Children of the Maya

The children of the Maya came up in two different social classes. Either they were of nobility or they were commoners. Regardless of what social class three things that all children had in common was a symbol of purity, being cross eyed, and social values.

As an infant parents would place an object between their child's eyes to force their child to look at the object for long periods of time. In exchange the child would become permanently cross eyed over time.

The other similarity across the board is that the children would wear symbols to show they were still pure. The boys at the age of five would have a white bead placed in their hair for all to see. The little girls at the same age would be required to wear a red shell signifying their purity. The purity symbolisms would be removed at ceremonies marking the day of each reaching their puberty.

All children were required to have certain values instilled in them. The first was a strong work ethic. They also had to work with the well being of the whole community in mind. Children also had to be able to respect their elders. They were also expected to be held accountable for their actions and have common sense. These were all musts among the Mayan culture.

Now as far as the division between classes goes commoners and nobility were educated differently. The dynamic of a noble child's education varied in that the children were taught by priests. Additionally, these children were taught medicine, writing, math, astronomy, science, and many other subjects.

Commoner children were taught their parents trade skill. This would remain with them the rest of their lives, even if they were not good at it. The only way a child might avoid doing the job of his father was if he was incredibly skilled in the arts. If this was the case he could be picked out and trained in that profession. Yet, this was incredibly rare. The social structure was very rigid. It allowed little to no social mobility. Young ladies would live with their parents until they were married. This typically didn't happen until they were fifteen. The marriages were also arranged. They would learn from a young age how to prepare meals, clean up, and weave materials.

The young men were allowed to venture wherever they pleased, while unmarried. They were known to paint their faces black and live in group housing. Here they would learn how to do crafts, participate in fighting, and enjoy games.

All in all, children whether male or female, noble or commoner learned how to effectively be a part of Maya culture. The role of the woman taking care of home has transcended time as well as the man defending it. Children are still expected to gain a strong work ethic and respect their elders. its an unspoken societal norm. Children still learn from watching parents. The Mayans might have said somethings are better left unchanged if they could see traditions carried on.