Children Take Notes

      12 Comments on Children Take Notes

This video is banned apparently; don’t ask me why.

Perhaps it was banned because we abhor ugliness. As all sensible people know, nothing brings ugliness home- up close and personal- than a peek in the mirror. We’d rather think ugliness is out there, away from us; external to us. We try hard to deny that the monster we are trying to outrun glares at us out of our mirror everyday. The best solution, we are compelled to conclude, is to break all the mirrors. Then we’d be safe- we KNOW that!

We ban things of this kind. I am certain ostriches must be getting mighty exasperated with us.

I asked myself if children really see and do as sincerely as this video depicts or is it a gross exaggeration? Like a faithful servant, my memory dredged up evidence. You are welcome to decide if the evidence supports this entire children see children do concept or not. Your decision- as they say in unpardonable, pompous legalese, will be final.

I know many children who adopt the same mannerisms- tone of voice, choice of words, facial expression and even handwriting- of their parents. My own children are a resounding proof. My eldest one has had the longest time to observe me and it shows in her demeanor. She talks so much like me that people calling on the phone cant make out which of us they are speaking to. Since she doesn’t often read this blog, I can safely say that she could forge my cheques even if she were standing on her head. Not that it would do her any good, but its the principle of the thing.

Children copy the mental attitudes and fears of the most powerful adult they grow up around. It doesn’t necessarily have be a parent. It could be a teacher or another family member. Children raised in an environment of aggressive intolerance are a lot more likely to adopt those behaviors.

Their attitude about money and success is learned from the adults closest to them. Whether they believe in abundance or suffer from a acute feeling of scantiness, the belief was absorbed from an adult.

Substance abuse doesn’t only happen under peer pressure. Its roots lie in the habits of the adults they have observed. What scares me the most is that their sense of self- worth is also imbibed from their most influential adult’s sense of self- worth. The thought is enough to scare the living daylights out of me!

Social skills or their lack; perseverance and discipline; grit and determination- all of these are absorbed directly from the most influential adult in their lives. In the years of their deepest identity crisis (read teenage), they test these mental constructs they have absorbed by sheer osmosis. Some of them work for them, some do not.

It takes a strong effort of will to throw off the constructs that don’t work because they have already become a part of their psyche. Conditioning as powerful as that is traumatic to get away from. It feels a lot safer to keep wearing a borrowed skin- no matter how the child may chafe under its lacerating folds.

Only a very powerful cataclysmic event would unseat that conditioning as the child gets deeper and deeper into adulthood. More often than not, they live out all their days living out the script they were programmed into when they were too tender to resist the programming.

A few days ago I wrote a post which has a rather nifty story that puts the point across as compellingly as a heavy metal pipe smacking solidly across your windpipe and wrapping itself around your throat snugly as it takes its own sweet time tightening up to choke the breath out of you. I am sure you’re all agog. Go ahead and read it then, what are you waiting for?

Since I am sure you hate me already, there is no harm in rubbing it in some more.

If at all you are trying to hide under a Oh my children don’t pay the least attention to me! bit of fluff, I might as well laugh derisively in your face. Who are you kidding darlin’…? Those kids have got their eyes peeled and they are talking notes faster than you could ever say “Harry Potter”. There is, however, a bit of consolation I can throw your way if you feel as if you were two ticks away from a watery grave.

If your kids have already reached the they don’t pay the least attention to me stage, they’ve already absorbed all you had to offer. They are now in the testing stage. All the damage you could (SHOULD) have protected them from, is done irrevocably.

What was that? Did you just call me sunshine?! Oh, but how sweet! Thank you!

It is my middle name- one of them.

Picture: Mine

Picture: Mine

12 thoughts on “Children Take Notes

    1. Dagny Post author

      The credit for this post goes to you Ritu. The video you shared made me think… and this was the upshot. 😀

      Reply
  1. priyanka

    sharing what i wrote on fb, after sharing this link (which was found via a friend’s share:

