The deeds of children are a testament to the upbringing they received from their parents. ~ Christopher Paolini
A child’s innocence is a precious gift. It should be protected, harnessed and revered for as long as possible. For there will come a day when it is ripped away despite the most conscientious parenting. That day was yesterday.
There are certain words that are never uttered in our home. Words that carry emotion and do harm. Words that coming from the mouth of any human, no matter age make me sad inside. But when they come from the very innocent I actually die a little.
Yesterday my highly sensitive empathetic 4 year old began her progression down the back deck stairs to play in the yard and passing through a swarm of gnats, this phrase came out of her mouth. “I’m going to kill those buggies, I hate those buggies”. When I asked her to explain what she just said, she didn’t quite fully grasp it’s meaning.
We quickly had a conversation about the words she used and why all God’s creatures were given life and it is not for us to unnecessarily take it. “Buggies have Mommies, Daddies and Sisters just like you do. Wouldn’t they have been sad if one of their family didn’t come home?”
Now I know some of you are thinking “it’s just bugs”, well first of all, no, they are living things, secondly my daughter does not think, act or talk like this normally. If you think I’m overreacting call me a Buddhist and feel free to unclick that follow button on the upper left corner. You are not my people.
Where did she learn this?
In this house we don’t KILL anything. Spiders are to be left untouched until Mommy can identify it’s nature. Bees are our friends who only harm those who try to hurt them. Wasps are relocated and all others are dealt with swiftly if they have been deemed a threat to my family. My children are sent immediately from the room, as there is a poisonous creature in their vicinity and it is not discussed. So on rare occasions I defend my home, but we do not talk of killing God’s creations. The only thing they might overhear is the pitiful apology I utter as I do the deed. And we most certainly NEVER use the word hate.
So where was this coming from?
It took me a full day to remember that just a few days ago a young girl stopped in front of our house and began stomping an ant pile exclaiming “I hate ants, I’m going to kill these ants”. It was loud enough that it reverberated through the open window into our home where one thinks we can keep our children from the influence of the less than character building behavior of neighbor kids. But she was loud, very loud. It didn’t even occur to me that my little one heard it, but in hindsight, how could she not have? She was standing in the same room with me, no doubt watching as I craned my head in that young girl’s direction and grimaced.
Truth is on many occasions, the phrases, “I hate you”, “You’re stupid”, “Shutup” and “I’m going to kill you” is screamed, and I do mean at the top of their lungs, by children all under 11 in my neighborhood. I don’t live in a bad neighborhood, quite the opposite. I live in a family friendly, church going, pay your bills, tithe and mow your lawn neighborhood. Yet these children feel it’s ok to say these things, bellowing them for all to hear and does not render any reaction from their parents. It’s heartbreaking, but they are not my children. Don’t get me wrong I watch out for the kids. I’ve pulled toddlers off the street, taken crawling babies back inside their home when they’ve escaped, those sort of things, but this stuff is beyond the scope of a neighbor. And it doesn’t concern me, or so I thought.
Until my sweet innocent child repeated something she didn’t even understand.