I had this post written out in my mind when I was a child, and just had to wait a few years until I was big enough that people would listen to me. Nowadays my child self only exists as a facet of my personality, but she is PISSED OFF at you guys. When she was my physical manifestation she didn’t have anyone to defend her against childism, but now I’m going to give the adult world a good smacking for her sake.
Nowadays children love me. Part of what I do for money are play sessions in English to give children contact with the language. Parents have been surprised with how much the children end up liking me. I remember after playing with one kid that had been given a label of something along the lines of “autistic”, the parent looked at me with apparent awe for opening the child up as I had.
My secret is simple. When I was a child, I noticed that adults were insane, and for fear of becoming one, I sat down, concentrated, and sent messages to my future self (these messages come to me nowadays in the form of memories :). Apart from my concern about kissing (child Andrew thought that adult Andrew should abstain because of hygiene reasons) I have taken all of these messages into account. Hereon are the messages, in their essence:
Children are not children
You heard me. Who are you to go around talking to children like they are CHILDREN? I’m really serious with this. The reason kids love me is that I talk to children like I talk to anyone else. Well, I might adapt my language a bit and choose to talk about matters of fun rather than heavy metaphysics most of the time, but I do NOT think of the person I’m talking to as a child. I don’t believe in a separation between child and adult, just as I don’t believe in a separation between man and woman or European and Asian.
Do you think children are fundamentally different to you in some way? Now, do you think people of another race are fundamentally different to you in some way? I don’t really see the difference in these two viewpoints, except that children are less able to stand up for themselves.
You might even have a positive idea of what a child is. But even so, if you’re relating to an IDEA of what your child is, you are not relating to the actual CHILD. I was so, so pissed off when the people I wanted to connect with treated me as a thing rather than a person. Ideas of child-ness are a barrier to connecting with the real reality at the heart of a child, the reality they desperately want you to see. So get this into your head: children ARE NOT CHILDREN. They are just people.
I’m going to go deeper into this point now.
Children are not stupid
Children are not stupid. A lot of people think that they are. I think it comes from their inferiority complexes. But child Andrew wants to be pretty emphatic on this point: CHILDREN ARE NOT STUPID. You may well find a child who is smarter than you. This isn’t a “child prodigy”, because children are not children. This is just a prodigy… just a smart person.
Children know less, this is true. But they are not less capable of understanding something or learning something. Actually, because they haven’t been trained to be stupid yet, they may well understand it more easily than you. If they’re lucky enough not to be taught a belief that learning things is hard and painful, then they may remain a genius for the rest of their lives. It’s a myth, by the way, that you have to train for years and become an “expert” on something to be able to understand it. Most things can be explained quitte simply if you replace words like “H2O” with words like “water”. The idea of inpenetrable expertise is an invention that supports the monopoly of knowledge created by university degrees. In the same way, a child can understand anything you can understand. If they can’t, then the chances are you don’t really understand it.
It’s an important fact that some of the most evasive truths are just common sense when you finally come to grasp them. Common sense is something you were born with. So don’t underestimate children. Listen to them. They could teach you a lot.
Children want to have responsibility
Children want to be taken seriously. They want to work. They want to feel like their life is meaningful. The way they are treated in the West thanks to “child labour laws” (John Taylor Gatto rips them apart in The Underground History of American Education) reduces them to the status of… dolls. Nothing they do is allowed to have any consequence. What sort of existence is that??
Of course, children are generally not ready to be doing full-time jobs. They have less stamina, less skill, and more of a disposition towards learning and playing. (Just because they’re disposed to doing these things MORE doesn’t mean they should be forced to do them all the time, however). But you are doing them no favours by trying to take away their responsibility. Everyone wants responsibility, until they are taught to fear it. Responsibility for at least a small part of this world and honest contribution are necessary for a sense of oneness and self-respect. Tragically, many adults have lost this instinctual understanding.
Children need to be supported, but give them space and TAKE THEM SERIOUSLY when they are being serious. Yes, they are serious sometimes, you know.
(For more on children working, see: Child Exploitation)
You’re a child!
I love Jesus’ maxim, “only if you become like a little child can you enter the kingdom of heaven”. It’s so true. I don’t think heaven on earth would look like grey suits and ties. And as the Principia Discordia points out, people only commit acts of violence while they are being very, very serious.
What’s got into you?? Why have you become so stuck up that you can’t act like a crazy turkey in the metro once in a while?* Don’t you enjoy laughing? Why don’t you? Scared of looking dumb?
Love children – inner children and outer children. We are one.