Why Adults Should be Authentic To Children and Why Authenticity Matters!
We all in one way or the other find ourselves in places which otherwise we wished not to be, for you may get lost or lose part of self-who you truly are or meant to be! But it’s okay because it’s still you and your life! If you can be you and be yourself, perhaps it’s the very best way to be authentic as a person!
When it comes to being authentic as an adult, you try your best to teach and model how you want your children to respect you, relate to you, and to others-we teach children to tell the truth. To be honest and respectful. In doing so, we create harmonious relationships based on honesty, truthfulness, and trust.
And so, think about the statement, adults should be authentic to children, and consider what does it mean, and why authenticity matters!
Being authentic as adults means being trustworthy and genuine especially to children. To show a true color of who you are when interacting with both children and other adults so that young children too can learn to tell the truth and to be trustworthy and genuine in what they do and say, hence build mutual understanding, respect, and better relationships.
The world we live in today is so complex that it demands adults to be more sensitive in the way you interact and respond to young children.
Unlike any other time, today’s society poses many challenges to both adults and young children as such we have lost patience and wisdom in the way we interact with one another. The current wave of unfounded and untrustworthy news, fake news, and lies have brought divisions in the society and among ourselves-it is creating dishonest and untruthfulness which leads to confusion, anger, and chaos among the people.
Lack of authenticity whether it’s in the public arena, in the workplace, or in the homes create suspicion, confusion, confrontation, and anger. When children are witnessing adults doing things and saying things that are not genuine and untrustworthy, it’s a recipe for disaster for the future society. How can an adult tell a child not to lie when the adult lies in front of the children? How can you tell a child to stop yelling and use soft tune/polite words, when children witness adults yelling and use derogatory language against fellow adults and/or even on younger children?
We know why preschoolers’ lie because children of this age group lying is a normal part of development, and they don’t lie all the time! Also, children in this age group don’t yet understand to a large extent that lying is being dishonest and its wrong! For them making up stories that are not true, or boldly exaggerating things is normal since they have not quite learned what is fantasy and what is a reality! If a preschooler said he can fly his car to the moon, the adults understand! And may suggest, you wish you were an astronaut, don’t you?
Needless, to say, is the child’s lie the same as an adult’s lie? And if a lie is a lie, does the age of the liar be in question?
As an educator and a parent, I know how frustrating it is to confront or address the lying behavior. Lying behavior is a behavior that makes most adults go nuts, and when children lie, they are sure to be disciplined. An adult can do a lot to discipline a lying child-teach more honest behavior, model truthfulness, set specific rules and consequences for lying, etc.
Now on the flip side, what can be done when adults lie?
What is currently trending is that what is true is a lie or fake; and what is fake, or lie is turned into being the truth (fake-truth or disruptive lies)! What some crocked and deceptive minds at its core when adults lie intentionally and knowingly? What teachings and/or impact this have on the young and growing minds of our children?
Adults especially those in power lie just to sell an idea, to defend an ideology, to steal people’s willpower; and or to cause disruption to the civilized minds so that they can push unpopular agenda or steal votes to win! But they too are responsible for setting good examples on how to persuade people without disruptive lies.
Saying shame to the proponents of fake news is not enough because such people when they cease to be creative, they invent disruptive lies. When they lose persuasive power, they threaten with disruptive lies. ENOUGH with disruptive lies!
When you know adults are telling disruptive lies, especially those in the leadership positions it is imperatively smart to counteract their lies because their disruptive lies affect the large population-it distort the value of morality in the society and our children’s moral upbringing. Persistent disruptive lies create enormous problems in the society and among the people. Some of the problems include fuel anger, cause suspicion, confrontation, and chaos, but above all, it creates division.
Time after time, we have witnessed anger unfolding and displayed in public, confrontation among media on perspectives can get heated and overwhelmed-each side trying to win a point against the other and individual groups divided and confronting one another with anger and aggression.
Most recently, we witnessed poor and at times, irresponsible responses from adults against children who were protesting for rigorous guns control measures during the March for Our Live rallies and afterward! Some adults still cannot contain themselves to have a civil debate and or constructive conversation on way forward in confronting the gun violence problem amicably.
The civil debate and the constructive conversation for the common good of humanity and the public health is eroding in our today’s society. Adults lying is the new normal but the biggest problem that causing such erosion in our society today! And where adults couldn’t lie, bullying and invasion of personal privacy with the intent to cause fear, to harass, and/or to silence takes its place!!!
To be authentic in today’s world is as hard as asking a frog to show its tail! However, it doesn’t have to be that way if you become aware of what to do when things are ought to be done for the common good and public health; just as the youth of Parkland, Florida and other places decided to lead the way toward finding sensible gun control measures. They organized the largest crowd of peaceful protesters in the US history after too many schools’ shootings which killed many students and adults as well; and demanded a change of the current gun control status quo!
The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Youth-led March for Our Lives Movement was a reaction against adults in public leadership positions for failing to stand firmly to address seriously measures to curb gun violence in schools. Because adults have been playing politics and disruptive lies about the real problems of gun violence in schools and in the community, these young children raised and declared ENOUGH, and # NEVER AGAIN! Their safety while in schools is now a priority!
When children start doubting what adults are telling them they will revolt! When adults won’t do what they should to do or say, clashes between adults and children arise! And when adults and children clash, what is the adults do?
If adults cease to model honesty and truthfulness for a notable period, children take note and soon chances of clashing ideas and competing for power struggle becomes inevitable and the positive interactions and responses become difficult and counterproductive.
John Mason Brown once said, “Reasoning with a child is fine if you can reach the child’s reason without destroying your own.”
Subsequently, adults are ultimate role models for children. Every word, movement, and action have an effect-if you can listen more, respect more and understand one another more, you will prevent and solve more problems that divide us.