous, thankful, humble, attentive, helpful. And they come of age in a community which through its actions, models these qualities day-by-day, from one generation to the next.