Children are like African violets. (A type of small very ticklish house plant which housewives of my mother’s generation raised.) They are very sensitive in terms of their response to the environment in which they are planted. Children were known to die in orphanages when they were physically taken care of but not emotionally taken care of. Yet some people give more attention to the African violets in their life than to their children.
As each African violet is individual in its needs for light and air and moisture so is each child individual in his or her needs for attention, love, and support. When this is neglected, the plant or child withers and dies inside if not outside like the plant. The payoff of proper care can be great in either case.
Perhaps one can afford to lose many African violets in this process but not even one child. Children can be resilient but still, can be greatly damaged and become of little use to themselves and furthermore to the society that child dwells in.
Moisture, light, and soil and the addition of fertiliser is needed for a violet to grow; but what is needed for a child to grow in the right direction? Love, support, attention, and unconditional love appear to be necessary for this to happen.
Caregivers can not neglect one child while caring for another, This has been shown to happen when a child has a seriously ill sibling. This child needs attention and care too especially if this child gets neglected while the ill child gets urgently needed care.
The sibling does not need to be seriously physically ill to take attention and care away from another sibling. Some children are more attractive to one or both of the parents than other children. How important is it for a parent to have an athlete or gymnast or beauty queen or a scholar over a wallflower, a geek, or any child who is not particularly gifted or attractive
Worse yet are parents who really shouldn’t have any children (P.S. I am not opting for abortion, but I am a champion of adoption in these cases). Sadly what welfare does sometimes does not necessarily encourage parents to be actively involved in bringing children up right.
Wealth is not necessarily the main factor in bringing children up right. The things that are needed to do this often can’t be bought. They often cost more time than money. First is unconditional love which occurs when a person often gives another person love no matter what he or she does or says.
Children need support, not just physical support, but emotional support. A child can do well at something, but this accomplishment might be ignored and/ or at least not supported emotionally by the family or guardian. The child can say to themselves, “Oh, what’s the use?” if the effort that he or she puts into something is unnoticed and they receive little or no help with it on top of that!
Prize winning entries at the county fair can go unnoticed and wining or losing a coveted position on a team or in a play can also be ignored. “You did what?, when said, demonstrates that at least part of a child’s life has gone unnoticed. Worse yet, a child can be hurt or sick and this goes unnoticed until the child is in serious jeopardy.
Psychological needs that go unmet can cause great harm to some children. Children that survive such circumstances can be very resilient but those who don’t are a drain on society and can be lost. Too often the people who make these decisions are incompetent as well. The judge in my family says that custody decisions in his court are given to the least competent to decide.
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Children are our most precious resource. Don’t waste them. This subject is worth repeating. They need love and affection to thrive. Good self-esteem is a must for all children to have. Nor should they lack support. Enough food and drink so they can grow and be healthy and not be hungry. These needs are often not met during weekends or in the summer. For some kids, all the food they get is in school. How can one study and learn when they are hungry? Security and safety are another need. Children should not be afraid or the innocent victims of crime. Adequate housing helps meeting these needs. Don’t forget adequate schools that can meet these needs too.
Finally and still important is an education on the rights of people, the rules we need to respect so that we can all get along, and the development of an inner sense of right and wrong. History is a necessary part of education so we don’t make past mistakes and so that we can also learn from past successes. Children also need protection so that they are not used only to satisfy other people’s needs when it is not in their best interest.
Parents or parent substitutes can be valuable assets to our culture. Those who take on the responsibility of providing for their or other children’s needs. Support is often provided for those parents who fail but not for those who want to succeed at doing this. Laws should be created and adjudicated with the child’s rights in mind. Children are not property and are individuals with innate rights. Custody determinations often forget this. I know of one county court system that penalizes the worst of their judges by having them do custody cases. Yuck!!! Children are not property!
The witches (at least the bad ones) have gone and people don’t worry about curses being put upon them anymore or do they? When people put you down to make themselves feel better or to raise themselves above you, are they really putting a curse on you especially if you or those around you tend to believe them? The power in a curse is usually the strength that of the belief that the victim has in them.
