“You First Learn to Start the Fire”: Girls’ Chores on Lamotrek
“A fairly common view of development is that our personalities are fixed during childhood. Research does not generally bear this out, as indicated by considerable plasticity in development even at very young ages (Brim and Kagan 1980), between adolescence and adulthood (McFarlane 1964) and into old age (Fiske and Chiriboga 1990)” (Holmes & Holmes 1995: 474). On Lamotrek, the skills a person has are seen as being developed fairly early during childhood. Subsistence activities make up a good part of the local identity and people speak of them as yengaangil faliuyei (the work of my island). Children are supposed to learn the daily chores by observing adults and only specialised knowledge is taught within the framework of extra training.
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