This is not a full post but I’ve been having a little think about how separate childhood and adulthood really are.
It’s in part inspired by a post from an amazing duo I saw performing a couple of weeks ago – Darkmatter – in their “It Gets Bitter” tour. See their post here and check them out :
It seems like we shy away from discussing sexuality and sex with children because we see something pure and innocent that we want to protect and preserve for as long as possible. There’s a sense that too much knowledge will catapult the child into the filthy, dodgy world of the adult with no way back…
At the same time we want children to grow up fast and always be thinking about their future adult selves. There’s been reports this week about young children getting really stressed out and anxious about the increasing number of tests their subjected to and feeling the pressure to get growing up right.
There’s also this sense of becoming an adult meaning a narrowing of options and approaches. Adulthood becomes about accepting that life is tough and that the way things have always been is the way they must stay. To imagine a better world or even to question the status quo is seen as naive and childish.
So this separation might be damaging on both sides. Of course there are differences between a baby and a 42-year old, but there are also differences between a 20-year-old and a 30-year-old in terms of experience and self-awareness. And there are definitely things which are inappropriate for children to deal with.
But I’m thinking about how we can allow children to enjoy their childhood whilst listening to them and giving them the same respect and rights that we afford adults. And similarly how can we help adults to hold onto some hope and playfulness in the way that they interact with the world?
Any thoughts on this?