Saturday, January 28, 2012

I am a person, at any age

One of the most destructive memes in human culture is the notion that children should be seen and not heard.

Children are human beings. They are people to be guided into maturity, not objects to be controlled.

Children, like all people, are entitled to being treated with respect and consideration. Children, like all people, are entitled to live and work in an environment free from abuse, be it verbal or emotional or physical abuse.

Children, like all people, have their own personalities, their own visions, their own views, their own emerging ideas about themselves and the world around them. It is true that children have not fully matured, and are in need of adult guidance and protection. It is also true that children need practice in the critical thinking and evaluative skills that will enable them to ultimately become mature, self-directed adults.

The best way to enable a child to mature and flourish is to provide that child with respect, with a listening ear and genuine engagement--including disagreement--as well as with necessary, age-appropriate boundaries. Not every view a child expresses is going to be true; then again, not every view an adult expresses is going to be true. Children, like adults, are works in progress, and truth is more readily discovered in ongoing dialogue than in suppression of expression.

I am a human being in my own right, at any age.

At any age, I have a voice. At any age, I have the right to be heard. At any age, I deserve to be treated with consideration and respect.

At every age, at every stage, every one of us has a view and a voice and the right to be heard.

That includes you.