I’m 32. I remember being a kid and wanting to be treated with respect and I wanted to be a part of the adult conversations. I didn’t feel like I was a kid who couldn’t be part of the adult world!
I am reminded of this when I go out in the world with our three year old daughter and I hear some of the bizarre ways that people speak to her. I wonder if most of us forget what it is like to be a kid? Do we forget that we didn’t like mean tricks, or when people tried to fool us or demean us or treat us like we didn’t know anything, or tell us that we were just selfish by nature instead of beautiful beings of light here to enlighten the world? Did we forget that we don’t need to treat children as separate little beings who don’t know anything!! That is exactly what we didn’t appreciate as little ones!
Here are some examples of what people have said to our daughter:
-“Oh that’s a nice hat, can I have it? Can you give it to me so I can take it home?”
-“That’s a great teddy, I’m going to take it home with me, okay?”
-“You’d better be good while you are in here, you’d better be good,” (she was relaxing beautifully in a kid’s chair in a spa, and she had just told me she was feeling as light as a star!)
Here is how our daughter has responded, in the same order:
“I don’t like it when you talk to me like that.”
I was and am SOOOO PROUD of her. Not to make this about me though. She is teaching the world about how to talk to kids each time she does that, she is saying, “hey, respect please, don’t fool me and get me to give you my things, and don’t manipulate me and tell me how to act in a spa when I am a paying customer and am quietly enjoying myself! How about you have a conversation with me because I am capable of that, despite my young age.” In fact, an older gentleman so appreciated speaking to her one day when we were in line at the cash, that he bought her a chocolate bar, and she had just turned 3 a week before that! I wrote about it in an older post, “Taking Candy From a Stranger.”
She is so inspiring! She is helping me to see that I don’t need to fear speaking up for myself, that I don’t need to fear what may happen if she speaks up for herself and that I don’t need to worry about what people think of her or me. Enough is enough, as she often says. Let’s honor the children! We were once children! Let’s remember the truth of ourselves as people!
Thank you to Zara, our three our old beauty, our teacher and inspiration.