The carefree joy of young children is a beautiful sight to behold, one unmatched by most others and cherished by almost all. Yet lurking somewhere beneath that joy is a truth we choose not to acknowledge, for it is both too vile and too disheartening.
Upon hearing the word trauma, or reading it as you would have done as you began reading this post, one instantly forms images of grueling incidents leaving horrid impacts, mental as well as physical. However, the worst form of trauma, so abominable we tend to deny its very existence, is carried out in our own homes, on what is most unfortunately a daily basis.
This trauma doesn’t stem from gross physical abuse or senseless mental torture, though the picture painted is quite the model for what this post is all about, it evolves instead from everyday occurrences, incidents so trivial they ought not to even be labelled “incidents”.
It is not always that I sit upon my desk and decide that I wish to write about tortures faced by children. Today I had come to my computer, or pen for the dramatic effect, with the intent of writing about the incomparable importance of chocolate but could think of nothing else as I spoke to a friend of mine except for the kind of mental torture the poor dear must be facing.
It has been said often enough, perhaps too many times already so my saying it again shouldn’t make much of a difference, that children are like soft clay which hasn’t yet been moulded into a definite shape; essentially mud but we like to treat them better. Clay, if you care deep enough to find out, is impossibly difficult to work with: it flows and runs and cracks when setting and bakes too quickly to be of any use.
Thus, evidently, clay requires careful handling and the potters, friends and family, have unto them the great responsibility of shaping us and our futures. Yet in shaping that future of their children, these parents lay aside the present circumstance of the “present” wet clay. In their mad driven rush to have their child sell for the maximum value at the shop, the completely look over the delicate process of pottery.
From the day that the little ones learn their first words, they are subjected to this cruel torture. Constant comparisons with other, apparently factory made, children, constant nagging, constant shouts of disappointment, constant unrealistic expectations, the works. Children get over this, rather, they accept it as a norm and learn to live with it somehow, and hence there is nothing to get over.
My aim is not to antagonize parents or relatives, they give us life and help us preserve it therefore antagonizing them would be grossly unjust, but only to show that there are things which children go through which don’t seem worth fussing over but in fact are. They don’t leave very visible marks upon the “victims” of these incidents but they leave a very deep psychological impact which harms the mind in the long run.
Does this mean that all stern words spoken to children should be arrested? Of course not; that would be unfeasible to the point of being absurd. This post is not aimed at delivering a message at all actually. This post is only intended to show that when the “culprits” use the merciless weapon that is the tongue upon unsuspecting children, then the children are affected.
I have been perhaps more fortunate than many others, in that whereas I may have had more than my fair share of nagging, I have had a decent amount of care and concern to negate it. Others endure much tougher, and yet others, like the friend I spoke of earlier, endure far less, but they endure nonetheless.
The habit I have of storing advice which I spoke of a few days ago merits me here as well. These words came from the mouth of my fifth grade class teacher, and it is she I credit, I don’t like to use the word blame, for my turning out the way I am today. She said: “I encourage you to take people’s criticism well, so that you can learn from them and subsequently take away from them the opportunity to criticise. But before you do that, you have to see whether it is criticism or simply a comment which you ought to ignore”.
I have tried to follow that little piece of wisdom all my life. Whenever someone chucked a condescending comment my way I tried to take it at its best, and found that mostly I could learn something. Home was always a dodgy place for me, though, because whereas I could gather the comments and compliments of outsiders as thorny flowers, the jibes of family stung like cacti.
Time passes and we learn. We learn what it feels like to receive compliments and what it feels like to be reprimanded. We like the former and dislike the latter so we open up more to compliments. We take comments severely to heart for a moment and lose the pain in good faith moments later.
It’s not the heart that worries me; the heart is a fool which doesn’t know what to do unless it’s told. It’s the mind that keeps me awake at nights, for the mind knows all and it keeps all, and you never know when the mind may tire.