Inspiring Change Through Literature and Media
It’s another Children’s Day, and I’ve been musing on a critical attribute and how it relates to children.
That quality is a ‘major‘ in my culture.
You know those unwritten and unspoken ‘spices‘ of life.
Yet learn them one must, else he is sentenced to a life of unnecessary hardship regardless of who he is, where he is from or what he has. Especially in this democratic era.
I often wonder whether this attribute is a virtue or a vice; and most times, I conclude that it must be somewhere in-between…
Talk of those faint lines anyone could easily cross without even noticing anything is amiss! Those things in life that could be as evil as they could be good!
My humble verdict however, is that on which side such things fall depends on our intention and the mode of application of the truth we know.
That is to say, in this case, diplomacy might be a virtue when beyond self interest, it takes into account the interest of others, and the common good of all. Any less noble agendum, especially selfishness would make it a vice.
All war represents a failure of diplomacy…
Part of diplomacy is to open different definitions of self interest
Nevertheless, this attribute has fast become a must-have soft skill for a smooth sail in our society- from coast to coast, from the corners of our rooms to the board room…
In as much as I don’t believe in twisting the truth, I am also of the opinion that for a peaceful coexistence, there are times when one needs to use his discretion, especially in things he chooses NOT to say or do under certain circumstances.
It is all about being empathetic and sensitive to the needs of others.
But what is it about kids and Diplomacy?
Even children show what they are by what they do; you can tell if they are honest and good.
Considering the fact that I, for one, was never brought up to be diplomatic, (but to be myself and call a spade a spade in every given circumstance regardless of whose horse is gored), makes me often wonder if it is ever possible to teach some things to children without corrupting their simplicity and innocence.
Besides, there is this thought of how children often make grown-ups look silly when we demand from them things beyond their capabilities; for example, when we expect from them at least a little bit of more discretion in the tenderness of their age and stage in life.
For example, how on earth could someone teach a child to use her or his discretion especially in things she or he chooses NOT to do or say in certain scenarios without doing injustice to their pure and unfeigned innocence? Without corrupting the beauty of their simple hearts?
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ
–2 Corinthians 11:3 (KjV)
Hmmmmmmm. Only God can give parents the wisdom required for such!
However in my humble opinion, and based on my own experience, some things are best learned with age- and not taught!
Now, To The Story…
This episode I’m about to share happened about twelve years ago, while spending some holidays at my elder sister Dammy’s place.
Her daughter Angela was about three then. (Angela is now 15).
While still hanging out in church after service one Sunday, a friendly neighbour, let’s call her Esther, offered Angela some candies out of goodwill.
Angela collected the candies with thanks, and started munching right away, forgetting to inform her Mum first as earlier instructed to do on such occasions.
Now, there was absolutely nothing wrong with the gesture. Besides, not seeking her Mum’s approval was not an unpardonable sin.
However, my sister hated candies and wouldn’t allow her kids touch any with a long spoon for the health of their teeth.
So you can imagine her horror when she came to the scene and found her daughter munching on candies!
You guessed right- Dammy was startled!
And without inquiring about where the candies came from, she calmly asked Angela to spit them and throw them in the trash can.
Angela obeyed without any resistance. I guess she already had enough anyway.
About a minute later, Esther appeared and chatted away with Dammy.
And as she was about leaving, she turned to Angela and asked,
“Where are the candies I gave you Angie?”
You can’t imagine Angela’s response!
With a shrill sharp voice and wide open eyes, Angela almost accusingly, but rather innocently exclaimed, “My Mummy asked me to throw them away!”
My sister went pale!
And as for me, I felt like taking to my heels…
If you are familiar with the African culture, I’m sure you’ll get the drift…
(Our love for community compels us to care about how Esther would be convinced that it wasn’t about her and that there wasn’t more to Dammy asking her kid to throw the candies away!)
If Angela had only been less blunt…(laughing out loud). If only she had said it more calmly -and explained better…
To healthy, brilliant and godly Children!
Funmi Adebayo (c) 2013