Prior to school has essential merit. Essential. Yet we may dismiss those who appear to stay in it predominantly. "I don't suffer fools" is the phrase. You moron. Retard. Ignoramus.
First lessons are crucial. In most models of mankind they appear as the survival level, equating historically with man at his most primitive, most likely to be mostly self-serving, entirely dependent on getting his immediate needs met. At any age we may observe in ourselves such continuity. I would needs disturb a whole Opera audience were there a sudden alarm in my bowels. But sophistication has me thinking ahead about how long the flight from Denver to Vancouver will take; how long the lecture; how long the drive; how long the opera. And my developed inhibitors will help me when my utter selfishness desires the biggest slice of the cheesecake. The sheer randomness of life provides test upon test for the mastery of pre-school. Beyond potty training there is the awareness of others to take into account. And consideration of others, ideally, is the lesson we may learn that stops us from fiddling with ourselves in public, not shame. Inhibitors are not necessarily about shame; they become variously exercised implicitly or explicitly in consciousness or consideration of our effect. But while we are in the initial stages of life we by birthright are naturally uninhibited, unashamed, unaware that we make demands on others or are primarily dependent on our survival needs. We just want what we want.
Before school provides the foundation of attachment. We learn what we like, whom we feel good about, to whom we are primarily affiliated, and we learn the essential concept of ourselves as a recognizable name. My label is Richard, son, kid, or worse, Back-Seat-Brat. The one I might perceive as delivered with love, the others with shame. And were I now still mostly to remain in those moments of utter selfishness as to NEED my food at a certain temperature, my voice heard, my contentions un-argued, or my garbage-bin foraging, my stealing from another with no real consideration as to how it may affect others, I'd be given some grade for my pre-schooling by the Gods. Week one; month two; adaptation three; almost ready for Kindergarten; ahead of his time! And so we see our comparisons to others. We begin to take ownership in becoming ourselves. We may feel a sense of inadequacy that dearest Penelope always appears better, or take on a sense of pride that we are faster, stronger, brighter, louder. Or worse, if we alone are to survive amongst the thousands of tests ahead of us, we might just decide not to give a damn. Does it matter if I leave my family, betray my loved ones, don't bother with my education, don't try for financial independence (let alone a contribution to society), don't care about my addiction, don't think of my effect upon others, poo in my pants? In those first stages of preschool my ego is not yet developed to handle the sophistication of the consequences of being in Kindergarten. And that's why, generally, I must wait until I am four or five years old, chronologically speaking, before I may be given 'accountable' grades by a teacher, who will (until I one day am truly able to comprehend where she too may be coming from) affect my sense of me for the rest of my life. "He is not as clever as he thinks he is," she actually wrote. In Kindergarten we receive our stars by comparisons, or not. We find that we're favored, or over-looked, or even not liked. We get more often to think about the consequences of our actions. Easier to stay in preschool?
If only one did not have to read so much! To work so hard. To be tested. To care. Can't we just stop the lessons already? Huh?