Let kids be kids

7 02 2010

I’m a big George Carlin fan primarily because of his outlook on social issues. One of his philosophies which I found most appealing was his stance on how parents should treat children. (I use the past tense since he died in 2008, although it feels like he should still be alive.)

His thought process was to let kids be kids. Let them daydream and poke each other in the eyes. Let them eat mud and shoot wet spitballs at each other during Spanish class.

Carlin believed that parents and their schedules killed creativity and the forming of a free spirit. After all, we’re on strict schedules for most of our lives, so childhood is a unique time for a human being to simply learn about life.

That’s why a couple kid-related things I noticed the past few days made me wonder why we do what we do to those young’ns. First, there’s this story about a 12-year-old girl in Queens, New York who scribbled “Lex was here 2/1/10” on her school desk. She ended up in handcuffs and sent to the local police station. Then she was assigned eight hours of community service. This girl, who also drew a smiley face and wrote that she loved two of her friends, was simply conveying the innocent emotions of a child. Maybe she knew what she was doing wasn’t entirely acceptable, but what exactly do the adults who called her into the cops think they’re establishing by over-reacting the way they did? They surely didn’t earn her trust.

Another kid-related issue. I was at the Shake Shack on the Upper West Side the other day when I noticed something I hadn’t seen outside of a pack of kindergarteners visiting my college campus — a kid on a leash. The boy was probably 3 or 4 years old, and he was with a woman who looked to be his mom. And he was wrapped in some brace that went around his torso with a rope-like extension that was held by the woman. I can understand parents concerned about their kids’ well-being, especially in New York City with all the crazy cab drivers we have. But a leash?

Kids sometimes have to learn from their mistakes. It’s apart of growing up. When you put play dough in your mouth and realize it’s not an edible food, you learn not to make the same mistake again. So if a kid wanders off and trips and cuts his face, he’ll probably learn not to repeat his actions. Without a leash, he can’t learn what’s right from wrong. All he understands is that he’s under the control of someone else. His freedom is hastened, which doesn’t help a child establish a foundation for common sense which can help guide him through the peaks and vallleys of life. It’s all about the parent retaining total control over the child, even when the situation might call for respecting the freedom of the child.

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One response

7 02 2010
Page Seven

Agree completely.

Also: Carlin is the man.

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