Children – Let Them Get On With It

What usually grab the headlines are great disasters. The publicity aroused by the rescue of the Chilean miners was well deserved. This does indeed have a real reason for raising our spirits. For once in a while a lot of government money was put into equipment that was very expensive and the chances of it finding the right place was very difficult. The joy that went around the world was more than justified. The overwhelming courage of the trapped men touched everyone who might have been in the same situation. For once, here was the head of state, President Sebastian Pinera who put people before money and has now promised to do something about the hardships the miners had to put up with.

Last night I watched one of my favourite writers on politics, Andrew Marr. His subject was how Jack Kennedy won the Presidency for the first time by having had a vast sum of money from his father, whilst his opponents had far less. He also told some cruel lies about his opponents. He appeared as having no scruples whatsoever. He, too, was good-looking and charismatic and quite ruthless about lying and deprecating better men than he was. His oratory was his best weapon. Why are we all taken in by such things? Because we don’t think properly.

I have a feeling that most of us do not have a very good opinion of ourselves. If all of us, as individuals, were educated, from earliest days, to use words and conversations to help them to think clearly, they would grow up with a natural sense of their own worth. Would they still need heros and heroines? I think not!

Our children are our best hope for the future provided that we start now to change the way we talk with them and respect them. Throughout history children have been exploited by adults in all sorts of ways. Alice Miller called this Poisonous Pedagogy.

Children are small and weak physically in their earliest ages. But there is a wealth of wonderful potential in their minds. Anyone who pays close attention to these little ones know this. We do not need teachers who try to force on them what they do not want. All we need to do is to give them an environment full of things that would catch their interest and let them get on with it. Some of our greatest men in the past, Churchill, Bertrand Russell and George Bernard Shaw were not regarded as geniuses by teachers. We must have always lost exceptionally talented people because of their being disenchanted through having missed out on kindly ecouragement from people who like and respect them.

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