Also, can putdowns be a form of domestic abuse? Yes, a person can be emotionally as well as physically abused leaving them browbeaten and powerless. Have you ever known a person who doesn’t ever seem to have something good to say about a family member and worse yet, other family members start to do it too.
Doing it to children is a heinous offense. They often do not have a way of knowing that it is not true and they believe it. Other family members, especially other children, will start to do it too. “Monkey see; monkey do” Also siblings seeing it done to a fellow sibling might think that they might be next so they keep the spotlight on their sibling’s faults and deficiencies.
It is not a good joke if the person who is the object of the joke doesn’t laugh at it too. When this happens to children, they are often reduced to tears. The perpetrators say they don’t know why the object of the joke doesn’t think it is funny and they label him or her a “bad sport.”
Introducing this topic, I do want to make it clear that I am Pro-Life (especially if you have not figured this out from my past posts). Children do exist in the womb. At eight weeks after conception, all necessary organs for the child exist and the rest of the time in the womb is spent growing and becoming capable of independent existence. In my lifetime, science has found more and more ways to detect life in the womb and to sustain such life either in the womb or out of the womb. The question is at what point do we determine that another human being does not have the right to exist. No one is infallible when it comes to making this decision.
Maybe we should call our children the “throw-away generation”. I think we would all admit that many children are not given the training, experience, and resources necessary to grow up to be responsible adults. How can we consciously keep the next generation in areas of the country that are veritable war zones in inhabitable surroundings with irresponsible adults and penalize those that do sacrifice resources, time, and sometimes careers to help raise responsible adults whether as parents or teachers or volunteers to provide opportunities to help the next generation grow up as safe responsible citizens.
Here is one example of how ignorant one of the most responsible areas of our government operates in one area of my state. Custody determinations cases (often done when a divorce is granted) are given to the judges who are considered the least competent and who have little or no training in this area. This leaves them free to make up their own minds about the cases and/or to depend on professionals who are presented to them as qualifying “experts” by dueling attorneys for each person seeking custody and those agencies who deal with these cases with certain biases as to parental (often not children’s) rights. This was in spite of well recognized and highly motivated diversion courts for domestic violence, drug addiction, and mental illness.
A bad custody decision can result in a “life sentence” for some children. One they didn’t ask for and one they didn’t deserve. It appears to me that in these situations early and appropriate intervention is desired and those appointed to discharge this duty should be well-trained and held responsible for what they do. Is there anything “flippant “about making a custody decision? and shouldn’t the best and most well-trained judges be given this duty. Another point that needs to be made in this area is that the best person for this position of making custody decisions should be someone who is and/or wants to become knowledgeable about child-rearing.
Children at different points in life need different things. Initially, it is important that needs must be met that help maintain the physical body of the child such as food and clothing, shelter, etc. and physical gentle, loving touches and caregiving, and by someone who is concerned about the safety and well-being of the child. How a task is done in caring for a child telegraphs to the child whether or not he or she is safe, secure, and the object of someone’s care and concern.
One of the next steps necessary to a child’s development the ability of the person providing the care and education of the child be aware that children are different and that is not necessarily bad. Nature requires diversity and that means that those providing nurturance be able to able to provide and or seek out sources for the education, training, and future achievements possible for each child.
Children also learn at different rates and in different ways. Having, eight young grandchildren, I have noticed this. Children progress at different rates in different areas and it does not necessarily mean that the child is “backward” and may not catch up in this area later when he or she changes their focus of learning.
Over time, children need to become responsible for certain things and to have certain experiences. For example, you don’t don’t teach a child about dating by not letting them be around the opposite sex until they are twenty-one and then let them figure it out by themselves. Children need also to learn to make certain decisions for themselves and to experience the appropriate consequences. Learning is done in steps and certain concepts need to be acquired and practiced before going on to other more advanced and/or difficult ones.
Frightened young girls get pregnant so they have somebody to love and young boys like to feel studly and see how many babies they can generate. Neither is a good reason to have a child. Nurturing a child is also a full-time process which involves being selfless much of the time. It also requires good judgment which is not fully developed until young adulthood.
