Children are not our moral and intellectual inferiors. They deserve respect, just as much as adults do. And yet, so often they are verbally abused, denigrated, cursed at, chivvied, harassed and intimidated, usually by the very people who should be their greatest source of strength, encouragement and enlightenment – their parents, their carers and their teachers.
Children are not born ‘with the devil in them’. Their primary aim is not to annoy, irritate or inconvenience adults. They take their social cues from those around them and reflect back the behaviour and treatment they receive. If they are treated with love and patience and kindness, they will respond as such.
Disrespect is often driven from a lack of understanding of others’ needs, and this is perhaps indicative of the forced detachment that occurs when so much of childhood is split between so many different carers; so much of childcare is professionalised.
Time is the greatest healer of split bonds and it is time that is so often precious in modern life. There are too many rules, too many boundaries, too many expectations, too many responsibilities. The basic social needs of both children and adults go unnoticed and unfulfilled; the need to be heard, to be understood, to matter, to feel loved.
Having children is not a financial commitment, it is a time commitment. Children, like adults, need very little of what money can provide to thrive. What they do require, however, is an over-abundance of compassion and understanding.
Children need to be with adults who have the time and patience to really hear what they have to say, who can connect with them, not just on a superficial level, but through an emotional bond. They need people around them who are present and mindful, not distracted by plans or gadgets, not stressed out or emotionally exhausted.
It is so important that we get this right, not just for a harmonious family life, but because children are more than just our sons and daughters, they are more than just the future earners, the professionals of tomorrow. They are the custodians of our planet. And with that, they are Earth’s best hope. To cope with this daunting challenge, they will need to be loving and sensitive, to listen to what their planet is telling them, be mindful of its needs and gain an intuitive understanding of how to live in harmony with nature. It is up to us to show them the way.
What are your thoughts about natural parenting and it’s impact on environmental issues? Leave them in the comments below. Are you interested in home education and unschooling? Find out here how this looks for our family.