Kids Have Opinions

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. . . but we often dismiss them without considering them.

When I was growing up, I was full of ideas (well, I still am haha). However, when I shared those ideas with the people who had the power to change things, many times it was brushed off as, ‘Oh you’re just a kid, you don’t know what you are talking about.” And no consideration was ever given to them, even if it was something that I had successfully seen happen elsewhere.

Now I’m not saying all my ideas were great and fabulous ones, because I know I’ve had my fair share of duds, but I do think they at least deserved some consideration instead of immediate dismissal. And if they aren’t outright dismissed, they are often told they are being disrespectful or talking back if they voice a different opinion.

But I think that, for whatever reason, we think that kids are better than adults and that the opinions of adults matter more. Children should be seen and not heard, you know?

But why? Yes it is true that adults have more life experience and they may have more knowledge, but why does that make them better? I used to think I was better than other people just because I know a lot of stuff, a lot more than some other people, but that doesn’t make me better, it just makes me differently gifted. And kids are differently gifted than adults, but that doesn’t make adults better.

I think sometimes when we grow up, we forget what it was like to be a child. So full of wonder and curiosity and ideas. So many of our own ideas have been shot down by others that it is easy to shoot down the ideas of a child. And while every idea someone has is not a good idea, it costs us nothing to at least consider the idea – it doesn’t mean we have to say yes. And kids can sometimes teach us remarkable things – I have learned more since becoming a parent than I ever imagined possible. Kids see the world differently and they can help you see the world differently if you open up and let them.

I’m not saying kids should not respect adults, because they should (just as adults should respect kids). But I don’t think asking questions or giving suggestions or ideas is disrespectful. It’s a part of life. And I think if you encourage kids to talk to you, they will be more open to coming to you when they mess up or when they need help, because if you see your parents as people who don’t listen to you, why would you come to them when you need help?

Lastly, I want to leave you with one of my favorite Bible verses (not my all time favorite, but in the top). “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” – 1 Timothy 4:12 I think we too often look down on our kids simply because they are younger than us, but that is not a reason to look down on them. But, kids also have a responsibility in this verse too – to set an example of how we are to live. And I guess this brings me to tomorrow, where I’ll talk about the question of behavior vs. heart in kids.

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