The old joke that say’s “man fights for 9 months to escape the place he wants to get back into the rest of his life”, is an example of how we humans are “hard-wired” in our DNA even before we are born. The lofty ideals of equality, justice, and high moral values are inbred in all of us. These goals are all reshaped and somewhat distorted as we learn and grow. Isn’t that ashamed.
The essence of how to “just get along” with everyone is all learned in the sandbox. Those lessons on accepting diversity, sharing, of choosing an acceptable leader, of acting for the common good, etc, etc…. are all found in the time well spent in that sandbox. All parents witness this phenomenon when their toddlers all “get together” to play. Pre-School, Kindergarten and First grade teachers are lucky enough to witness this “natural” human behavior more than the rest of us. When we were back in the caves, the leader was the biggest, strongest, and smartest. This was necessary for survival. In the sandbox, the leader is the one that all the sandbox members identify with and has the most supporters. It may be a boy or a girl. They may be white, black, brown, yellow, red, green, orange, or blue. Yes, we are all “colored people” at that age.
Each individual in that sandbox is the same, yet, uniquely different and that is the start of the problem. That the child is unique is that child’s strength and it should be one of the determining factors in the destiny of that new member of humanity. When parents take their children out of the sandbox and tell them how wonderful they are, it plants the ugly seeds of diversity. Parents do not allow children the opportunity to discover their uniqueness through their own experiences and methods. The child thinks that they are now better than that friend that they liked in the sandbox. This is one of the hardest concepts that a parent has to try to pass on to their offspring’s. Saying the words “don’t do that” and “listen to me” are very powerful words. Terms like “because I said so” and “been there and done that” can send the wrong message so easily to the young mind. Powerful words like these, which can be interpreted with the wrong message or intent are dangerous and should be used sparingly. Parents need to engage their minds before engaging their lips.
I am no genius when it comes to being a parent, but, when I look at my grandchildren all playing together, interacting together, pushing and shoving each other, arguing with each other, and then sleeping together in the same bed sharing the same comfort “blankie”, it makes me think harder about what I say to them. It makes me remember that they are “hard-wired” to go through a “natural” process of learning how they will act outside of that sandbox. It is a beautiful process that all of us parents will unintentionally ruin soon enough.
We have an obligation to protect them, to teach them, allow them the freedom to grow and also to allow them to stumble and fail occasionally to prove to them that they are not invincible. We also need to let them find their own way and to show them how to protect themselves from the children of bad parents who ripped their children out of that sandbox and forced their adult views on their child’s mind at too early an age for them to understand the powerful words that were being spoken to them.
If we can pass on and try to practice what our kids learn in that sandbox, we may still have a chance at world peace. Won’t Miss America finally be happy????