I recently read Joe Brainard’s beautiful little book, I Remember. Remembering his childhood, Brainard says, “I remember that life was just as serious then as it is now.”
I think this insight is crucial — the day-to-day life of children has the same high level of seriousness as do the daily encounters and strivings of adults.
The child building a bridge out of wooden blocks is as seriously at work as the cardiologist listening intently through his or her stethoscope to the patient’s heart.
As adults, we often tend to forget how difficult and confounding the world of the child can be, and the energy that it takes to address that world. Brainard’s comment made me think of the wonderful couplet from William Blake:
“Children’s games and old men’s reasons
Are the fruits of different seasons.”
-Mike from Kentucky
Another kind of put-down…
I was surprised several years ago when I attended a seminar on parenting (not court mandated, thank you) and I learned that there are subtle put downs that people do not even think about.
One of these is the comparison put down: “You should be more like those kids in the show. They had it a lot tougher than you and they got their act together.”
Then there is the why put down: “Why did you just do that?”
It is better to teach by example than word and also by encouragement.
-Patrick Ward, Florida