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  Balinese Children

THE Balinese have a love affair with kids. Having come recently from the other world, a baby is looked upon as a god. The smaller the child, the closer s/he is to heaven. At home a child is seldom disciplined, but rather cajoled into obedience as an equal.

A child is given responsibilities, which contribute to self-sufficiency and maturity. Children are never beaten: it's believed such treatment will damage or drive the soul from the body.

Rarely are Balinese infants left alone, nor are they allowed to cry. If you're pushing a crying child in a stroller down the street, Balinese will stop you to inform you your child is crying, and you'll be expected to do something about it immediately.

Balinese children always seem happy, though calm. They have an innate gentility, and are quite well behaved. In the most frenetic village festivals seldom do you hear a child cry, or see children squabble, fight, or throw tantrums.

Nothing is hidden from children; they listen attentively to adult conversations. A boy, especially the first son, usually takes up the trade of his father, whether it be caring for cattle or running a souvenir or electronics shops. There's lots of pressure on boys and men to make money.

Daughters are very important to the family-for ceremonies, cleaning house, for carrying offerings. Small girls learn from their mothers how to make offerings, weave, cook, and thresh rice, and never question their many religious duties.

White and gray uniforms are worn by high school students, white and dark blue by secondary school students, white and red by those in primary school.

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