I Hate the Word Hate

I read an article this morning regarding the Westboro Baptist Church holding a protest at the Wilson High School in Washington DC regarding the new principal being gay.  As I read the article and looked at the pictures that went along with it many thoughts came to mind for me.

First of all, no matter what side you stand on in this issue there is something extremely upsetting about children holding signs that use the word hate in it.  HATE.  The Merriam-Webster defines the word hate as:

a :  intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury

b:  extreme dislike or antipathy :  loathing <had a great hate of hard work>

Do kids really hate?  Or do we teach them to hate things?  Liam doesn’t have in his vocabulary the word hate.  I do not use that word nor do I like that word.  However he has told me he doesn’t like tomatoes .  He came to this on his own by trying it (an educated opinion).  On the other hand Liam has also told me he doesn’t like pork chops (which I have never made because I do not like them).  Since Liam has never tried it before I have to assume his aversion to them is because he heard me say I do not like them (a bias opinion).  I can’t help but wonder if these children “hate” a certain sect of people or is it because that is what they have heard so much.  There is something to be said in regards to the saying, “Little pitchers have big ears.”  So much of our children’s reactions and feelings about things are learned from watching how we respond to things.

I really really dislike snakes.  I am scared of them.  However, I have run into the situation twice now while on walks that we came across one.  I don’t want to teach Liam and Ava this fear, so as calmly as I could muster I let Liam and Ava take a look.  We are shaped by our surroundings and the experiences we have.  Without getting into a religious debate because that is not the point of this post, I can’t help but come to the conclusion hate is learned and is that not the opposite of what any religion would want?

I guess my whole point to this is we really need to be cognizant of the message that we are sending our children.  Without throwing out too many cliché lines, our future is based on the children of today and I for one would rather live in a future of tolerance and love than prejudice and hatred.

 

 

The Helicopter Parent the New Species of Parents

Helicopter Parents: Are they helping or hurting our children? By definition this is a parent who takes an overprotective or excessive interest in the life of their child or children.   Having seen it first hand prior to ever having children I hoped and prayed that I would not become one of those parents.  I remember vividly watching one mother scoot around her kid as he spun in circles to make sure he would not fall.  In my head I remember thinking this is crazy.  Now I would in no way want that child, my child, or any child to get hurt, however there is an important lesson that is being skipped over if we never let them fall.  We are not teaching our kids how to pick themselves back up.  Sure there are tears and moments to comfort but if we never let our kids fall then they never learn how to cope and move on.  I feel as kids get older this snowballs into bigger issues then just falling down and getting hurt.

We all want the best for our kids and for them to be happy. No one would ever intentionally put their children in harms way. However, when we remove all conflict from our young children’s lives we are also stripping them from valuable problem solving skills.  Kids no longer know how to take responsibility for anything.  I remember this becoming a new discussion when I was in college as a professor once retold a story of a parent calling him to excuse their son from the paper that was due because their son was not feeling well.  It seems ridiculous but it happens all the time.  When our children are not given the chance to be held to a certain standard they do not know how to stand on their own two feet.  This is quite concerning to me. As a society we are grooming children who someday will become adults and who have no accountability.  How are these children every going to become successful?  I believe it’s quite true that failure spurs success.  Without ever failing there is nothing to motivate you to move forward.  There needs to be conflict at times in our lives so that we can strive for something better.

I also think that when we are too overprotective of our children we are taking away a small part of pride for them. Deep down we all want to do well. When we become so involved with our children’s life that they are never given the chance to struggle with something, they can never feel pride in accomplishing anything. Liam loves to do puzzles and at times he gets very frustrated.   When he has a hard time putting it together, I simply offer some encouragement for him to continue trying and he finishes it on his own. The smile of success on his face says it all. This might seem small but it all builds up. Small problems as children will translate to big problems as adults. Small accomplishments as kids equal big payouts as adults. Allowing our kids to work it out not only helps them internally but also someday working it out with people. I am not suggesting never lending a hand or letting our children get into danger but the next time your son or daughter is struggling. Take a step back and let them work at it. Your not only helping them now but also for their future.