Question, don't judge.
Lately I have been pondering about the topic of how we as adults and how children look at the world around them. My thoughts have been centered on both the ability of children to accept those people and those things around them while also looking at adults and their seeming inability to do the same. I watch my six year old daughter navigate new social interactions and sit in awe of the way she and her peers are able to go from perfect strangers to best of buds within moments of meeting. I started asking myself; why and how we train ourselves out of this ability to so easily connect with others? When people are young they seem to accept what is before them as a reality of their own world. There is no wondering why a person is or is not the same as them, there is simply an understanding that they are, and so it is. We then age out of this beautiful ability to just accept our reality and we begin to question and challenge those things that are different and those things that do not fit into what we already know to be “normal” or expected of our immediate environment.
As parents we have a big job, we must navigate not only our own biases but those things that will potentially cause biases amongst our next generation, amongst our children. Both my own and my husbands family are a blend of Asian and American backgrounds. Our daughters are blue eyed, blond haired and white skinned but the same cannot be said about a majority of our combined families. My infant daughter is too young to question but my six year old has not yet began to ask or wonder about why she does not look like her grandparents, her cousins or her aunts and uncles. Her mind is absorbing the environment around her, it is accepting what is and experiencing everything as the pieces that make up her world. At some point I know she will ask why and I know she will ask how and at that point I will understand that her mind has shifted from accepting to questioning.
This shift is a beautiful and necessary part of development. It shows that there is growth and knowledge working together to make sense of things rather than just accepting the blanket truth that is put before her. It is the sign of an independent and strong mind. This is also the point in a child’s development when we as parents must be very aware of what we are saying, how we paint those around us and when we categorize an “example” of something as “the rule” of something. Our children will absorb all of this, they will look to us for the transformation of their accepting mind into their questioning mind.
Please remember that you, as the parents can help your children learn to look at the reality before them and question yes, but judge no. It is within all of us to judge that which is different and it is within all of us to question what we do not understand so it is of fundamental importance that we teach the next generation to question kindly, believe in finding a common ground and understand that just because it doesn’t make sense doesn’t mean that it doesn’t deserve to be.
I am a mother, not a wizard. I share what is hard, what is scary and what is real. The rest I leave to you.