Our welfare state facilitates irresponsible parenthood and children often raised without discipline or love. How many children are thrown out on the street and have to learn how to survive there on their own.Then we chastise them (not the parents or the state) for doing this and becoming angry at society and not fitting in there.
No wonder these children don’t trust anybody. Yes, the ghetto (where many of these children end up) doesn’t always teach middle-class values. In order to survive, these children do what they can to live on the streets or with parents and foster parents that don’t care or use them for their own purposes. They often only want the check. Worse yet these parents may have been raised the same way that they are raising their children.
Parents having the right to raise or not raise their biological children as they see fit does not take into account the rights of the children. They also go so far as to often use abortion as the method of choice when it comes to practicing birth control.
I think it is a case of blame the victim (which is the child) for the sometimes irrefutable abuse they sustained whether caused by the system, natural parents, and/or foster parents.
Last, but not least, parents who do a good job of raising their children by giving their kids love, discipline, and values do not get rewarded by the system. There are no rewards for doing a good job, just for doing a bad job.
Child custody also gets handled often by people who do not know what they are doing, what the child needs, and what constitutes a good parent. If they do know these things they are hampered by laws and regulations that often don’t make any sense.
For example in one northern county of my state, only the worst judges, those who are not doing their job in other venues, get “demoted” to doing child custody cases and they receive no training on how to do this in a way that would benefit the child whose custody is being determined.
I have proposed that that county develop special training for these judges determining custody cases. It would include forty hours of hands-on training by professionals in the field of custody determination. Doing it this way ensures that judges would actually participate and not just skim through some information on the subject. It should also be a mixed group so no judge would be swayed in a particular direction.
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With what is going on in Europe now with boundary problems, it is getting more and more clear that having little or no boundaries makes them vulnerable to people who will take advantage of that.
You think you are a good person and that others are good people too. Not setting appropriate boundaries leaves you wide open to people who don’t think like you do. It also leaves you wide open when you should be setting boundaries like with children and people who work under your supervision. Are you the kind of parent or boss who often winds up picking up after their children and/or doing someone else’s work along with your own?
How long can you do this type of thing without feeling angry? “Read my lips” no more “nice” guy or girl. You also lose people’s respect too. I have grandchildren and I can tell who does and who does not set boundaries with the grandchildren by the children’s behavior. You are courting chaos when you don’t do this.
Righteous anger? Is that possible? Is it polite? When we continue to let people take advantage of us (and we know it) aren’t we lying? Isn’t this a “sin?” of omission? So this person or child takes advantage of us figuring we don’t really say what we mean.
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As much as we would sometimes like to, rotely learning material does not automatically generate people who can use the material. Rote learning is good for learning things that we must be able to recall quickly and what is learned rotely is different from person to person depending on what they do and what kind of information they need to have on hand. A simple example is memorizing words and their meanings to give a person a good vocabulary that they will use every day. This is true of what we call knowledge.
A person does a lot of learning when they are still little. They generate theories with resulting hypotheses that they test out probably before they can talk. Most adults reason with words, but children start learning how things work before they can talk. I am sure science will find out just how this is done with or without words someday or may be studying it even now.
They also learn usually through rewards and punishments what ideas that they have about things work or don’t work. Even animals learn this way although we used to think that animals had inborn instincts that determined what they would do or not do. Instincts are definitely inborn probably because most animals have to be able to do some things for themselves at birth.
Everyone is an individual even before birth. Their inborn DNA determines many of the strengths and weaknesses they might have. Thus no child is exactly like one of their parents. The problem is that sometimes one of the parents wants a child to do what they like to do; but the child was not born with the same abilities, the same brain, and/or bodies. Thus such a desire can be doomed to failure and the child may receive the blame for not being able or wanting to do what the parent would like the child to do. The child then often grows up to feel worthless in their parent’s eyes and to fail to develop as his or her individual self.
