April 9

Today's quotation:

It's easier to build strong children
than it is to repair broken adults.

Frederick Douglass

Today's Meditation:

I try to keep these words in mind whenever I'm dealing with children.  These words help me to decide how to act around them, how to treat them.  I have to decide just what actions of mine will help them to grow stronger, and those acts usually consist of encouraging, listening, and allowing them the space to make their own decisions--and even their own mistakes.

Far too often, I believe, we adults think that our job is to control children's thoughts and actions and reactions in order to make them "better" kids.  Somehow we think that we know what kids need, and we think that we're the ones to give it to them.  Unfortunately, that type of control usually ends up causing kids to feel much less in control of their own destinies, and it causes them to fear situations and people with which they haven't had a chance to deal yet.

We spend billions of dollars every year on therapists and medications to try to reclaim a grasp on our own lives.  We spend a lot of time and effort battling beliefs and ideas that are destructive to us, trying to overcome things that were instilled in us in our childhoods.  From being called ugly or stupid to being criticized for doing something "wrong" and never attempting it again, there are many things from our younger years that we carry around with us, always trying to get rid of them.

We have to decide:  what will we contribute to the lives of our young people?  Will we give input into their lives that will allow them to grow into healthy, stable adults, or will we contribute to the destructive baggage that they carry around with them?  On the day I die, I hope that I can look back on my life and say yes, I've contributed to the positive growth of many young people--I haven't guaranteed their success or their stability, but I have contributed to their positive side.

Questions to consider:

How would you define the term "broken adults"?

What kinds of things can you do to contribute to the positive side of a young person's growth?  To the negative side?

What kinds of positive input can you remember from your younger years?  Did you appreciate it?  Are you giving the same kind of input to others?

For further thought:

We must trust that what we're doing has a purpose.
We must realize that we're not here to make kids conform
or perform, but that we're here to help them to develop
their own unique skills and talents, not the ones we want
them to have or the ones we think they should have.

tom walsh


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