In a recent post, I wrote about being kind to old people (or, in politically correct terms, senior citizens). In this post, I will express my views about being kind to young people, otherwise known as kids. Although it has been many decades since I was a kid, now that I have lived for more years than I have remaining in my life, I can still remember who, among my family, my parents’ friends, and the parents of my friends, was nice to me when I was a child. In addition, as is typical of me, I can also remember who was not so nice to me when I was a child. Because I am considerably younger than my brothers, I was often tagging long on my brother, Frank’s dates with his girlfriend, who is my dear sister-in-law, Sandy, as well as with my parents when they went to dinner with their friends. (I strongly preferred to stay home with my friend and baby sitter, Ola Mae, to spending time with my parents’ friends, but there were some occasions when my parents must have thought I should be included in outings with their out of town friends.) Some of my parents’ friends seemed genuinely happy to see me, while others obviously abhorred my presence (despite the fact that, by the age of 10 or so, I was more erudite than most adults and could hold my own in discussing current events or other “adult” subjects). I believe that, unless a child is badly behaved, ill/contagious with a disease, etc., he/she should be encouraged to join in parents’ and their friends’ activities. I also believe the child should be spoken to in the same tone in which adults are spoken to and asked about things of interest to him/her. I enjoy spending time with most of my friends’ children and have often been told I have helped the children in one or more positive ways. I do not endorse the philosophy of children being seen, but not heard, and I believe it is the duty of adults to be kind to everyone, including kids.
Like Melissa, I was fortunate growing up to have had adults treat me respectfully. In fact, I can’t remember any who did not. But, I do recall those who were tolerant or even welcoming, those who taught me to fish or hunt and about the outdoors in general. I recall adults who took an interest in me, and were kind. And, I suppose it is those experiences that lead me to say everyone, kids included, start out even in my mind. I want to learn what they are about. And, as long as they are well mannered, we’ll get along just find. I admit having low tolerance for ill mannered, “bratty” kids. We have all seen them in public. And, perhaps that is more reflective of their parents than the kids. But, when taking wildlife photos, I sometimes encounter genuinely curious kids who wonder what I’m shooting or what things look like through my lens. I’m happy to share, to reward their curiosity. Why wouldn’t I? Adults must know, intuitively or overtly, that helping others, young or old, learn, progress, and experience things in a positive way is one of the things that make the world go around.