The Truth about Life Is Not that Scary
– Are there any age related rules? For example, should children aged 9-12 be given more information about the animal kingdom, while older children should be told more about social phenomena?
– Of course! That’s natural! At every age the same objects are studied differently. Children are more familiar with plants and animals than adults because these things are closer to them. Of course, everything depends on age.
For example, recently we had children visit a factory that produces medicines. This is very interesting! It involves physics, chemistry, biology, and mechanics. It involves processing materials as well as discerning what ingredients are necessary for which medicine, and why.
At first the factory appears like a small building, since pharmaceutical factories are usually not big. Everything there works automatically, with ingredients poured in one by one. Afterwards they are mixed, the pills are churned out, and then they come out prepackaged. Then the workers there tell you about how these medicines are used: which are for headaches and which are for something else. And everything is shown to you in practice.
Children form the right impression from this experience. They immediately understand that there is an enormous amount of professions involved here, integrated in one another, involving mechanics, electronics, chemistry, biology, and so on.
However, this is not suitable for young children. It is more appropriate for a serious teenager.
– We had an interesting case when we asked children ages 9-13 if they wanted to go on an excursion to a prison…
– I was just getting to that. They shouldn’t learn only from positive phenomena. We plan on taking children precisely to places like prisons and rehabilitation centers. It definitely must be shown to them, and it has to be done often! Children have to retain impressions from all facets of life, thus forming a distinct attitude.
After all, the whole problem is that the child doesn’t feel the implications of his negative actions. If he felt it in advance, then we could treat him like an adult.
Why do we have such a merciful attitude toward children? It’s because they cannot see or predict the future. This is why we say that they cannot be held responsible for their actions.
But when a child observes the consequences of someone else’s negative actions, such as a person being put in prison, a person being sick, a person who cannot overcome his drug or alcohol addiction, and look what happened to that person: he has lung cancer from smoking, or another person died because he fell off a roof, then we can teach them through the examples of others to “Consider the consequences.” In this way we guard them from repeating these actions or mistakes.
We won’t start treating them like adults after they see these things. But they will already become adults.
– From what age can we start to involve a child in this process of observing negative things, such as taking them to a children’s trauma center where their peers are hospitalized?
– The same age as their hospitalized peers. At age 5 or 6 they will already understand this. “Look at that boy. Let him tell you what he did. Oh, he jumped over a gate, and that one climbed on a rooftop, and that one was run over by a car, and now he’s laying there with an injured arm or leg.” Do you know what a lesson for life that is!? Of course, we should beware of serious injuries, such as ones where a person loses an eye or an arm. This has to be done very gradually, but they should eventually be shown all of the negative consequences.
And when they get a little bit older, they can visit maternity wards and so on. That is, we have to show them all of life in its proper form. What will this accomplish? This will help them interact correctly and properly place themselves in relation to all of these consequences.
– I think that this is where many parents would ask, “Won’t we scare or even paralyze a child with this truth about life?”
– But we aren’t just saying to a child out of the blue, “Today let’s go on a trip to a hospital and look at broken arms and legs.” Our children are in a constant process of upbringing, in a constant process of attainment of themselves and the world, and in a constant discussion of everything around them. That is why we can see the order in which we can show this to them so it would be perceived the right way.