It’s school holidays, and I took Saturday off for my nephew. It turned out to be a fun day, and we even started the Father’s Day celebration six hours early.
We played tons of games, and it reminded me of how little things make children so happy. So, we decided to pick a song, each of us, and then everyone must dance to that song or copy the person who picked the song when they dance. So, there we were, each one picking their song when my nephew said, “I like that song, but I am worried that you guys won’t like it.”
Immediately, I looked at him and said I need to stop everything and spend the next two to three minutes to ensure that he doesn’t live his whole life by the words that we all heard him say.
“Son, don’t worry whether we like that song or not. What matters is that you like it. Your whole life people will tell you they don’t like what you like and even if they like it, so what? Whether we like it or not, we have to accept that it was your choice.”
There we were, whether it was a song we could dance to or not we all taught ourselves to be even more conscious of judgement and aware of acceptance.
Not only that, “I like that song, but I am worried that you guys won’t like it,” left silence in the room for all of us to think for a second about who we were and what we were doing in our lives. I am glad to be in the company of my nephew after being a solo traveller for years, so I make it a point to zoom into what he’s saying and where he’s coming from and then there are times when my ears are sore with his chatter.
A child’s company and thinking is refreshing when you have just enough time and space to be able to go into solitude and think about where they were coming from when they said what they said, or when they say what they say. “I like that song, but I am worried that you guys won’t like it,” was such a powerful sentence and so simple at the same time. I ask how often we miss these opportunities to change ourselves through the pure vision of a child and how many of us stop and think for a second and remind us of how we’ve conformed to the world and their idea of how one should do, be, act, say, feel, write etc.
Catch your child’s thoughts, your nephew or niece’s thoughts on just that, catch it and take that very second to put them straight before you have a string of things that follow in that same pattern in their lives. Luckily that was the first time I heard him say something along the lines of, “I like that song, but I am worried that you guys won’t like it.” It was sentences like that which I wish someone told me when I was his age, i.e. that honest and simple truth which took one to three minutes to clarify so that a child can remove that block and increase their potential one notch which in this case I am hoping he will keep all his life.
After all, isn’t that all of our problems even to this day? You always finishing something, starting something or reinventing something and along the way you forget this one little detail that has been passed to you somewhere along the line in your life that you say why are things not going as good as they once were? Should I say, it’s mindset that creates motivation. As I observe the topics people speak about closely over the last one and a half years most of the conversations are boiling down to a different story with the same theory behind the, “I like that song, but I am worried that you guys won’t like it,” story.
Judgement and lack of acceptance are the reasons why there’s so much hurt, pain, lack of vulnerability, lack of honesty in this world because there’s so much of it going around. Why are schools not creating activities for kids to accept each and other’s personalities instead of everyone accepting the popular kid and the kid that seems to be the “weirdest” is the one that gets the judgement and lack of acceptance. Who wants to be that kid, right? That is why so many children are playing a game from such a young age to even college to not be classified as “the weird kid”.
I mean there are obvious reasons to not wanting to be “the weird kid,” and that is because every child is afraid of being bullied. They play off their “weirdness” (by the way what is weird when you all are children or young adults who are not even fully developed through life experience?) onto the kid or teenager that is timid. The timid child is likely to accept the judgement and lack of acceptance because they’ve been tainted over time and can’t seem to turn it around unless (someone or some event) steps in.
Weirdness should change to different. The world is being redefined by the young generation and old habits and patterns from generations above that need to change. Some children have divorced parents, separated parents, single parents with no other support, kids who come from broken backgrounds that need a stronger support circle and if they spend more of their time at school than home friendships without judgment and acceptance will help them flourish. That “I like that song, but I am worried that you guys won’t like it,” will be a thing of the past that hopefully one day I’ll be able to see gone. Just imagine how the rate of bullying could drop with this concept that hopefully in the future, the workplace would be one where work bullying and its roots would already have been tackled.
T. Dench Patel