Thursday, August 02, 2007

A Story That Reminded Me to Not Judge or Make Assumptions with Children

Earlier this year something happened that reminded me to never assume or judge children just because I’m a parent and an adult. Here is the story.

A child’s drawing appeared in my kitchen. I could tell by the style that neither of my kids drew it.

It was in full color of a pretty violent scene. I’d never seen a child’s drawing with such violence in it, it is not something that is depicted in shows we watch or books we read. It was a true original creation that must have come from the child’s mind as it didn’t seem to be a story line of any movie or book I’d ever heard of (or that children would have been exposed to). The drawing was of a train which had passengers and it was headed toward a wall and there were men with guns shooting at the train. People were in peril and dying. There was blood in the scene. It was a really odd scene, quite disturbing, actually.

I got curious about who drew that picture and what was wrong with that child anyway? I immediately asked my older son where it came from and he said that John Doe boy (age nine) we know from a certain extra-curricular activity drew it. My first thought was, “Now that makes sense as something is just not right with that kid which I already knew from being around him but this proves it even more.”

After that conversation, I did things like ponder what kind of TV shows or video games must that kid watch? Was this a sign he may grow up to be a murderer? Or pull a Columbine? Do the parents of this kid know he draws such horrible things? What would they think of this?

The drawing was kicked around the house and I kept looking at it when it would show up on the counter or when it fell to the floor. Finally I asked myself why the heck was I keeping that that in my house and I threw it out as it just really bothered me each time I saw it.

I really started worrying about that kid and wondered if he was mentally stable or was it just a simple drawing of a violent scene? Those thoughts would crop up from time to time and I was curious yet I was bothered by the drawing, still.

I finally asked my older son what the deal with that picture was. He said the boy was saying that he wants to earn money from his drawings. He said he makes drawings and sells them to his friends and family members. In this case, on that day, he was asking each boy at the event they were at what they’d like to see drawn. As he drew the other boy would tell him the story and he’d keep adding to the picture. He gave it then, to the narrator, as a sample and told the boy that if he liked that one in the future he’d like to do another but charge money for it, ten cents.

And my older son said that he was the one that told the boy what he wanted drawn and that the other boy was just doing what he said. I confirmed again that the entire scene was conceived by my son.

I was speechless. And so at that moment I vowed to try to never make assumptions about children and to try to resist judging them. Adults can never know the entire full story on things and it is not good to make assumptions about children as we really risk adding our perceptions in place of what is reality.

In case you are now wondering what type of media my children watch and what kind of household we have, here is the answer. For the life of me I can’t imagine why my older son would have come up with a gross story line like that. It is not from violent video games as they don’t play those. They barely play the innocent content video games. The grand total of violent movies and books they’ve read are Chronicles of Narnia, Star Wars and Harry Potter, that’s it.

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~Rach~ said...

Excellent story! Thanks for sharing it.

Love 2B Homeschoolers said...

This article helped me deal with my boys' violence quite a bit:

Perhaps it will help you too :-)