Before the families decided that education was essential, mothers who were not able to hire help kept some children at home to care for infants and toddlers during the hours that they worked in the fields and performed chores outside the homestead. As in other societies in the Third World, children six through 10 were most frequently in charge of younger siblings. Older children could be called upon to do agricultural work and relieve the women of some of their heavy workload. However, once free education was introduced, and once it became obvious to the families that subsistence agriculture and cash cropping on small holdings was no longer viable, that literacy and school diplomas or even university degrees were essential for success in the modern world, most fathers and mothers decided that all children should attend school.
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The contribution of women to a society's smooth transition from preliterate to literate, from a relatively autonomous community to a member of a nation enmeshed in a world economy, has received too little attention from social scientists and policy makers. When the economy and political organization of a society change, families who can adjust to the new conditions will fare the best. Inasmuch as women the world over are the primary caretakers of young children, they play an important role in facilitating or hindering changes in family life.
How difficult is it for families to adjust to these new institutions? There are two major consequences that affect women - the loss of child labor and the need to make changes to help children master new skills. Working in a village in Kenya that is undergoing rapid social change, I have been able to observe the consequences of the introduction of schools and some of the adjustments women have made.
Coping with change is not new to the Bantu women of sub-Saharan Africa. Historians estimate that their forebears set out from the Niger River delta around the beginning of the Christian era and over a period of 2,000 years colonized south and east Africa, reaching Mt. Kenya around 1500 A.D. It was the policy of these colonists to arrange marriages of their women to the local inhabitants of the land they coveted. The women socialized their small children, teaching them the Bantu language and traditions, including agricultural practices. At the same time, however, as wives, the Bantu adjusted to the customs of their husbands.
These matters in any case interest me less than the search for earlier origins of the disease. What are the forgotten or buried events that suggest an ultimate explanation for the evolution of depression and its later flowering into madness? Until the onslaught of my own illness and its dénouement, I never gave much thought to my work in terms of its connection with the subconscious—an area of investigation belonging to literary detectives. But after I had returned to health and was able to reflect on the past in the light of my ordeal, I began to see clearly how depression had clung close to the outer edges of my life for many years. The sovereign protection of alcohol always kept it at bay; I banished fear through self-medication. Suicide has been a persistent theme in my books— three of my major characters killed themselves. In rereading, for the first time in years, sequences from my novels—passages where my heroines have lurched down pathways toward doom—I was stunned to perceive how accurately I had created the landscape of depression in the minds of these young women, describing with what could only be instinct, out of a subconscious already roiled by disturbances of mood, the psychic imbalance that led them to destruction. Thus depression, when it finally came to me, was in fact no stranger, not even a visitor totally unannounced; it had been tapping at my door for decades.
Penitentiaries, asylums, temperance societies, and schools all attempted to change individuals in settings modeled on the middle-class home of the American North.
Since women, due to their "natural" moral superiority, dominated the home, they had a special voice -- if not real political power -- in these reforms.
The educated mothers who spend more time with their children than the fathers are carrying the major responsibility for encouraging the children to study. The women are aware that their comfort in old age depends in large part on the generosity of their children. If their children are equipped to get white collar jobs they will be better able later to care for their parents. It seems that mothers are more aware of the need to change their socialization techniques than the fathers.
Finally, the big change I initiated by quitting a good job and embracing the that all the good things in my life are the results of changes that Essay On Change A Good Thing occurred in the past.
One can be sure that these words have been more than once employed to conjure the ravages of melancholia, but their somber foreboding has often overshadowed the last lines of the best-known part of that poem, with their evocation of hope. To most of those who have experienced it, the horror of depression is so overwhelming as to be quite beyond expression, hence the frustrated sense of inadequacy found in the work of even the greatest artists. But in science and art the search will doubtless go on for a clear representation of its meaning, which sometimes, for those who have known it, is a simulacrum of all the evil of our world: of our everyday discord and chaos, our irrationality, warfare and crime, torture and violence, our impulse toward death and our flight from it held in the intolerable equipoise of history. If our lives had no other configuration but this, we should want, and perhaps deserve, to perish; if depression had no termination, then suicide would, indeed, be the only remedy. But one need not sound the false or inspirational note to stress the truth that depression is not the soul’s annihilation; men and women who have recovered from the disease—and they are countless—bear witness to what is probably its only saving grace: it is conquerable.