The King and I is one of the best musicals of all time. One of the most iconic versions of this musical exists on DVD staring Deborah Karr and Yul Brynner. The setting of this musical is Siam (now known as Thailand) in the late 1860’s. The overall storyline involves a forward thinking king who wants to ensure the progress of his country. The king hires a teacher to teach his many children and wives. To say that conflicts developed within this employee employer relationship, friendship would be putting mildly.
One of the conflicts between the king and the teacher persistent throughout the musical is the practice of kowtowing, which the teacher finds offensive. While the king obviously embraced progressive thinking and education, it was also very apparent he was very resistant to, and failed to be open-minded to a more contemporary approach to certain customs and practices. Yet it was progressive thinking and education, two of the very principles the king embraced, that would eventually lead to the discontinuance of kowtowing by the king’s oldest son; the heir to the throne.
How many times have you engaged in conversation with another person who proclaimed their authority on a matter based on what their mother or father told them? When individuals are taught what to think it is called indoctrination. When individuals are taught to learn and to think it is called education. There are countless ways parents and other adults indoctrinate children with fantasies, untruths, and myths to the extent such indoctrination can and often does create challenges with certain realities well into adulthood for so many children.
What values, beliefs, and practices have you been taught as a child that may be worth rethinking?