Thursday, May 31, 2012

Kids are People Too

"These persons have wishes for their children in Balaam's fashion - they would like them to die the death of a righteous man, but they do nothing to make them live his life." 
                                                      ~ from "The Duties of Parents" by Rev. John C Ryle


Have you ever demeaned children in your mind?  You might think,

"They're just kids, they don't care if 
                           .... their toys are broken 
                                                  .... their food is cold 
                                                                  .... their gifts are trinkets and twaddle
                                                                                               ....I forget my promise to them."  

And sometimes children don't seem to care.  They don't want their hair combed or their clothes to match, and they do want that candy and Sponge Bob book.  Sometimes they don't know what is good for them as a person.  But they notice when we treat them as less of a person because they are not an adult, and they know that it makes us small in character though they may not say a word about it.

Children as persons deserve to have a full life.  They are worthy of that life now as a child and don't need to wait to enjoy and experience life once they're older.  I used to have a hard time with this concept.  I didn't want to spend the money and time on activities like gymnastics or ballet if my child wasn't going to be a star gymnast or ballerina.  Practicality stood in my way.  I shared my opinion with a friend who told me she absolutely thought children could do these activities simply for the joy of them ~ not just as a means to an end.  She told of a family she knew who did spend their life and money on their children's gymnastics so that they could be star gymnasts, and it was very much a chore for the family.

Those fun experiences are a part of the child and will often be used to some degree throughout their life.  I was in children's choirs as a kid.  I'm not a great singer or actor; I do not like being on stage.  But I loved children's choir.  There are so many good memories and friendships from that experience.  And now as an adult I have some memorable songs to sing to my children at night.  There are also a couple of trite songs that have a good tune, but I can't bear to sing them because they are so unworthy of my children.  The quality of your children's full life is also important.

 To respect your child as person ~

                 ~Do not speak down to them or demean them.  Do not ignore them. 
                 ~Converse with them and respect their thoughts.  They often are very insightful.
                 ~Give them real tools and things to work and play with.  Kids prefer a real broom to a
                    toy one.
                 ~Read intelligent literature to them, not twaddle.
                 ~Use your normal vocabulary and explain big words when asked.

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