I’m writing a series of blog posts exploring the books “How to be free” and “The Idle Parent” written by Tom Hodgkinson. I enjoyed a lot of the ideas expressed in these books, and think that exploring them further will help me to explore further the principles behind my own way of living and parenting.
In the old days there was a collective approach to life. There was an emphasis on charity and hospitality. The ideas of collective ownership and the common good now seem revolutionary. We’ve gone from “love thy neighbour” to “keeping up with the Joneses” and “you’re on your own”. In some societies you still see evidence of group fun – sitting together chatting outside your shop, playing in large groups, travelling in one big group, not the isolated tube journey that so many suffer today, shrinking even from a friendly “hello” in case they get drawn into conversation… heaven forbid!
Isolation is a relatively new (a few hundred years) phenomenon, and not a welcome one. We stay in our own houses, with our burglar alarms, we don’t even know our neighbours, much less share with them. Where is our camaraderie? Life is easier when it is shared.
Embrace community, get together with neighbours and friends, put on parties and start clubs.
Sometimes this is hard to put into practice whatever your intentions. You can invite people to “pop round any time”, but they don’t, and you feel a little awkward doing it to them, just in case you are intruding and they don’t really want you there, or they are busy or just unsociable. I want to have a home where the children are in and out, sharing toys with other children, playing out. Where my friends pop around for a cup of tea and I do the same. Not so easy sometimes, as it involves having the trust that this is welcome.