Stupid & Dangerous

[Image description: A white background with the Flourishing Homes & Families logo, a small house with plants growing from it, in the bottom corner. There is text in a quote in the center that reads, “Many people seem to think that the way to take care of children is to ask in any situation what is the most stupid and dangerous thing the children could possibly do, and then act as if they were sure to do it.” The quote is by John Holt. End description.]

When I originally saw this posted on Flourishing Homes & Families, not with the original caption, but in the original comments, a lot of people seemed (to me) to have missed the point. They took it at face value, as if the meme were saying that this is actually true.

I don’t think it is. At least that’s not how I read it. Yes, children have a propensity for getting into dangerous situations — especially when they’ve been policed all their lives to the point that they haven’t had the chance to learn to assess reasonable amounts of risk. I’m not saying to leave them in dangerous situations without supervision. I’m not saying to be unaware of risks.

I am saying that there’s a difference between understanding that children are developmentally driven to explore, or understanding that children are brand-new to the world and everything in it, and assuming that children are actually idiots. The latter often leads to treating children like they’re idiots. And children don’t deserve to be treated that way.