At 11:00 pm last night, we found six year-old Caleb on the bathroom floor of our bedroom. He was on his knees with his forehead on the ground. A pretty disconcerting sight, to say the least. Since he’s never done anything like that before we were obviously startled and upset by the whole scene.
Six hours prior, a neighborhood boy told my kids that they weren’t allowed to play with him or even go in his front yard. Caleb had played with this boy and another on the street for years, running around the cul-de-sac with various toy guns, riding bikes and generally playing games that kids play. In an instant, that all changed. The boys he identified as friends were no longer that, fueled by parents who thought this act and way of handling things is ok because, you know, “kids will be kids.” The allure of the cul-de-sac as a playground has now been ripped away from Caleb. The rejection of friends has shattered his little spirit. How that will now affect him going forward remains to be seen.
It’s easy to dismiss such things as “kids will be kids” and to even ridicule why I’m giving this matter attention but, as I stated in my prior post, our children is where it all starts. If you’re concerned about how we treat each other these days, how we have little respect for one another, and how we continue to carve ourselves into little “us versus them” groups, take a look at how we lay the foundation of such ills by simply dismissing – and often supporting – how our children negatively interact (or don’t interact) with one another.
I’m reminded of my visit to Rwanda where bloodshed that ripped apart a nation was largely dismissed by the West as “Africans being Africans,” referring to the frequent tribal conflicts there. Heinous thoughts or rationalizations like this are simply not acceptable. It’s not acceptable when referring to other groups. And it’s not acceptable when referring to our children.
The Bible states that a nation of “fierce countenance” is one that “shows no respect for the old and no pity for the young.” Are we now that nation?
From my immediate perspective, the following photos show what happens when we think and support that “kids will be kids” is ok: