A friend in Melbourne got me thinking about a funny anomaly. How come we judge children so much? For various reasons, children’s behavior gets scrutinized, analyzed, and criticized on a regular basis by adults as well as other kids.
Naturally, not all children experience that kind of judgment. But it seems to me that an overwhelming number do. Think of the things that parents of other children have said about your children. Or consider the comments that frequently get thrown at children by other pupils at school. Fact is, children survive a lot of critical attention that we adults wouldn’t dream of receiving.
Take the person at work starting the day disheveled and stinking of stale beer. Habitually, he goes on weekend benders and, if you saw his house, you’d see both his home and his life are a shambles. But do we openly criticize his state to his face and complain about his failings? Most likely, hushed words are spoken out of earshot. How come? Because we don’t want to be seen to be offend.
Yet consider children. They take criticism from adults at point blank range; as if somehow it’s different. Why is this? It seems to me there’s a sense we have a vested interest in kids that gives us the right to criticize. So when their behavior misses the mark, we feel entitled. Perhaps that’s as it should be. But I get the impression that children also deserve a lot more open encouragement, patience, and love.
Tomorrow is anyone’s guess; except for one wonderful clue: children. Study a child and you are looking at tomorrow in the making. If we want a kinder future, where people act with compassion, courage, and discernment, we need to equip children. To answer a child’s misbehavior with firm but gentle words, and show them respect as the future bearers of our world, takes vision. Vision could be the biggest influence we have on how the world turns out. If we can only see the potential within each child.
Comments are closed.