Nathan Notah on Navajo culture and children
When a child is born it is a great celebration of a new life. A child is considered sacred and a great blessing and is treated with great respect from the time that he or she is born. A child is born with intelligence (a bit of new wisdom that if nurtured and brought out can grow throughout his lifetime.) From birth the Navajo people see the child as an individual with his own way of being and doing things in his own time and in his own way and that is deeply respected by the extended family, clan, community and tribe.
Throughout his life time the child can ask for help at any time from any of these people and he has the support and belief and trust that he can be himself and grow and discover things in his own way and make his own decisions.
Every child can grow in his own way-no child is ever given up on - if given time, space and support they can find their own way to grow in a positive way. A child is rarely criticized as he does things in his own way and who is to say that is not the right way. We never yell at our children or hit them. We support them and suggest positive ways through stories. Thus the child grows up in a positive and supportive environment. When a child grows up in this environment as an adult he never criticizes other people or himself or argues with any one else as he does not feel the need or right to. These things are highly valued and very important in our culture. Our children are not competitive as each is given the freedom and support to do things in his own way and one is not better than another. They all help and support each other and there is no reason to be competitive.
So all is in harmony with these qualities, with ones self, with other people, with other cultures, with nature and every other living thing. The child is supported by his parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, grand parents, his clan and the community throughout his lifetime and always has someone nearby that he can talk to or ask for help. They all know the value and have knowledge of the importance of each individual child and are each very involved in his life and growth and can help him at any given moment.
The child is also supported throughout his life by the Gods, and the spirits and it all comes together and is supported by the ceremonies and the child is supported and brought into harmony or a return to harmony through the ceremonies One needs to go down to the ceremonies to fully understand. In all of our prayers and ceremonies there is a Navajo word that gives blessing to all people of the world and all nature, rocks and living things and it is a word that cannot be translated into English. We have great love and respect for our children.
We would like to be a part of the experience of bringing this understanding to the world and help all children of the world.