A child, but not quite

A child, but not quite

“Little children must be seen and not heard,” was the stern reply I got to a suggestion I had just made. The conversation, apparently, was an adult one and a child’s opinions were not entertained. “Am I a child or do I equate myself to being more like an adult?” I wondered to myself. Caught in the middle of a mindful muddle, I felt like Hamlet who famously said, “To be or not to be.” His words still ring true!

This incident made me think of Anne Frank who offered a solution during an ‘adult’ conversation and was severely told off for it. However, she kept her feelings bottled up and unleashed them only when writing in her diary. Hasn’t it ever occurred to adults that children may have this wonderful talent for viewing a situation differently? Maybe even in a much better way?

Take for instance, the story of the emperor’s new clothes. While all the elders praised the king’s ‘magnificent, invisible outfit’, it was a child who brought the king out of his foolish reverie by pointing out that he did not have clothes on. Well, as the saying goes, truth comes from a babe’s mouth.

I believe one should never tell a child off just because she questioned something or expressed her views. Instead, the best thing you could do would be to make her feel important. Congratulate her for contributing to the conversation and make her feel that her opinion counts. That way, you can teach her to have a mind of her own. Telling her that her suggestion was bad could just lower her self-esteem. All children are innocent and believe in goodness. So, encourage them to face life positively. Erasing ‘no’ from your vocabulary can help them be more optimistic.

As for us teenagers, talking freely to our parents can help us know where to draw the line when we air our views to outsiders. This could save us from remarks like, “Have you ever spoken to a cheekier child? I haven’t.” Or “What kind of parents does she have, allowing her to talk like that in public!”

I am grateful to my parents for allowing me to explore my creative side and voice my suggestions (at home, of course!) from the time I was a tiny tot. True, sometimes I have made mistakes, but on the whole everyday is a pleasant learning experience. With all it’s ups and downs, and surprises and disappointments, I’ve still got a lot to learn from life. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m contemplating on what name one would call a child, but not quite.