The policy of being too cautious is the greatest risk of all.

~ Jawaharlal Nehru ~

Children Know it’s Not Wahma, it’s “Wahma”!

January 10th, 2012 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 2 secs

Why are children so good at sussing us out?

You can’t fool children. Not really. Sure, you can tell them porkies (That’s Cockney/ Aussie rhyming slang for lies. As in “pork pies” for “lies.” Get it? Never mind.). Children are open to being misled, it’s true. But eventually, their  emotional honesty meter will register the truth. And watch out if it’s lacking!

Aunty Barb, Ruth’s Aunt – a lovely lady who passed away last year – once told us about a conversation with her young grandson. At two or so he was having trouble saying the letter “f”, which meant it came out as “w.” So when he told Great Aunty Barb about what the “wahma” taking his tractor up the road, she joined in, asking, “Well, what did the wahma do?” With fierce insistence, her grandson replied, “It’s not wahma! It’s wahma!”

Anyway, children might not know the ins and outs of life. But they definitely understand real care from fake when they get it. Honestly, adults can be so stupid at times, thinking that children are fools. They’re not. Far from it.

Instead, children are soaking everything up. Whatever you and I say can and will be used against us in accordance with article 16 of the Children’s You Better Give Me What I want Act. Nothing, I repeat, nothing will be missed when a child wants to hear. They know when something matters. So it’s just painful watching people talk about their children in front of them, as if they are not even there.

We might think they are quaint. We might see them as naïve (which they are). But children are intelligent by nature. It’s just that we don’t quite catch it.

Like pets, young children live parallel lives with you. Despite the obvious overlap, their reality is definitely not ours. That’s why they see nothing strange about picking up someone else’s used candy and tasting to see if it’s still okay. Or climbing under the table and tickling your feet whilst you are trying to impress a guest.

Despite being from the same planet, children aren’t really of this world. Theirs is full of possibilities that have no precedent. Strange encounters of the weirdest kind just happen and it’s fun finding them. Not for them the regimented routines of adult life. Brushing teeth is for the birds…well, the toothy kind anyway. For children, life is about experiencing. So it’s no wonder they are black belts at working out what’s going on.

So keep speaking truthfully to children, in ways that they can best interpret. Continue being kind and gentle to them as you do. But don’t shy away from being emotionally honest too. If, from a child’s point of view, you’ve done the wrong thing, be prepared to apologize and laugh at yourself.  Not only will they love you for it, but you’ll feel better too.



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