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Kids can teach us more about right and wrong

By David Ficarri

-Diversions with Dave-

Recently, I saw a couple of news stories produced in response to the current civil unrest, that essentially said, “How to talk to your children about racism.”

The theory itself rather bemused me as if there is a set criteria for dealing with that particular subject. Apparently “don’t be a jagoff” wasn’t their recommended advice and wouldn’t fill up much of the newspaper either.

That being said, it made me pause for a second to reflect on the topic, and truth be told, I think they had the premise reversed. I think it’s our children who can give much more reasonable advice to the adults. If you go to any playground, sporting event, school play or just leave kids to their own devices, you’ll notice the honest and genuine interactions of kids.

If there is any dislike, it’s probably because one of them is acting like a cast member right out of “Willy Wonka.” Other than that, they’re usually peaceful, harmonious and are generally just enjoying the moment. It’s only when we get older does that youthful innocence get stripped away.

When Charles Schulz, the creator of the famous “Peanuts” comic strip, was asked why there was very little adult supervision and interaction in his comic strips, he replied, “Actually, they have been left out because they would intrude in a world where they could only be uncomfortable.”

The reason the “Peanuts” comic strip has endured for so long is because of that subtle stroke of genius. Charlie Brown and the gang’s worldview was a rather ironic twist in that the children often had a more enlightened viewpoint than their adult counterparts. Their minds aren’t as cluttered and their outlook tends to be simpler and purer.

That viewpoint often leads to a rather humorous outlook on life as well. Maybe we can still learn a thing or two from the “Peanuts” crew.

Is all of that too simplistic and Pollyannaish? Perhaps, but judging by the state of the world we’re currently in, maybe we need to strip away all of life’s complications and go back to seeing the world from a much simpler perspective. A childlike perspective.

There will always be a percentage of people who try to disrupt the peace and harmony that the rest of us struggle to achieve. Turn on any news channel or follow social media and that becomes rather evident in a hurry. To me, a lot of these people sound just like the adults in the “Peanuts” cartoons, unintelligible and don’t add much to the dialogue. Perhaps those are the people we should be having conversations with about their rhetoric and ideology.

As for the rest of us on the topic of racism, listen to your kids, they just might teach you more about life than the reverse.

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