Don’t Underestimate Children

There’s a thread in many modern-day discussions that honestly perplexes me. I often hear that the color of someone’s skin or gender must be represented equally in all media in order for children to have role models, otherwise, they have no idea who to emulate.

Is that true?

I don’t want to assume anyone else’s viewpoint, but that idea never has occurred to me.

I grew up during a time when women were undervalued as role models especially in the cinematic arena, yet I never once examined a role model on such superficial grounds. Understandably, most of my “heroes” were men during a time when women were oft portrayed as running through the jungle in high heels and pearl necklaces. LOL But my heroes weren’t ever examined (by me) as anything other than courageous, principled, and unselfish. All those things were based on character and none of them ever seemed to be out of my reach. Those were qualities that I deemed heroic no matter who had them.

Nowadays, adults are suggesting black little girls are incapable of having heroes who weren’t ever “black little girls” or little boys can’t look up to Margaret Thatcher or Harriet Tubman! Give me a break. Are these people aware of how many children have been inspired by a parent of the opposite sex?
A ‘good’ and ‘heroic’ character has no specific color or gender. Kids can understand the difference. (I’m speaking as a kid who did that.)

What’s particularly disturbing about this new “progressive” trend is the early message it sends. That emphasis on race and gender are overshadowing the ease with which all people can perceive ‘good character’. I haven’t decided whether the foundation of that viewpoint is malicious or just utterly ignorant.

Let me tell you how easily we can- without intending to-send destructive messages.

In my early years, dentistry check-ups were becoming more humane and available by leaps and bounds. People, my parent’s age, had grown up during a more barbaric period and legitimately feared going to the dentist. Although kids my age were not in danger of much discomfort (Now there’s almost no discomfort.), it was a common practice for parents to encourage their children while enroute to the dentist to “be brave”. The level of fear and avoidance of preventative dental care continued way beyond what was expected simply because of that loving reminder. Proper dental care was set back for at least a decade!

Another angle on “kids aren’t stupid” is found in the TV my generation watched. The Honeymooners would make feminists and “Me Too” activists faint if it were a new show. Ralph Kramden was a blowhard and male chauvinist to the core. Those who believe kids mimic all behaviors they witness (and only behaviors of those they ‘look like’) might also think every boy would have automatically copied Ralph’s attitude. But kids aren’t mindless and the only adults who kids actually mimic are predominantly their parents. Ralph came off as a silly man who was lucky to have Alice (who never appeared to be even slightly frightened). I didn’t know any kid who thought he was an admirable character. He was actually a laughable example of how foolish those attitudes were in plain sight! Kids knew better then and would know better now.

So, kids can easily discern fools from heroes and phonies from those with real character. They’re occasionally better at it than many adults. Children operate on almost all instinctive levels while adults concern themselves with etiquette and status often ignoring their instincts thus second guessing their perceptions.

Protecting kids from “life” creates ill-equipped and easily led adults. If you don’t believe it look around. Aggrieved and overwhelmed youth are everywhere. IMHO… that could have been avoided if we hadn’t started underestimating them.


Good Grammar

Good grammar never ends…

Use among when you say friends.

Say between when there are two.

Don’t say me and you.

Make a list, you’re at the end.

Unthaw  means frozen,  friend.

Ain’t  is not a word.

You don’t want to be absurd.

Less is an amount.

Use fewer when you count.

You are much too smart

To let speech fall apart.

There are rules in every game.

Good grammar needs the same.