Careful the things you say,
Children will listen.
Careful the things you do,
Children will see and learn.
Children may not obey
But, children will listen.
Children will look to you
For which way to turn,
To learn what to be.
Careful before you say,
“Listen to me.”
Children will listen.
– Into the Woods
Dear adults and people in charge,
So I was sitting around thinking about things like one does when procrastinating. When I was five, I was a part of the Girl Scouts. I guess it was on my mind because I’ve eaten two boxes of cookies. Thanks, Scouts.
Anyway, I remembered this time we took a troop field trip. I really don’t remember where we went or why we were doing this. I was five. Seriously. I remember nothing. Except what one my leaders said.
We were coloring on some kind of weird cloth? I think we had to choose a picture and draw it. It represented something important maybe. I don’t know. Anyway, I do remember choosing a crescent moon. Mine turned into a half moon, but I was still okay with it. I was a kid, what did I care?
That is, until my leader told me I should try to make it look more like the picture next time.
Lemme just say, it has been fifteen years (wow) and I still suck at art. I can’t draw. I’m terrible. I’m awful. I can’t explain how bad it is. So I guess I’m not upset she told me I couldn’t draw. I’m upset because this adult leader in my life said something so discouraging that I still remember it today. I don’t even remember her, but I remember what she said.
I think back to this time as the first time I realized my best effort would never be good enough.
I’m not going to say this one incident led to a lifetime of not feeling adequate, but I think it says something that from my entire Girl Scout experience, this is the only thing I remember. (This isn’t a slam at Girl Scouts either. Keep selling those cookies and doing you, girls.)
I guess now that I’m technically an adult for some stupid reason, younger people look to me for an example. They don’t know any better. I thought of this story and realized how the little things we say can impact a person so strongly, especially a little person.
We are the adults responsible for raising the next generation of world leaders and parents and teachers and humans and whatever else you want to add. No pressure.
I’m not going to go into a huge lesson to be learned from this. It’s a simple one. Just be nice to children. They are beautiful and they listen to us and we have the ability to build them up or tear them down. We choose.