I show concerned parents who want to give their children the best start to life how to better understand their children.

16 Sep 2013

Judgment And Children

Negative perceptions and judgments are the basis for many of the ‘evils’ in our world today. Racism is a judgment that people of a different race, are worse or better than you are, purely because of the color of your skin. The same can be said about bullying, homophobia, xenophobia, gender discrimination, etc. These issues are not only rife in our society; they are often on the rise. With all our modern schooling and psychology, more children are turning to suicide, because of bullying than ever before.

The reason I am bringing this up is that I did the most fascinating exercise on the weekend. I attend a writing group once a month. It’s nothing formal; just a few people sitting in a room, writing whatever nonsense comes to mind, and encouraging one another. This past Saturday, our group leader told us to write a story about an incident, but in two different voices. In other words, we had to write the same event from the perspective of two different characters.

Think of the benefit of teaching this to children, and allowing them to practise this skill. Do you think there would be so many bullies around if they had to imagine the pain that their victims felt? Would so many people hate gay people, if they understood how gay people really felt?

Below is the story that I wrote. Just to give a little background, in South Africa, where I live, we have car guards. They work at shopping centers, or where ever cars often park, and as the name implies, they guard cars. They don’t earn a salary for this. They actually have to pay the mall to be there. Thus, their only source of income is tips from people parking their cars. On an intellectual level, I don’t support the car guard movement. Malls should provide security with paid workers. However, the ‘people level’ is another story... Here is what I wrote.

Voice 1
The sun shone brightly over Durban. Everybody jumped into their cars and headed for the beach. Just as well, I got there early. By the time I left, there was no parking available. After drying off, I hopped into my car, retrieved my wallet from my bag and pulled out a few coins. I handed them to the guard and drove off.

My stomach grumbled as I drove home. Lucky there is a Spar along the way. I ran in, grabbed a pie and was out of there in under three-minutes, and wouldn’t you know it, the car guard shadowed my walk back. What a nuisance. Really, this car guard story is getting ridiculous. I’ve only been here a few minutes, I thought to myself. He ‘ushered’ me out the parking. Well actually what I mean to say is, he just stood in my way. Without looking, I sped off.

Voice 2
Eish, the sun is out today. It’s hot and I can’t find my hat, but taxi is coming soon. I can’t wait; I’ll just have to suffer, again...
“Goodbye children. I promise there will be food on the table tonight.”

I ran the two kilometers to the taxi rank. I was already sweating, before I even got in. The 17-kilometer journey took over an hour today. There was traffic. My heart pounded as the driver raced through. More close calls than usual today. I hope the rest of the day is going to be better.

For a change it was, until my loaf of bread at lunchtime. Some white guy nearly rode me over. No thanks, no tip, no nothing. It’s like I wasn’t even there. It’s like I didn’t even chase those children sitting on his BMW. Now, my head is burnt, my heart is broken and my spirit is crushed.

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  1. Daniel Im so glad you have given a voice to the voiceless. So many people wont pay Car Guards and it makes me sad. I think that people who dont give, do feel guilt, because they belabour the point that they wont give - so, somewhere, it does dwell in their conscious...Compassion is the greatest gift.

  2. That is a very good point Rose, and I'm with you 100%
    It's the same like that guys who always have something to say about gay people and blah, blah, blah.
    You just get that feeling that they hiding something...

  3. too right. sad - but very very true.