“Children are not the people of tomorrow, but people today.
They are entitled to be taken seriously.
They have a right to be treated by adults with tenderness and respect, as equals.”
– Janusz Korczak.
I get really upset when I see someone being ill treated. Especially a child.
I am sure most people would agree with this statement, yet we seem to have different codes of conduct in our society for how you treat children and how you treat other adults.
I have a memory of being “told off” by a partner, in public and it was so humiliating and shaming.
If you ever witness this it can be very embarrassing, being privy to other adults arguments and even put-downs of each other. Yet we have little problem with adults doing this to children – in private and in public too. I really feel it when I am in town or at the supermarket, especially when it is busy.
(We are really lucky that we usually do all town jobs during a school day and are home and hosed by 3pm!)
Many adults do seem to think it is OK, or even mandatory to blame, shame, tell off & put down their children , especially in public. You can even buy tee-shirts with put downs on them for your children!! There seems to be an embarrassment in praising your children. So often a parent will, in full view and hearing of their child, blatantly put them down. This can be very awkward as in some circles there is an un-written rule that adults must stick together and you are supposed to agree with them! I have never been one for following rules, written or otherwise….
I am learning not to judge others. I remind myself that everyone is doing the best they can with what they know at the moment, we all are. The best I can do is be a role model.
I use the time we are out in the public domain as a chance to be an advocate for kindness to children. Although I intend to always treat my children with kindness, patience, understanding and love – ie the way I want to be treated, when out and about I make a conscious effort to be even more so!
I try to listen to them, answer them honestly and fully, help them to meet their needs. As best as I can. At that time.
Luckily, and I am so incredibly blessed for this, I am surrounded by wonderful, homeschooling parents who strive for a similar culture in their families. They help me learn by being great role models for me.
And of course, during the day in town, most of the children you see around (especially the library!) are homeschooled, so there are parents answering long and complicated questions & and lugging huge bags of books around. And mostly being respectful to their offspring.
It does make sense to me – if you want your children to grow up as respectful beings, treat them with respect.
If you hope for them to be kind, be kind to them.
Be patient, giving, honest….
“Do unto others” is surely one of the greatest bits of advice.
And my favourite quote, from Gandhi
“Be the change you want to see in the world.”
This I apply to my life on so many levels….
If I had my child to raise all over again,
I’d build self-esteem first, and the house later.
I’d finger-paint more, and point the finger less.
I would do less correcting and more connecting.
I’d take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.
I’d take more hikes and fly more kites.
I’d stop playing serious, and seriously play.
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars.
I’d do more hugging and less tugging.
(I am a sucker for these sort of gentle reminders)