Education

A few things to learn from children

by OYIN EGBEYEMI

September 19, 2017 | 12:23 am
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The beautiful thing about children (especially before their teenage years) is that they are not yet formed. They are pure, innocent and really just beginning to learn the ropes of life. Those who are exposed to relatively normal upbringing (i.e. not in adverse conditions such as abusive homes and war-torn countries) have certain attitudes and behaviours that I think adults could learn from. Some of these are described below:

“I can do anything and everything”: Children are not very aware of their limits…and as dangerous as it sounds, this is actually an attitude that many adults lack. It’s very interesting to see infants attempt to walk, talk and do many of the things that they watch their older ones or even adults do. They make many attempts, fail many times, but pick themselves up and continue to try again.

Even when they make demands for certain items they desire, they nag and nag and nag until they get them. They persevere until they succeed; or they may hurt themselves and fail, but they quickly pick themselves up and move on. This skill of persistence and perseverance is something that many adults lack today; but if we applied these more to some of our own challenges, we would probably yield better results in our endeavours.

“What grudge?”: Literally. It is almost impossible to hold a grudge with children. One minute, they are having a heated argument over one fickle subject, and the next minute, they are best friends. They do not hold on to the wrongdoings of others and use them as weapons against them even after the argument has been resolved, unlike adults who could hold grudges that may last lifetimes. They also do not exhibit passive-aggressiveness that adults are so familiar with (the “I forgive you, but do not really forgive you attitude). What happened to “forgive and forget?”

“We are all different but equal”: The current state of the world and many recent activities are beginning to make it clear that adult human beings might be more divisive than we thought. This even questions the concept of globalisation. With racism, anti-Semitism and neo-Nazi demonstrations gaining some form of momentum in the West; and of course our cultural barriers in Nigeria and many other African countries; and even intellectual and social differences, you would wonder what the actual underlying reasons for such discrimination other than human beings merely just deciding that one group is more or less superior to the other (again, for no concrete reason other than an irrational opinion). When children are young, they do not have these issues; they see one another as different and equal and accept it. After all, we cannot all be the same, and are each a product of our environments or our make up.

I found it absolutely beautiful when one of the children at the school I work at was asked who his best friend is, and he said that is was one of his intellectually challenged classmates. It could be because the classroom environment and teaching methods at this school are deliberately planned to ensure equality; however, for a child to make that conscious decision to select that one person amongst about fifteen others in his class. It goes to show that children have the ability not to judge other people for their differences. This is something that adults have a great deal to learn from, so that we get along a little better.

“I love you, and I’m not afraid to say or show it”: Children are probably the most expressive form of human begins. They are not afraid to show affection to one another and to others around them. I have received numerous unsolicited hugs and “I love you’s” from some of these young people whom I have known for less than a year.

For them, love is not as complicated as we as adults seem to make it. Because of the fear of vulnerability (which is usually linked to weakness), adults seem to hide their true feelings and fail to express them effectively, whereas they are fully aware of the way they feel. Why can’t we take a note from children and express more love to each other in whatever way we can, rather than fronting and hiding our true feelings from each other?

Children are absolutely wonderful creatures. If we took a few lessons from them, there would probably be more peace and love in our communities and in the world that we live in today.

OYIN EGBEYEMI


by OYIN EGBEYEMI

September 19, 2017 | 12:23 am
  |     |     |   Start Conversation

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