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  • Writer's pictureLiana Guegan

Barefoot & Wild: Creating the Change

Updated: Jan 25, 2018

When I sit and deeply listen to the sacred valleys and ancient mountains that surround our village homes, I know so very clearly that contemporary children can be home grown without normalised violence or addiction in their lives.

When my baby boy was birthed into the love of our family home, his very own Nest, nurtured by the wisdoms of our skilled midwives and caring birth supports, I knew this child would grow in a world free of violence, and Earth connected.

For about three years, I nourished him with mama’s milk, fed him from Earthy gardens of lovingly grown organics, kept his world toxic free, nurtured his planet with conscious living and kept his life free from violence. Then things changed. At this tender age, society deemed it appropriate to introduce, albeit low level, hero worship and reward punishment. There in the books, and films, and games of under 5’s was the first hints of ‘The War on Terrorism’. It was OK to kill or hurt the baddie baddies. As this boy child grew, so did the levels of violence, and at times it was so normalised there seemed no escape from it. By 10, his first part-time school experience added addiction to the violence. Everyone at school had screens, and everyone played violent computer games. This 10 year old began following me around the house with explicit descriptions about who had killed who, and pleading for just another 10 minutes of gaming. My heart was breaking, and I had failed.

Both Cadden (2009) and Grille (2005) argue that childhood influences and circumstance shape the world we live in. Cadden (2009:18) writes that ‘by age 7, in the U.S., children have witnessed over one million murders on television, film and video’. Though this figure varies, there is certainly growing concerns about the impact of perceived ‘harmless’ violence on children as the following shows:

Kids are becoming increasingly attracted to violence and numb to its consequences. They build up an immunity to violence and therefore need higher levels of violence as “booster shots.” Since violence is actually unnatural for children, video games make it fun for them, which gradually conditions the child to believe that violence is natural. Colonel Grossman dubs this as AVIDS – acquired violence immune deficiency syndrome. As violence goes on to desensitize children, they perceive violence as “cool.” At a very young age, children learn to associate violence with pleasure and excitement, a dangerous association for a civilized society. As the desensitization process continues, parents should be aware of disturbing words, such as “It’s just a game,” or the most concerning, “It doesn’t bother me.” It should bother them.

Concomitant to the contemporary desensitisation and normalisation of violence for children is socially engineered addiction. A recent article in The Guardian, claims social media was intentionally designed to addict: ‘Facebook’s founders knew they were creating something addictive that exploited “a vulnerability in human psychology” from the outset, according to the company’s founding president Sean Parker’. At grassroot level it seems parents are indeed struggling with screen addiction. A friend working with children at risk recently told me that device use among young teenage boys is concerning, especially their dependence on gaming. Arne Rubenstein calls this ‘techno-saturation’. In an interview with Dumbo Feather he states, ‘[e]very parent I speak with tells me they’re fighting a war against technology and losing’ (

My 10 year old is now 15. As we problem solved our way out of those school yard influences and switched off the addiction, our bilingual speaking preteen re-entered his real self and we again had a child who could engage on multiply levels in diverse conversations and situations. Phew! ...until that is, the insidious world of violence and addiction tracked us down once again, this time with a splashing of pornography. Suddenly, I had a child again asking to link up with the world of violent gaming just so he didn’t feel socially isolated. He was a teen on the fringe, and without the language.

Cadden (2009:20) writes,

As each year our children are subjected to more diagnoses with medications; taught more "standardization", militarism, classification, racism, and materialism; exposed to more and more violence that actually threatens their lives, I am deeply curious why we are waiting for the system to change when we have all that we need to create the change we wish to see.

I’m with Cadden (2009). And I’m not doing anymore waiting.

When I sit and deeply listen to the sacred valleys and ancient mountains that surround our village homes, I know so very clearly that contemporary children can be home grown without normalised violence or addiction in their lives. We CAN raise children without it. And we CAN raise children plugged into their life sustaining planetary system, to real life. In fact, some studies are indicating that we must. The contemporary phenomenon of Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD) is just one outcome when we don’t. Richard Louv writes:

The future will belong to the nature-smart — those individuals, families, businesses, and political leaders who develop a deeper understanding of the transformative power of the natural world and who balance the virtual with the real. The more high-tech we become, the more nature we need.

EarthyNest: Barefoot and Wild was birthed beneath the gaze of Tassie’s iconic Cradle Mountain in the EarthyNest of our valley home. It unfolded to invite a tribe of teens and their families into our lives who know, as we do, that we can do better, and that Earthy cyber safety opens up a plethora of rich and diverse alternatives to grow our children in. Our Tassie fields and Sunda gardens have been flung open to welcome you in to share our world. We would love to hear from you.

Cadden, Catherine. Peaceable Revolution Through Education, Baba Tree, USA 2009.

Grille, Robin. Parenting for a Peaceful World, Longueville Media, Australia, May 2005.

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