Once I was talking to a group of 10 and 11-year-old children. I asked them a simple question which reduced them to silence for some minutes. The question was this: “Do you want to grow up to be like your parents?”
Eventually one little girl spoke out. “No. I mean – my mum and dad are great and that, but if we grew up just like them, the world wouldn’t move on, would it? We’ve got to take it further.”
Once she’d spoken, the rest of the group looked relieved. They agreed. That was the truth they’d been searching for.
Ironic, isn’t it – we educate our kids to learn all the stuff the adults know – to try to turn out a bunch of people who will grow up just like us. What if we listened to them sometimes? They’re young, they’re not used to being heard and most of them don’t yet have the skills to put their message across as eloquently as that child did. By all means teach them how to communicate effectively and how to listen thoughtfully, but then listen to what they have to teach us. You might be very surprised…