We live in an adult-centered, anti-child world where mistreatment of children is considered, not just appropriate, but preferred.
At best, kids are considered loud, messy and exhausting.
At worst, they are considered inherently “bad” and in need of training, which is usually doled out in the form of mental, emotional or physical abuse.
It’s true that children are the only group that is still boldly and legally discriminated against. They are the only people who are legally allowed to be hit, stolen from or held against their will. There is even a movement to ban the “brats” from public places based on nothing but their age.
Think about any of these sentiments said about a particular race and you’ll see my point. It is a very anti-child society we live within.
Of course, all of this instills in children a belief that they are less than, broken or bad. And unless they heal that belief, because children are the only oppressed group who will outgrow their oppression, it’s a belief they will continue to carry into their unoppressed adult life and inform every choice they make, including the treatment of the next generation.
So, we are essentially creating an entire culture of broken, hurting human beings for generations to come.
And I keep hearing so many parents complain about this and the so-called “brat bans”.
We are all appalled and offended when someone speaks condescendingly, assumes a child’s guilt or otherwise passes judgment on them based on their size.
But how many are doing anything about it?
If you want the anti-child treatment to change you’ve got to come out of your hiding places and start talking about.
Not just on Facebook.
Not just on your blog.
You need to start speaking up. At family reunions. At the grocery store. With your best friend. With strangers at the park.
You need to grow some cahones and start creating real awareness by speaking your Truth.
You need to live with Integrity.
Last week I got the opportunity to ask an older gentleman to drop some anti-semetic remarks he was making in front of us.
This was a strong, opinionated man who never backs down. He’s the kind of man that constantly makes racist, classist or sexist remarks and is used to winning arguments. The kind of man no one even bothers arguing with anymore.
I knew all of this going in. I’ve seen how people will sit uncomfortably and listen as he makes these remarks and not say a word, because they don’t feel it’ll help. They all looked pained as they shrug their shoulders and ask “What can I do?”
But I live by my own integrity.
And according to my integrity, all people should be treated with honor and respect and compassion. Even this man who was making anti-semetic remarks.
So with respect for him, I clearly stated that I was uncomfortable with his remarks, explained why and stated that I would appreciate them not happening in front of us.
Because I spoke with respect, not anger or fear, he did what no one had ever seen him do before.
He apologized and said he hadn’t looked at it that way.
We then went on to have a nice conversation for several more hours.
The One Rule To Speaking Your Truth
It doesn’t work when you speak from a place of anger or fear.
It doesn’t work when you fight or demand or criticize.
People shut down when they hear your anger, or feel attacked.
But people hear Truth.
Truth is not angry. It’s not fear-based. It’s not judgmental.
And real Truth comes from a place of love. It comes with compassion and acceptance and gentleness. It doesn’t back down or hide.
And it speaks volumes louder than anger.
If we want to change these anti-child views…if we want to promote respect and love, compassion and kindness…we get to speak out while we set an example of what respect, love, compassion and kindness look like.
We get to live our Integrity out loud.
(And really, if you’re speaking with anger, are you really living your integrity?)
Change doesn’t happen by complaining about it.
Keep this in mind: the reason these anti-child (or racist or sexist or any-ist) sentiments make you uncomfortable is because you’re not living according to your own beliefs, your own integrity, when you don’t speak your Truth.
You’re sacrificing your beliefs to “keep the peace” (what peace?). And that’s uncomfortable!
To live with integrity means to take your authenticity and your Truth out of its box and into the world.
What do you know as Truth? What is holding you back from speaking your Truth with compassion and respect for everyone involved?
Because if you see the abuse and hate occurring towards children – or anyone else – and you do nothing about it…or you increase it with abuse and hatred of your own, whose really to blame here?