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June 9, 2016

Mere Children

“I must take issue with the term ‘a mere child,’ for it has been my invariable experience that the company of a mere child is infinitely preferable to that of a mere adult.”
(Fran Lebowitz)
It is so easy to dismiss the whims of our children as just that, mere whims. It is so easy to disregard our kids and their concerns as “little”, especially compared with our own.

We even communicate this quite directly with our language. “Hannah’s going to have a sleepover, inviting three of her little friends,” I said once about my then eleven-year-old daughter. They’re just mere children, right? Their friendships aren’t really significant—I was saying—they’re just small, or tiny, or merely “little.”

But how can I say her concerns are little without coming across as belittling? To our children, their toys are not little. Their concerns are not little. Their friends and their friendships are not little. To our children, regardless of their age, these concerns are just as big to them as ours are to us.

Perhaps, just perhaps, we’re not saying it to belittle them in an metaphorical and insulting way, however. Perhaps we mean it literally, wanting to keep them little for as long as possible?

Anyone? Bueller?

Peace begins with pause,

screamfree hal runkel


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