“Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble.”
– Yehuda Berg
We recently took a stroll through one of the many beautiful parks here in Athens and thereby crossed a young father that was happily playing football with his son. The son was not more than three years old and had a ton of fun kicking the ball back and forth with his father. At some point he kicked way off and, instead of rolling to his father, the ball went somewhere totally different. The child fell on his knees and started crying. His father run after the ball, caught it and said this one thing to his son in Greek, I might never forget again: “Don’t worry my love, you’re strong.”
Never in my entire life have I heard a parent talk to their children like that. Even though it wasn’t aimed at me, I immediately felt uplifted, stronger and I was reminded of the fact that small mistakes happen, but they are not the end of the world and they definitely do not define you as a person.
If you think now that this is nothing special and it’s the normal way people talk – or at least should talk – to their children, then I congratulate you, because the truth is that you are pretty rare in this world and a great example for every other parent out there.
This incident made me think a lot, especially as soon as we reached home and we could listen again to the screams and insults of two of our neighbors right around the corner of our flat, who see this as the normal way of treating their children. “Idiot” is one of the more harmless words they use in order to correct the behavior of their children, not knowing that the only idiots are the parents themselves, bringing up a generation of future devils to this world, that will most probably be not a single bit better than they are themselves and that will only bring more misery into society because the only thing these children learned was how weak and stupid they are, instead of experiencing how it feels to be loved and to believe in themselves.
We form our future society. It has always been this way, but we still don’t realize it… even after thousands of years.
Children become what they learn from their parents and society. Whatever we tell them, they will believe us, because we’re smarter, older and therefore wiser. At least that’s what most children might think. Let’s not raise the question if that is actually true or not…
Teach your children that they are weak and cannot achieve anything in this world and they will believe you. Tell them they can achieve anything they want if they only work hard enough and believe in themselves, they will believe you again.
I grew up in an environment where everything was “hard to achieve” or just “impossible” either due to a lack of money, or skills we didn’t have, or because someone else did something that made us feel a certain way and that’s why we ended up in this kind of situation. In short: We just had a bunch of excuses, didn’t believe in ourselves, were scared and maybe also just lazy as fuck.
That’s a pretty harsh way to put it, I know, but let’s be honest, it’s the truth and unlike a bunch of other people, I love saying it out loud whenever I can.
Even though my upbringing was not abusive and cannot at all be compared to our neighbors I was talking about before, I still grew up surrounded by people who don’t believe a lot in dreams actually coming true and prefer sticking to negative rather than positive thinking. These surroundings also turned me slowly slowy into a very sad, depressed and negative human being. Luckily this influence happened only superficially. Deep down I still was and always have been a dreamer.
But coming out of this hole was hard. Extremely hard! I don’t even want to know what children have to go through later in life that had a way more negative upbringing, closer to what I was describing before.
I don’t know what it was for me… maybe it was the tons of Manga and YA novels I loved to read, where love is one of the most present topics and the idea that people are strong and actually able to change themselves and the world, always kept the faith inside me. Who knows?
I just know that I escaped this prison and it makes me sad that thousands or millions of other children can’t. I see them growing up to complaining, sad, depressed and aggressive people. People who don’t have any aim in life anymore, because they simply don’t believe that it’s possible to make dreams come true. They just give up, go on working in their stupid 9 to 5 jobs, with unwanted co-workers and even more horrible bosses, watching TV every single night and getting more and more negatively influenced by it, are surrounded by friends who are just as miserable as they are and bringing children in this world and repeating the same mistakes their parents already made when they were children themselves.
I don’t have children, but I once was one myself, just as you were. And if I know one thing, then it’s that I want to hear exactly what the father told his son in the park, every single day of my life. That I’m strong and I don’t need to worry, because I’m loved. It’s as simple as that.