It is worth considering, how we perceive and treat our children. Not speaking biologically, but our children as a society. As we become adults- which is typically determined by reaching a certain age- there is an inherited pressure to have all the answers, assume all the responsibility, and definitively separate ourselves from “childish things and behavior”. I would argue we do this to our own detriment. We trade innocence & wonder with stress & hardness.
Why is it that when we become adults and seemingly “mature” to higher heights, we forget about how much we ourselves wanted to be seen, understood and heard as kids by the adult world. From the perspective of a child, adults are disconnected. We humored their ignorance about the reality of our lives, and sat through their lectures and then found ways to still do what we wanted to do. Ultimately, if there was ever a voice that truly wanted to hear what we had to say, and spoke to us with a level of respect, those were the voices we listened to. How do we become “grown ups” and shake our heads at the behavior of the youth instead of relating and understanding it? Yes, the world looks very different from what it was when we were growing up, but the core of the issues remain the same. Why not tap into that uncomfortable awkwardness that we all struggled through as we tried to find ways to cope, relate, identify ourselves, defend ourselves, and find our way in this world? Wouldn’t it have been nice to have a person in your corner who can show you the light at the end of the tunnel? Guide you on certain pivotal decisions and spare you from learning some things the hard way?
Well, we can be that for a younger version of ourselves everyday. The timeless saying “It takes a village to raise a child” is as relevant today as throughout the course of history. This is what our original cultures used to do. Parents are the biggest influences on a child, but it doesn’t stop there. Everyone in a child’s environment has the potential to plant positive (or negative) seeds inside of that child.
What’s even more relevant is that forming positive relationships with our youth is not just beneficial for them, but absolutely for us as well! We need to stay in touch with our youthful self. We don’t grow up and kill the child in us. What happens most frequently is we suppress our inner child. Then what do we do? We spend thousands of dollars on therapists to tell us to “tap into our inner child”. We go to yoga to get into all sorts of positions that we naturally did as kids. Having fun as adults is really just returning to the place where we release our inhibitions. (Some adults use alcohol to return to achieve this end quite regularly.)
The truth is as adults we NEED to stay in tune with our youthfulness and our youth; to help them in areas we wished we had gotten help in and so many other areas as well. And our youth need us. Though they may not appear in some instances to want our involvement, if we are genuine in our aim to really hear and understand them, they have A LOT to say. And we must listen. If we all committed to this end, we would see our whole world change.
I encourage you to start now.