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Katy England Katy England
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Being human is hard

February 18, 2015
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There are a lot of rules in life. Learning how to share, learning how to deal with the notion that not all the cool toys in the world belong to you, learning that when you hurt someone it has consequences. Hard, hard stuff.

Learning as a kid has to be insanely difficult. You're barely forming cogent sentences and you are expected to be polite. You've just realized that other people who are the same height as you can be communicated with as other people, but they won't do what you say.

We've been trying to teach the kids to use their words (as opposed to screams) to get what they want out of life. They have to ask nicely for more milk, to get up from the table, and to leave time out. And they try these tricks on their siblings, with limited success. After all, why should Sister move out of the way? It doesn't seem to matter if her brother is using the word 'please' or not. It's another hard lesson: you can be as nice as you want, but that doesn't mean everyone will listen.

We don't think about how much of society is built upon give and take. I mean, imagine trying to merge into traffic if no one ever moved over. Or if putting groceries on the conveyor belt at the store was a free-for-all. At some point, we all had to learn to listen to someone other than our parents. We have to agree to listen to people every single day of our lives. Kids grow up knowing they have to listen to their parents. We're bigger than them. We know how things work. So they listen.

They do not extend that courtesy to each other. And it can be comical to listen to. Everyone will be watching television when one decides to stand in front of the screen, blocking the view. Here's a rendition of what happens.

Kid 1: 'Get out of the way.' (This sounds rude to our cultivated ears, but isn't a bad form of communication when you consider how many clearly articulated words are involved).

Kid 2: (Actually, kid 2 doesn't say anything, because why do you need to say anything when you have the best view in the house?)

Kid 1: 'Get out the way! Please!' (what you don't get from pure text is the increase in volume at this point it's like watching someone yell at another person who doesn't speak English and expecting the volume to help with the translation).

When Kid 2 still fails stop doing her impression of being a better door than a window, Kid 1 changes tactics.

Kid 1: 'Go to time out! One! Two! Three!'

This also fails to garner the desired results of Kid 2 actually going to time out. Volume and pitch will rise to critical levels. This usually happens when I'm indisposed and can't directly intervene (changing someone's diaper, trying not to burn dinner or trying to use the bathroom).

But it isn't all failures to communicate. Every so often, we'll actually experience two or more of them participating in an honest to goodness conversation. And it's like peeking behind the curtain to the future. You know, when they start acting like regular people. Can't wait.

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