For example, my mother was the youngest of two girls (no boys) and while her older sister got to help with chores in the house, her father expected her to help him outside at the farm. He wasn’t unreasonable but she was afraid of horses and while she was young everything was still done with horses.
Children are thinking and reasoning and planning for themselves long before their parents even know it. Children can recognize different tones of voice, and facial expressions and body postures and how people react to determine if it is safe to do or not do something. Sometimes the parents may say one thing and mean another. How about telling a child to go give someone a kiss when the child can tell that either that person does not like them or their parent does not like the person. Double bind? Say one thing and do another?
We can learn not only from our own experiences we can also learn from other people’s experiences. But sometimes other peoples conclusions or theories from these experiences may not fit into our understanding of things. Eventually most parents want children to think for themselves and to be able to make good decisions so they can be independent (parents usually die before children) and require less and less supervision.
Ultimately children should be able to think for themselves and to be able to evaluate what they have learned and experienced and change their bodies of knowledge some learned through the experiences of others and their theories about how the world works to fit new information. Sometimes the information instead is changed or rejected because it doesn’t fit their theory.
Wisdom comes with time and having learned to be able to think for oneself as you have accumulated knowledge and experience. Strange or new information can be frightening and it might be easier to reject it, but the cost, in the long run, is greater than if the person had worked it through even if it was scary or painful to do so. Many people do this with physical problems and sometimes if they do do something, it can be too late. Yes, we all have the right to make mistakes and sometimes we can learn from them; but fear of change or possible consequences can keep us from even trying to do it.
Colleges and universities used to be places where you could learn new things and try new ideas out. It was supposed to be a safe place where things could be discussed freely and new ideas often tried out safely. Professors could have different ideas about the way things should be; but there was open debate encouraged in classes. Yes, you may have been expected to learn certain things especially in certain areas of work or professions because you were expected to know these tings to graduate and go on in your field or the college was not doing the job they were getting paid for.
Wisdom is usually obtained over time and there are things that are not learned through study or only by experiences in universities or medical or law schools. Wisdom is also flavored by individuality and people’s individual tastes. It never hurts to try something even though you think you might not like it. I have had experiences that I might not been completely ready for that gave me strengths that I might not have been able to develop any other way.
You are never ready to do anything, but at some point you have to go ahead and do it because the time when you are completely ready might never come. Wisdom truly comes from these experiences. I didn’t truly understand grief until my best friend, her unborn child, and her young daughter were killed in a traffic accident.
I may be older than you; but I might be wiser than you in many ways that is one of the reasons I write this blog. Do I expect you to believe or learn from everything I write, no. But it might it expose you to some information that would spur you to do or think differently in a way that would benefit you.
I also am a teacher and I have learned that students are all different especially in terms of the knowledge and experiences they come into class with. They are also different in terms of their mindsets about learning. This is especially true when it comes grade time.
Think for yourself. Evaluate what you have learned just don’t accept something without thinking about it or testing it if possible in real life. There is a reason that all science classes includes laboratory sessions so the students can have experiences that they can relate to the material being presented in lectures. This called critical thinking and it is something dictators don’t want people to do.
Progress in my life has often been scary and painful and I often did not work on solving problems because I didn’t want to face the pain involved. This is especially true in interpersonal situations. Do you think that the most progress is made when something is easy to do? Be honest with yourself….
Progress can not always be assured even when we face something painful and that is potentially painful too. Could we learn something? This is something that could realistically happen. Learning can be painful too especially when you have to give up all or part of a long-held belief system.
When confronted with new conflicting information about a belief that a person has long held, people can either reject the new information in some way or change it so it fits their paradigm. The other option is to change their belief system to fit the new information. This is what learning is all about.
Some people are not really looking for conflicting information as it makes them uncomfortable so they back away from confrontations. They think there always has to be a winner or a loser in a disagreement and they are programmed not to lose because it hurts too. Compromise is sometimes a new thing to some people because of this.
When people come to new understandings about things, they can both be winners. They understand each other better and can anticipate making better decisions without out so much potential “flack” from the other partner.