I saw a sentence yesterday that has stuck with me. “There is No Such Thing as Other People’s Children” Since then these words have been coming to my mind. These words resonate deeply and I like them. “No such thing as other people’s children” means to me that it is incumbent on all of us to collectively raise the future generations. What does this mean to you?
We all influence our youth and I believe we need to take this role more seriously. Yes, in most cases it is parents, siblings and close family who most shape our youth in their early years. However they are not the only influencing people. Let’s take a look at the rings of influence which contribute to forming a child’s beliefs and perceptions of the world.
First level of unrestricted influence starts with extended family and friends. Jokes, statements, actions and discussions are heard and interpreted by our children often without any additional explanation. As the child grows like rings in a tree trunk the influence broadens. Childcare and early schooling brings with it peer opinions and those of teachers and carers. We all proudly share stories of when our kids have come home and asked about something they heard or were told at school and we then place our meaning and description on the topic.
The levels that follow become more and more uncontrolled; media, peers, other parents, social media, other environments and schooling. We have to admit, as parents, we then acquiesce a reasonable portion of our influence. In fact it would be harmful to shelter our children from the wider world. The older our children get the more diverse the influence becomes and we rely on their judgement and our parenting to hope they have resilience and common sense.
While this is happening we are doing something else that we likely pay little attention to. We play all the various roles in relation to other children who we interact with and lives our children form part of. Beyond that we have major influences for both adults and children coming from our politicians, celebrities, religious and community leaders.
Back to the original point “is there no such thing as other people’s children”? Of course literally speaking there are other people’s children. However when it comes to influencing the thinking, experience and beliefs of all children everyone plays an active role. This is where I ask all adults to take a moment to reflect on your words, discussions, social media and voting choices because they influence the world’s children.
My focus, of course, is always on the topic of LGBTIQ issues however I believe this is true for all areas. We are all responsible for raising our future generations as our greatest natural resource.
Copyright Adele Fisher 2016