People say kids are the worst at being mean to one another. And... kids are the focus of anti-bullying propaganda, blamed for suicides, and assured by the older generations how they dont measure up to the ideal.
But... I knew the older generation when THEY were kids... some of them, mean kids. And some of them... are still mean adults.
One of the beautiful things about getting older is that we develop a crystal clear rear view mirror. I can look back at the kids who bullied or made fun of me and see them with great insight. Yes...I was bullied. And it made a massive impact on my life. But I grew up... and so did they.
The kids liked to call out my missteps and hang on to them like a winning lottery ticket. It was political. Eat or be eaten. I can forgive them - the bullies and bullied eventually grow up to face the same world.
In my rear view mirror, however, I also see adults. I'm often befuddled by the actions of adults. And... now that I am one... I still don't understand what was so hard about treating children well? I'm not talking about coddling them... I'm talking about treating them well. Being good role models... being good people.
When I see a troubled kid, I understand that they are struggling. When I see an intellectual kid, I am amazed by their passion for learning. Misfits are so terrificly unique. Timid children all have amazing worlds inside. I see the value in the differences.
Why was it okay for my uncle to constantly call me names as a kid? What made it okay for the preacher who lived on my paper route to tell me "I made him sick to his stomach" because I forgot his paper a couple times? How does a person like my fifth grade teacher keep their job? What could possibly make it okay for ANY adult to put down a child... ever?
And I don't buy the "it was a different time" argument. That's like saying, "Oh thank goodness the 1980's happened or I wouldn't understand how to be a good person." The only grand revelation over time is that of experience. The only acceptable excuse is ignorance of better ways. And the only solution to the non-sense is for adults to get serious - and in some cases, get a clue.
Adults... what worked for you as a kid no longer works in this generation. The world has changed and requires your full engagement in it to understand what kids today face. We created the world that they now have to navigate, yet some adults want no part of that world.
I'm not talking about "parenting." I am not one and don't pretend to know the answers. But... I do know the questions. And I know that what I see in my rear view mirror continues even today... only now, we blame the kids.
Stop blaming kids for a world we created!
Children today WILL someday have a rear view mirror. Remember... objects in the rear view mirror are always closer than they appear. What is your reflection going to look like?
Kids may grow up to understand the actions of other kids. But, it is up to adults - TODAY - to take responsibility for our part in it. Make tomorrow's reflection of today a beautiful one when you can. They will see it clearly someday - either way.
Food for thought. "I have heard it said that we need to leave a better world for our children. Why not try to leave better children for our world." -unknown
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