For the sake of this post, let’s use children who are put to work at an early age by their parents, and often in less-than-respectable positions, rather than in the care of responsible parents. Certainly, these are not necessarily children sold into slavery as in many parts of our world, but this makes me consider the basic concept of human worth. I wanted to see how the OED defines “worth”; according to the OED, worth includes several connected interpretations. “1: Sufficiently good, important, or interesting to justify a specified action; deserving to be treated or regarded in the way specified: 2: Having income or property amounting to a specified sum: 3: High value or merit: 4: The value equivalent to that of someone or something under consideration; the level at which someone or something deserves to be valued or rated” (OED, 2016). In the context of this point: What is your child worth to you?
Considering the modern era: If putting a child to work in a less-than-respectable role at an early age (think age 10 here) is tough to fathom, couple that with less-than-accepted forms of punishment. Today, media coverage highlights parents and authority figures who slap a child, something that may not have received press coverage in the 1980s, the decade of my childhood.
Children are not adults and therefore still lack the psychological capabilities to completely absorb their surroundings and situations. It is up to the parent/ parents/ guardians/ and the community as a whole to teach the children how to be productive members of society during these crucial years of learning development. During my childhood, individuals often kept things hush hush out of fear of individuals in power, an element intensified by small town life…. Out of sight, out of mind…. Now children may do some outrageous things that might warrant discipline, but keep in mind they are children and are still learning what is right or wrong from their surrounding environment in which they are being raised. So, something that an 8 to 14 year old might do out of frustration might not be a disciplinary issue, but rather a cry for help. What do you think?
See you in the next post!