Bangladesh Adventures

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Reaction Day Two of Dr. Keith White's class

HCD 502 Chilhood in Cultural Contexts

Tuesday, 19 June 2006

Reaction Paper:

Note on “Children, poverty and social inequality’ by Montgomery and Burr:

Poverty is relative even in a poor country like Bangladesh. Yes, absolute poverty helps in third world countries for people from the West to understand how poor a person is but still everything is relative. Hand in hand, with relative poverty is a person’s outlook on life. Poor people who see the glass half full seem happier than a rich person who sees the glass half empty (my observation over 20 years). In addition, one needs to look at spiritual poverty and what it means in a person’s life.

Note on “Children’s changing lives from 1800 to 2000” by Cunningham:

I liked the picture of the Errand boy at a vegetable market, Oslo, Norway from 1843 (p.93). My wife goes to a vegetable market in Bangladesh at least twice a week and she uses an Errand boy (child khuli) to carry her vegetables while shopping and take them to a rickshaw. She pays the boy, age 7 to 12, 10-20 takas or US$0.15- 0.25 for the help. The boy from Norway would be at home in Bangladesh except for the heat. We don’t think about whether the boy should be working or not- we are just happy for the help and the boy is happy with the money.

Note on “Play and the cultures of childhood” by Barnes and Kebily:

This one strikes a cord with me, especially because my wife and I are bringing up four young boys in a city, Dhaka of 15 million people with no green spaces to play. This is very hard for both my wife and me. She grew up in a village of Bangladesh surrounded by rice fields and could go for a walk anytime she wanted. I grew up in rural Pennsylvania with 100 acres of fields and forest behind my house to explore, romp, and play in. As the article highlights, playing has many different forms and is important to childhood. However, the article did not look at the importance of having space to play in. Our boys play many games, in fact, Friday night is our game night but hey are all inside/board games. In addition, the school they go to does a good job of this- it is a playful atmosphere to learn and celebrate each child’s gifts. However, I’m afraid they are missing the wild side of life the outdoors!

Note on “Natural Setting” by you, Dr. Keith White:

Your article would be a nice addition to the above article on “Play and the cultures of childhood” Your thought, “But when a child interacts with the natural world there can only be growth of seedlings and saplings when a child learn to recognize and respect the unique nature of the bean or fruit that s/he is growing. The child must adapt to the plant’s timescale and needs. And in this seemingly modest process of adaptation lies the potential for human growth and relationships.” This is what I’m talking about that our boys and 10 million children in Dhaka are missing! At my home in the US we did put in a big garden each year now that is gone. I don’t have an answer to the boys not having green grass to play on but I do thing they are missing something of childhood!

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