The saying is ever true, ‘evil communication corrupts good manners.’ Communication, depending on its nature has direct impact on a person’s manners. I think this is very instructive. Therefore our communication with children should be guided by the truth and predicated on values. Truth here refers to universal principles of how God created this world to function. Values here refer to our pillars of inner strength. We owe it to our children to communicate truth and value and present them with positive options.
To help our children develop healthy worldview, we must not only communicate truth and value to them, we must teach them how to communicate same. In all our engagement with children, we must communicate value and truth, even when it is on the lighter mood. The psyche of children takes things serious and may not be able to decipher between when you are joking or serious.
All that their psyche grabs is to believe what you communicate as the truth of life and they begin to pattern their behaviour after same. I will give you an example. It was April Fools’ Day. The principal of a school, on the morning assembly brought out a married male teacher and a married female teacher and announced to the pupils that this man and woman already married to different spouses to the knowledge of the pupils, were going to be getting married. As the pupils were still trying to make sense out of the confusing announcement of the principal, he again announced, ‘April Fools.’ As far as the principal was concerned, he was celebrating April Fools Day with the children. But as far as the children were concerned, even more than their understanding could admit, they were being taught something deeper.
First, what effort has the school made to talk to the pupils about the significance of April Fools, if any? If efforts have not been made to educate children on the significant of April Fools’ Day (if any), the principal may be teaching the children more than he ever bargained for. First the children may believe that it is normal to tell lies under the guise of a joke when you are in a good mood. It is my firm believe that joke must not be an excuse for communicating lie or half truth and we must never teach children so. The Holy Writ tells us, ‘like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death, Is the man who deceives his neighbour, and says, “I was only joking!’’
Now, the contents of the April Fools’ Day joke are another cause of concern. How did it enter the mind of the principal to tell the pupils as April Fools joke that two people who are married to different spouses are getting married? What value was he trying to communicate? What lessons did he have for the pupils? Unknown to him he was saying so many things to the children at the same time. Is it right for two married people to be getting married to each other? Could he be endorsing by one careless and irresponsible joke, divorce, extra-marital affairs, immorality and unfaithfulness to commitments. Does it matter that he later told the children that it was April Fools? I think the damage is done by his careless joke. He already sold the idea to their young minds. They already bought it. Unfortunately, we are not going to be able to determine the impact of such error on the psyche of the children. But one thing I am very sure of is that such error has no positive impact on the children.
Let me share with you another story before I sign out. A man was with his son. His son saw some men smoking cigarette and asked the father, ‘daddy, why are they smoking cigarette?’ The father replied, ‘don’t mind them. They are evil people.’ The father’s response is countless miles far from the truth. Is it true that anyone who smokes cigarette is evil? While, I do not support smoking of cigarette, I do not believe that those who smoke cigarette are evil people. Since, it is not the truth of life; I believe it is wrong for the father to have told the son so. Charles Spurgeon was one of the most virtuous and honourable men that have ever lived, it is on record that he smoked cigar until his later years. When a father tells his son that those who smoke cigarette are evil people, he is sowing the seed of prejudice and unhealthy worldview. This surely have serious implication on the mind of the child. I daresay that the impact is everything but positive. To the detriment of the child, the father may have helped him to develop the wrong mindset against smokers.
The point, I am trying to make is that those who communicate with children should be very careful to only communicate truth and value. Communication has a very huge impact on a child’s manners and character.
I think I should sign out here. Thank you for visiting today. Sure you learnt one or two things on how to Think the CHILD…Think TODAY and Think the FUTURE.
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