Do we actually like children?

By April 22, 2015 Uncategorized 4 Comments

Before reading this blog, I would really appreciate you watching this clip first, as it is fundamental to the rest of the post: National Geographic: High Frequency Hearing Test. I’m sure that, like me, you found it frustrating, that as the pitch went up, you couldn’t hear certain frequencies – or perhaps you’re younger than I am!

 

Why have I asked you to watch that clip? Well, you see, in my most recent blog (here) I stated that I wanted to be a mosquito – now I’m not so sure!

 

The reason?

 

Well, at the ITL meeting on Friday (in the last blog) I heard about a device called… The Mosquito and it has made me question whether I really want to be one too!

 

For those of you not acquainted with this device, there is a clear exposition of its ‘benefits’ on the website of Compound Security (just one company offering this route to loiter free areas.) But on seeing this, I have to ask myself – do I live in a society where children are this disliked, let alone valued? Are we now in a place where young people are simply seen as a pest or nuisance? True, the adage of ‘children should be seen and not heard’ has long been quoted – I was often told it as a child, but I think the Mosquito device shows that the pendulum has swung too far.

 

limited-rights

 

In fact, why do we still live in a society where children are described as, ‘too clever by half’, or ‘too clever for their own good’ (and how is this really possible)? I wonder how far we have truly come in many ways from some of the Victorian attitudes towards children that my daughter learnt about as a Year 5 last year? Whilst we may not enforce work (in Britain), and it may be true that there are many improvements in children and young people’s lives – advantages that some of us could not have dreamed of, I’m not 100% convinced I’d want to trade places with my daughter!

As you will see from the website, one of the (apparent) positives of The Mosquito is that it abides by human rights – however, what about the rights of children? Yet, looking at the UNICEF Conventions on the rights of the child (here) one has to wonder if these are all being met. For example, I wonder how many teenagers – who the device is particularly targeted at, were asked their views on The Mosquito, as per UNICEF’s Article 12? Perhaps if more areas addressed Article 31 there wouldn’t be such a need for the device at all?

 

In fact, perhaps most distressing is the fact that the device has also been debated in Parliament. In February 2010 the then Home Secretary Alan Johnson rejected calls to ban the device (here). This (again) is not a political point, but it is not something that I have heard being addressed by any of the political parties in the upcoming election. What about the wider points, what about our society – how do we see children and young people? How do we value them, their opinions and talents? What is it we want/ expect from them? And, more importantly, how do we support them to achieve all of this? Or do we disrespect them, ignore their wants and then blame them when – unsupported, they are anti-social? Can they be anti-social if we have not included them within the society we want to create, but simply expect them to be an afterthought added on to conform to our decisions? Or perhaps I’m too optimistic and expect this to be true.

 

I think blame has become too big an issue with children and young people. We see what we have created and then perversely blame them for it. Perhaps the greatest youth icon of all time summed it up best for young people:

 

James Dean on Youth

James Dean on Youth

 

Isn’t this what we wanted as youths? Didn’t we think we were invincible? Maybe we should actually listen to children more and in that way understand them better. This point was brilliantly summed up by Marilyn Manson in an interview with Michael Moore in ‘Bowling for Columbine’ (here). This interview is in response to being blamed for the tragedy in Columbine, his response…’Listen to them’!

 

Therefore, I have decided that:

 

  • I don’t want to be part of a society that views young people in this way. But this isn’t enough, I need to actively promote the brilliance of children and young people and allow others to see their value and amazing talents.

 

  • I don’t want to be part of a society that sees young people as a product for us to deliver into adulthood. To do this I need to ensure I listen to those I work with, and my own daughter and act on what they say.

 

  • I don’t want to be part of a sanitised society where mistakes are wrong. So I need to continue to promote the Growth Mindset work of Dweck (see here) and find great examples, such as Edison to promote and embracement of failure as part of the learning process.

 

But most of all I realise I may be a mosquito – small, but can make a difference, but I would rather be an elephant. Why? Simple, elephants are social beasts and embody the motto, ‘it takes a village to raise a child’, as every member of the herd is responsible for the adult elephant the calf becomes (clearly the antithesis of the treatment of Dumbo!) But, as these quotes, by far more intelligent luminaries than I show, it is our responsibility (and fault) to get the children our society wants and deserves.

 

Mandela on children

Mandela on children

 

quote-no-society-that-feeds-its-children-on-tales-of-successful-violence-can-expect-them-not-to-believe-margaret-mead-284818

 

 

quote-if-you-want-to-be-creative-stay-in-part-a-child-with-the-creativity-and-invention-that-jean-piaget-296567

 

So, finally, what will you do? Will you make the situation better, or simply look back as a grandparent/ in old age and realise the missed opportunities and only then count the costs? For, as Dr Seuss said:

 

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About M Creasy

4 Comments

  • Debra Kidd says:

    Spot on Mark. Some years ago people in our village installed this device in their gardens. My son, who was delivering newspapers to their houses got such a terrible headache from them that he had to quit his round. I complained at the time but not one of them removed their devices and the newspaper shop just kept employing new boys to take each other’s places. It seemed to me then and now that this was a deeply inhumane act. I sometimes can’t quite believe we call ourselves a civilised society.

    • M Creasy says:

      Thanks Debra!

      I still can’t believe this device, I had heard about one to get rid of cats from the garden, but for children? I wonder if this was for another group in society; OAPs for example, if this would be so acceptable/ accepted?

  • trendyhendy says:

    Does the Mosquito keepUkip from our front doors?Might persuade me!

    • M Creasy says:

      I doubt it, given the pitch is targeted at teenagers – but I’m sure one could/ would be developed. I reckon that one would get more negative publicity and ultimately be banned, unlike the current one!

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