In theory, we all believe that children are people, but it’s not just a catch phrase, it’s a way of life.
As a society, we do not see our children as people. We assault our babies as soon as they are born, remove a functioning and healthy organ from our newborn boys, leave our babies alone to cry- begging for our breast and embrace, and isolate our toddlers when they have done something that is not to our liking.
The list gets longer and more intense as our children get older.
Childism: a prejudice against children on the ground of a belief that they are property and can (or even should) be controlled, enslaved, or removed to serve adult needs.
Some will be angry that I say this. Mothers will think that I am calling myself perfect, and fathers will think that I am unrealistic in my call to action. Neither of these are true.
Children -no matter how young- are people. They have thoughts, feelings, needs, and ways of expressing these. In theory we all believe this- we would sound like a bunch of jerks if we said we did not. Even more than this though; we parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles all love our children and we want good things for them.
Saying that “Children are People” is not just a catchy tag line, it is a way of life.
We have been led astray and it does not feel good, fair, or just. In the deepest part of ourselves, many of us know that we want things to change. We want less tension, control, disconnection, and artificial limits.
We want our children to flourish in the freedom of making choices while being supported by a family and community who love them, and are involved in their lives. We want them to know that we hear what they are saying, and that we are here to help them navigate the beginnings of life. We want them to enjoy the freedom to live as who they are without fear of being punished for it.
Maybe we do not know where to start.
I have learned that sometimes the best way to get started is to stand up and say “no more”. New doors open, and different resources become available when we say we want to change.
Today I am saying that I want to change. I want to know my children more deeply, and for who they are. I want them to feel free to fail, fall, and flounder. I want them to know that my hand will be here when they need it, and that I love them unconditionally. I cannot just say these things though, I have to show them.
It will be a tough road for me- it will require personal change and a vulnerability that I have never known. I will have to explore and learn lots of new things. I might want to blame others for lacking resources.
The buck stops here though- with me. Children are people. It’s time we believe it.
Want to join me?