Thursday, September 22, 2011

What's up doc?

I start realizing how different the world my children are growing up in is when I'm watching a bugs bunny cartoon with them.  Not the new ones released from cartoon network.  The classics.  The ones where people blow up, stereotypes are reinforced, and humor about chemical warfare is actually funny.  The mere sight of an anvil grips you with anticipation and laughter.

To be clear:  I do not want my children desensitized by violence in the name of entertainment.  I do not want my children to ridicule a speech impediment.  I do not want my children to glamorize a bully.

I just want them to relax once in a while.  I want them to feel safe to explore their true feelings and reactions.

We spend so much time reinforcing values and morals in our children, they forget to be children.  We spend so much time forcing them to be academically competitive in the global community, we forget that books are funny, recess is important, and "poo humor" is developmentally appropriate.

A child conflict arose between neighbors yesterday while playing outside (at least they still play outside!).  Time and again, when the kids go to other parents, they stage a mini intervention to work out the problem.  Hug and make up.  Tell them you're sorry.  Why?  Is this always a real life skill? 

Most times, this is the right route.  But sometimes... sometimes... I want my children to be honest and not feel sorry.  I want them to feel wronged and have the courage to speak this.  I want them to walk away mad and realize they don't owe anyone their friendship.  Friendship and trust are earned.  Do I want them to drop an anvil on another child, followed by the cartoon stars encircling their head?  Of course not.

Yesterday the bickering children came to me.  I listened.  I heard both sides of the story.  I nodded in understanding.  I ensured that each party have uninterrupted opportunities to speak their mind.  When it was over, I simply said "'re big boys, I'm sure you can work this out."  Then I closed the door.

Ahhh... real life.  You're welcome, kids.

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