Here’s what your children under 7 absolutely need to know to be successful in this life:
They need to know how to love others.
They need to understand compassion.
They need to see the hurting and help those kids.
They need to treat others like they would want to be treated.
They need to understand there’s more to life than their own backyard, that they’re not the most important kid in the world, and that they will mess up. For that, they’ll just need to fess-up, say they’re sorry, and learn from their mistakes.
They need to know that their parents love them, are proud of them, and that they are unique. That they’re not held to a state standard, a society standard, or an unrealistic standard.
Again, they’ll need some reinforcement to treat others well.
Perhaps if we focused more on these things at an early age and less on perfect phonics and addition, then there would be a lot less bullying in schools. Maybe we’re focusing on all the wrong stuff. Have you ever watched little kids when you let them loose on a playground? Like when they’re around 4 or 5? Sure, there may be some problems sharing, but more than that is this amazing ability to coexist. When my kids go somewhere in public they’ll quickly make friends with children they’ve never met, regardless of color or socioeconomic background. There’s no judgment. There are no preconceived notions. There’s just pure, human interaction in its best form. All children are born that way. But we as parents and society beat that out of them. We show them that things that aren’t really that important are important. Then we teach them that the important things don’t really matter. It’s like we pick calculus over compassion, and we drain the passion and natural tendency to explore the world around them right out of our children. Most average 7-year-olds will know how to read, but they’ll miss the words on the sign of the homeless man on the street corner.
What really happens when we take away the childhood of our children? We take away their childlike faith and compassion. Then we replace it with all A’s on their report card and a first place ribbon in the science fair.
This post originally appeared at briegowen.com, published with permission.