    true true true, this post about children and where they pick up attitudes of abundance and scantiness (where else? parents). and unlearning all that is a thing indeed 😮 where’s money o where and every paisa to be accounted for and this and that.
    baba’s atti towards money spills over into his handling and/or sharing of it, with even people close to him. i can see where it comes from, his memories of scanty times with him being the eldest son and his father dying early. that bitterness of early struggle memories is a perpetual haunting for him.. dadu too struggled in many ways in his early years but it never embittered him. ma loves comparing both these attitudes, but what i’d like to do is choose the atti that resonates. and that’d be the attitude of abundance.
    my lessons come from a young friend, who comes from a pretty struggling background, but looking at her bright eyes, face and perpetual spinning of rainbow dreams and ‘let’s do it!’ attitude and madventurings with her many friends – got me seeing there are ways to see beyond the atti of scantiness. she called up for river talk on a day i was dying inside for river and sun and green:) she knew exactly when to call (and why would she not? her first gift to me when we met, was a green bird, and i’d given her a teeny earthen cat) she knows my isolation places inside and she knows how to pull me out with her ‘lets do it!’ laughter too. her boyfriend is training to be a firefighter, she loves the hosepipe with its amazing showers.
    step, by step, as attitudes of scantiness and abundance clash inside (i’d rather, they played), i learn. (self, learnings learnings everyday 🙂 while learning not to lean on. baby steps.)

    and sharing a memory: baba, whenever i used to handle money as a kid, would say, money is dirty. it comes via so hands. dn’t touch. money was a very adult place therefore, i never knew what to do around it.

    “It takes a strong effort of will to throw off the constructs that don’t work because they have already become a part of their psyche. Conditioning as powerful as that is traumatic to get away from. It feels a lot safer to keep wearing a borrowed skin- no matter how the child may chafe under its lacerating folds.” very true. the best part is, the baba from whom i picked up the scantiness atti, the same baba also told me willpower is a most amazing thing 🙂 so, using that to overcome this, should work, i guess 🙂 over time. thanks.

    Reply
    1. Dagny Post author

      Amen to your baby steps Priyanka. Loved the discussion on your FB post.
      I don’t mind us absorbing attitudes about other things, but I wish there was a way we could absorb selectively. I certainly wish I hadn’t absorbed my parent’s attitude about money. I have still not managed to throw off that particular bit of conditioning. And it trips me up all the time.
      Thank you for sharing my post. So glad it resonated with you. My job is done I guess. 🙂

      Reply
  2. C. Suresh

    Thank God I do not hv children. One of me is more than the world can stand 🙂

    The problem also is that the intolerant, rigid adult is the one who comes across as powerful and the more liberal and tolerant adult comes across as a wimp. Now what does that say about which way the future generations will progress and do I rank up there with you as a ray of sunshine? 🙂

    Reply
    1. Dagny Post author

      I think it is your natural modesty that shies you away from wanting a clone of you walking the earth. Most becoming. I, of course, have three kids. Modesty was never one of my strong suits. 🙂
      You aren’t just a ray of sunshine Suresh. You are a beam.

      Reply
  3. shail

    I want to quote a lot of lines from this awesome post.
    I thought of the post’s contents with relation to both my children and also myself as a child.
    “Children copy the mental attitudes and fears of the most powerful adult they grow up around. It doesn’t necessarily have be a parent. It could be a teacher or another family member.”
    I am wondering who it could be,the person from whom I copied my mental attitudes. I have been wondering all my life and am no closer to an answer even now. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Dagny Post author

      Have your attitudes changes over the years? To truly understand your conditioning, recall how you were before you hit your ‘identity crisis’ years. In the years to follow, we absorb influence from many sources… and even exercise a modicum of control over what enters our heads and makes a home there.

      I too wonder sometimes where I absorbed some of my most socially unacceptable idiosyncrasies. Not that I plan to change anything… still. 😀

      Reply
  4. deepseek

    “..their sense of self- worth is also imbibed from their most influential adult’s sense of self- worth” . This is absolutely true and though profound, it has a thousand practical implications in a child’s existence. A healthy sense of self-worth in adults require delving into the deeper questions of life and discovering one’s worth without reference to one’s possessions or those of others. A healthy sense of self-worth requires that we stop seeing ourselves from other people’s eyes or to put it in another way, we need to stop trying to see ourselves from outside the window while being inside that room. Children catch your sense of self-worth as their own and so if you are dependent on your BMW for your identity, the child too will have the same value system.

    Reply
    1. Dagny Post author

      Dilip, you’ve brought it all together in your last line. People whose sense of self worth is derived from their BMW… or from their Maruti, will deny this of course. Then they’ll wonder why their children aren’t more confident.

      Pleased as punch to see you here… as always. 😀

      Reply
    2. Amit

      Loved the last line of your comments. It holds the key to understand the kind of behaviour we see around us nowadays.
      Dagny – I really like the timings of these posts. I am absorbing them like a sponge.

      Reply
      1. Dagny Post author

        Amit, you’d be surprised to know how many times I think of you when I am writing one of my parenting posts. I am so very happy you find my posts timely… and like them well enough to absorb them. Thank you for the compliment. I am much pleased. 😀

        Reply

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