Sometimes, it feels like I've been a teacher for eons—all age groups, kaleidoscope of backgrounds, boys and girls—and I've learnt so much from ‘my’ children. The biggest lesson has been never to use the words good and bad with them. The gravity of this didn’t strike me all those years, though I always found that listening to the kids’ point of view, when there were problematic issues always opened up a new line of thinking. And nine times out of ten, they were right and we were blinded by our ‘experience’.
Children have their own personalities. And they want to be respected for this. Thus the use of words ‘good’ and ‘bad’ when we talk about them - and to them - through their growing-up years can cause a lot of harm.
An act of theirs, may or may not be acceptable to us, but to call them-the kids-good or bad for these acts can be painful at best and disastrous at worst. Good and bad by whose lights? By giving them these labels which are likely to change every time they do something, which we consider okay or not, only succeeds in confusing them. So, am I a good child or a bad child.
One adult may call them good and the next adult who comes along may call them bad... so the question again—what am I? Good or bad? This when it carries on into adult life, if not resolved, can cause severe feelings of low self-worth, deep pain, and insecurity about the self. By getting into the good child - bad child state of mind, adults stunt children by not instilling in them the confidence to question things, find their own answers and solutions and see what fits them best, or what suits them. Adults in fact take away the whole joy of their discovering themselves and finding out where their strengths lie. Instead of giving them the freedom to experiment and find themselves, adults put them on the please-everyone mode—‘be the good child’ mode. Life throws us all challenges at all ages... and we need to have the security of space to find our own path. The good-bad label only serves to stunt us into living a lie...