Anyone who has ever said that children are innocent by nature hasn’t spent much time with children. They’re not. It’s a completely false statement. Sure they might be a little naive about certain topics, but they certainly aren’t innocent. Since September, I have spent time with over 100 children per day, 5 days a week. I know kids.
I know that I never ever have to teach kids how to misbehave. That concept is just silly to think about. Why would we ever want to teach kids to misbehave? But they DO, despite never being taught. Now you can say it’s a construct of their environment. They witness things around them that corrupts them and makes them bad. Some of the kids I teach witness some very bad things every day. But the kids who are really supported and loved and cherished – I don’t have to teach them to misbehave either.
I have to teach them to be kind. I have to teach them to be accepting. I have to teach them how to be good.
The funny thing is that we adults think we know how to be good already. We’ve already learned all of that stuff. It’s for kids. I already know how to be kind and encouraging and uplifting. But are we? Do we really do a good job of being kind? Do we encourage the people around us?Do we remember what we were taught when we were kids?
A few minutes spent on the internet reading comments and tweets would say no, absolutely not. Something as trite as being accused of “stealing” tweets on the internet turns into slander and death threats. Someone expressing her opinion gets accused of being abusive and demeaning. I could list one thing after another. We have completely disregarded the things we learned as children. We have forgotten. We react and we explode as if we still are five years old. We hurl accusations at each other. We are vicious. We are angry. There isn’t anyone around to tell us when we’re offside, or to ban us from watching TV when we’re bad. So we think we’re allowed to just throw it all out the window. No consequences! Finally we are adults!
But no, sadly, that’s not it. There are consequences that are subtle. When we are vicious, we forget what kindness feels like. When we are violent, we forget what it feels like to be peaceful. When we attack others’ opinions, we forget how wonderfully diverse we were created to be. There are consequences. Many of them. Although subtle, they are dire.
I don’t think we’re beyond saving, though. I think we just need to be reminded of those things we were taught. We need someone to lovingly remind us what it is to be sweet to one another. We need someone to tell us about the things we learned as kids. So here they are, in case you ever need a reminder:
1. Be kind no matter what the other persons says or does to you.
2. Learn something about the people around you.
3. Be a good friend to everyone.
4. Stop picking your nose.