Unleash your child

Don’t you hate it when you see parents toting their children through a park while tethering them to a leash?  At least I do.

Did you know there’s a good chance that you are doing the same thing?  Yes, the same thing.  Except the leash is inside you, and that child is your inner child.

Yesterday I wrote about how kids can ask the funniest questions about our world.  Why this, and how come that.  You were once that same child.

There’s a good chance that you were also treated like other children, told to wait, told to never mind, and told that it was just the way it was.  There’s another good chance that you hid your inner optimism, curiosity, and enthusiasm from your parts all the way till you went away to college.  There you allowed it to express itself again in new ways.

You probably took courses like English, or Psychology, or even Philosophy, in an attempt to get a better understanding about our world; your world; yourself.

It didn’t work, did it?

Faced with the pressures of family, reality, economy, and survival, you have grown the way almost everyone else has grown – into a common sense individual who no longer asks silly questions.

But that child is still a part of you.  Look inside.  Don’t you still wonder where sneezes come from?  Why we sleep?  Why baby bunnies are so cute?  Why their tails are white and round?  Or why their poop is so tiny, round, and black?

Let your child out.  Ask questions.  It’s the only way we’re going to get out of this mess.

 

 

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Listen to the Children

Don’t kids say the darndest things?  Sometimes it makes us laugh so much.

Funny thing about laughing.  It usually wipes our minds clean of what other meaning there may have been underlying their innocent statements.

The questions that children ask about the world usually come about after they have thought deeply about a subject.  The entire universe is new to them, and like all young, they want to understand it to survive and succeed.  So they ask us, their mentoring adults, for advice.

When they ask a question it usually reveals what their underlying thinking is about that subject.  We can tease out how the world works inside their heads.  We can figure out where their logic is going wrong, or if they are getting the wrong impression about an object or subject.

We can also use those questions as an opportunity to lead them, guide them, entice them into a greater world of learning and wonder.  We can use it as an opportunity to help them grow and improve.

Sadly, I overhear many parents doing exactly the opposite to their children.  “Don’t ask me that,” they say.  “Just because,” they say.  Or worse yet, “because I say so” they say.  The child knows they were wrong, but is no wiser.  And the worst part is that whatever curiosity and energy they may have had to delve into the subject more deeply has been thwarted.  The children turn away from their parts and the world around them and instead play with their video games.

Know any children?  Try encouraging them – by listening.  They might surprise you.

 

Tim Armstrong, pick on someone your own size!

Armstrong tried to wrest a few more dollars out of his workforce the other day by making some excuses.

The big excuse (and his big mistake) was picking on a few babies.  One of the babies was born premature, weighing about 1 pound and delivered after only 5 months of pregnancy.  The bill that AOL got was about 1 million dollars.

I don’t blame Tim for yelling about the bill.  That’s outrageous.  But what’s even more outrageous to me is that he BLAMED THE BABIES!

They didn’t have anything to do with it Tim!  Why don’t you pick on the insurance company, or the hospital, or whoever else is actually billing you that outrageous amount???

What is it with today’s egoistic megalomaniac leaders?  They find it easier to pick on those without voices, and leave the true culprits alone.

Help me with this one.  I’m ready to retire… to the moon.

 

Selling our Childhood to the highest bidder

Is it only me?  Or does anyone else out there get the sense that childhood, in general, is being coopted by corporate capitalists?

Not being big on the whole sit and watch TV for hours on end crowd, I only catch up on the popular shows when our daughter insists on watching something she knows we’ll like.  She does know us, and she does have great taste.

So we’re watching the chef known for swearing, Gordon someone, managing a reality – elimination show with kids.  The children are cooking at a professional level, and that, I confess, was very exciting.  These kids were amazing, and the foods they prepared were all scrumptious.  The kids weren’t the problem.

The problem was that the three professional chefs running the contest were being very nice, well behaved, and treating the kids politely.  But in the end, they were teaching the kids to be extremely competitive, to fear elimination for trying something extraordinary, and worst of all, teaching them how to try and eliminate each other.  The most hurtful moment for me was when Chef Gordon sits with a little girl in the balcony, asking her about her strategy, and she confesses that she keeps her friends close, but her enemies closer.

I’m not faulting Chef Gordon.  Chances are he really is a nice guy and the whole swearing thing is an act.  He may actually be a decent chef.  But he’s part of an industry that uses childhood as a resource, a resource that he is able to turn into money.  Yes, the winner got $100,000, but Chef Gordon probably earns a million from the show.  And each child, even the winner, has been subjected to forces they would otherwise have been protected from.  Do we know if those forces make them better people in the long run?

Forces you say?  What forces?

Who among you think that any of these kids saw the ads (targeting them, no doubt) asking for contestants, and said “I want to do this.”?  There may have been a few, but I’m confident that most of the ambition comes from their parent, or parents.  What kid of 8 to 13 is interested in making a hundred grand?  Typically they’ll settle for a ten, or ask for a quadrillion.

And how many of you know of parents who go crazy on their kids at sporting events?  Or go crazy on the referees or coaches? Or upon their teachers in school?  These are the same parents who only want the best for their little darlings, but heaven help the adult who gets in the way of their dreams of success.  And how do you succeed?  Any way you can.  And this is what they teach their kids.  Scheming, devious friendships, shallow relationships, and the importance of today’s reward.  There is no more great moral code, and there is no pride in yourself for only being yourself – your success will be measured by your wallet, and by the number of your online friends.

Again, it’s not the chef’s fault.  In fact, we can find suspects as far back as the mid 1900s when Walt Disney combined his film franchise (targeting youth) with an amusement part (again, targeting youth) and tried to encapsulate the entire experience of childhood.

So what should a childhood look like?  I look forward to your comments!