One thing I’ve come to realize while my text books sit in front of me open and waiting for my attention is my disgust with age separation.
At holiday dinners my family did have a separate children’s table, but the separation of half-lings and adults was only during the meal. All through the party kids and adults mingled. I would go off and play with my friends, of course. But I also sat in on many of my parent’s and their friends’ conversations. I was never told to “go play with my friends” nor was I ever dismissed or told be quiet because the adults were talking. I was treated as someone who had ideas and things to add to the conversation (even if I didn’t do so often, because I’m a relatively quiet person.) I never felt that separation of being a child in a room full of adults; I never felt like someone who was thought of having less intelligence or value because my time on earth had been far less than the people who surrounded me. While I couldn’t always relate, I was still an equal.
I’m seventeen now and I finally feel that separation. I didn’t notice it at first, then out of the blue it hit the center of my heart. My first thought was how terrible it must feel to live like that your whole life. Now a days when I speak to certain adults it feels like all they’re waiting for is for me to stop speaking so they can continue talking to other adults. They aren’t really listening, because what could I know? I”m just a highschool student who must not know anything about anything.
With the mind set of separation of age or gender (”Why don’t you go talk with the ladies? I’m sure all this guy stuff is boring you.”) comes a divide in community. Kids won’t know how to be friends with people who aren’t their age. On another note (that should probably be an entire post by itself) is we expect girls and boys to one day spend the rest of their lives together under the same roof, but we won’t let them be friends. Children need to know how to interact with people who are different from them.
Kids will also think they aren’t important or intelligent until they reach a certain age. “The age” that’s supposed to possess all the power. “The age” that makes all your words somehow count, even thought they didn’t last week.
I think we should stop giving age so much credit, one age isn’t better than another. After all, age is just a number…Correction, it’s a word.
If you’ve realized you’re one of those people, next time you come across a child, speak to them (I’m talking about if they’re a child of someone you know, also don’t be creepy). If they’re short, get down on their level so you can make eye contact and hear them well. Compliment them and ask them questions, especially if they have a piece of art or a craft. Find a way to relate to the child, like “Oh I love that show too! I watched it when I was your age.” Or “That’s my favorite color!” If another adult says “stop bothering them!” Reassure the rude person the child is not bothering you and continue speaking to the child because clearly the child is better company.
I hope this post has got you thinking. Best wishes to you and your loved ones.