I once listened to a child make really racist comments. As you want things to be fair, you feel a sense of outrage and want justice. You want consequences, apologies etc. The young girl who the remarks were made to said “It’s ok, I forgive him. I get that he is different”. Too many times we listen to stories in the media of the worst in kids. Bullying. Careless decisions. What we often underestimate is that majority of children are exceptionally patient and tolerant. You just need to watch children who are often considered “different”. The kids around them often will change their comments to help that person understand things. They keep calm and listen without judgement. They offer to assist and help in any way needed. They do extra jobs and help these children. They smile and assure them that it is ok. They ignore behaviours that we may find challenging.
When I taught the seniors, I often found that the high tolerance levels and understanding of each other baffling at times. When they were issues or incidents, I watched kids say things like “It’s ok, he tried his hardest” or “She made a mistake I get it”. I would often run restorative circles where as an adult; I waited for that sense of justice. I waited for the person who I considered to be in the wrong, to be “told off” by his peers. Instead of that, most of the times, the child who made the hurtful mistake was forgiven. Showed understanding and compassion. And I was floored. Why? Because as an adult, I would want the person to feel bad for a while. I would want equity. I would want a consequence. I would want to see a penalty so that it is fair for everyone. The same with majority of parents. When their child is hurt, naturally they want to know that it is followed up and assured that the other child is told that it is not ok. I wonder are we less tolerant and compassionate the older we get or do kids seem to have an inbuilt sense of understanding each other with tolerance and empathy?
Whatever it is, never underestimate the tolerance, patience, empathy and compassion of kids towards each other. Just sit back and watch how they interact with each other and you will often find that they are more in tune with each other than we are.
#twocreativeteachers #learnfromkids #tolerance