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 By DL Banks
 
Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.
 
A first child is your own best foot forward, and how you do cheer those little feet as they strike out. You examine every turn of flesh for precocity, and crow it to the world. But the last one: the baby who trails her scent like a flag of surrender through your life when there will be no more coming after–oh, that’ s love by a different name. There is no sound more annoying than the chatter of a child, and none more sad than the silence they leave when they are gone. A wise parent humors the desire for independent action, so as to become the friend and adviser when his absolute rule shall cease.
 
Children aren’t coloring books. You don’t get to fill them with your favorite colors. I think that the best thing we can do for our children is to allow them to do things for themselves, allow them to be strong, allow them to experience life on their own terms, allow them to take the subway… let them be better people, let them believe more in themselves. I think that the best thing we can do for our children is to allow them to do things for themselves, allow them to be strong, allow them to experience life on their own terms, allow them to take the subway… let them be better people, let them believe more in themselves.
 
Anyone who does anything to help a child in his life is a hero to me. Young people don’t always do what they’re told, but if they can pull it off and do something wonderful, sometimes they escape punishment. We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future. You think the only people who are people, are the people who look and think like you. But if you walk the footsteps of a stranger, you’ll learn things you never knew you never knew. Through the blur, I wondered if I was alone or if other parents felt the same way I did – that everything involving our children was painful in some way. The emotions, whether they were joy, sorrow, love or pride, were so deep and sharp that in the end they left you raw, exposed and yes, in pain. The human heart was not designed to beat outside the human body and yet, each child represented just that – a parent’s heart bared, beating forever outside its chest.
 
When you want to teach children to think, you begin by treating them seriously when they are little, giving them responsibilities, talking to them candidly, providing privacy and solitude for them, and making them readers and thinkers of significant thoughts from the beginning. That’s if you want to teach them to think. Instead of being presented with stereotypes by age, sex, color, class, or religion, children must have the opportunity to learn that within each range, some people are loathsome and some are delightful. Indeed, the only truly serious questions are ones that even a child can formulate. Only the most naive of questions are truly serious. They are the questions with no answers. A question with no answer is a barrier that cannot be breached. In other words, it is questions with no answers that set the limit of human possibilities, describe the boundaries of human existence.The greatest thing a father can do for his children is to respect the woman that gave birth to his children. It is because of her that you have the greatest treasures in your life. You may have moved on, but your children have not. If you can’t be her soulmate, then at least be thoughtful. Whom your children love should always be someone that you acknowledge with kindness. Your children notice everything and will follow your example.
 
Grown ups are complicated creatures, full of quirks and secrets.Children are people, and they should have to reach to learn about things, to understand things, just as adults have to reach if they want to grow in mental stature. Life is composed of lights and shadows, and we would be untruthful, insincere, and saccharine if we tried to pretend there were no shadows. Most things are good, and they are the strongest things; but there are evil things too, and you are not doing a child a favor by trying to shield him from reality. The important thing is to teach a child that good can always triumph over evil. It’s not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It’s our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.
 
No man should bring children into the world who is unwilling to persevere to the end in their nature and education. That was when it was all made painfully clear to me. When you are a child, there is joy. There is laughter. And most of all, there is trust. Trust in your fellows. When you are an adult…then comes suspicion, hatred, and fear. If children ran the world, it would be a place of eternal bliss and cheer. Adults run the world; and there is war, and enmity, and destruction unending. Adults who take charge of things muck them up, and then produce a new generation of children and say, “The children are the hope of the future.” And they are right. Children are the hope of the future.
 
Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself… You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. When you take the time to actually listen, with humility, to what people have to say, it’s amazing what you can learn. Especially if the people who are doing the talking also happen to be children.
 
Age does not make us childish, as some say; it finds us true children.

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