With only two boys still in pre-school,I can’t quite pass for a veteran at the parenting gig, but after almost six years of full time motherhood, (no grannies in the village to dump the kids with)I have certainly learnt a few things in this field.
I have learnt that little kids have great memories. Great selective memories, that is. Well at least mine do. My older boy especially, has such a good memory that when he was only two years of age, he memorized a whole book and impressed my brother who had visited us by ‘reading’ a 32 pager without missing a word.
He was of course busted a little later when out of excitement from all the attention and the praise, he started ‘reading’ the same book again,this time around while looking at my brother’s face with a wide smile flashed across his face
The same little boy, I have been told by both his preschool and Sunday school teachers, only gets told a story once and then he would be the one telling it to the whole class the next day.
Promise him a visit to Lion’s Park and you won’t get any rest until you have delivered on your promise.
Instruct him not to scream, not to kick the ball or ride a bicycle in the house and you are sure to repeat the same instruction a minute later after his memory has drastically failed him in no time.
In fact I have learnt to my utter frustration that the higher up something is on the Do Not Do list, especially to your little brother, the more often it will be attempted.
Much more important I have also learnt that kids are smart and at times smarter than adults, which can be a hard pill to swallow for grown many ups but a valuable piece of information to bear in mind when dealing with children.
Often parents and adults in general act like they always know better and end up treating their kids opinions and observations with disrespect, sometimes to the detriment of all involved. Take for example what happened in the tragic case of the 12 -year- old boy who could still be alive today had both his mother and a pharmacist who gave him a wrong ARV cocktail had listened to him much more closely when he observed that the tablets that cut short his life were different from the ones he got before.
A simple respect for a child’s voice could have saved the observant boy’s life, had adults who often think they always know better not ignored him, with the pharmacist going as far as dismissing him with an offhanded assurance that the tablets were the right ones, only in a different bottle without bothering to check up on the boy’s concerns and costing him his life in the process.
What a sad and powerful lesson in the fact that children deserve simple, mindful respect, such as we would accord any human being.