A village in Jharkand, India recently was brought to a standstill. The children were on a strike. They refused to go to school, frustrated with the drunken behaviour of the men in the village.
Led by Pawan, a student in grade two, the children marched down the streets shouting slogans against their own fathers, refusing to study until the men gave up drinking.
Surprisingly enough, the men gave in.
How is it that stubborn stances shift when children get involved?
According to Dr Tara Wyne, Clincial psycholligst and clinical director of Lighthouse Arabia, a lot of it is to do with our inherent mistrust of other grownups.
“Adults have a lot of defences when it comes to other adults. We always wonder: what is there agenda? Are they preaching? Are they campaigning? Are they being condescending? But when it comes to children, generally speaking we do not associate as much conniving or constructing with them. They have very pure motivations. Our defences are down, they make us more vulnerable instantaneously,” she said.
Another aspect is the shame that often comes with a child explaining the plainness of an issue.
“Many adults see that this child is campaigning and sacrificing and caring about the issue. ‘Look at how precooupied we are’. It has to do with learning something from children because they have their priorities straight,” Dr Wyne added.
Also, the lack of experience often works to the advantage of children who are not as disillusioned by life as most adults. While adults are aware of just how difficult it might be to execute a plan, children are not burdened by such knowledge.
“In childhood things are more concrete and more black and white. ‘If I wish it, then it will be.’ We believe with our heads but not with our hearts. Or we might have something in our hearts but cerbally we realise that it is too difficult. Adults can split themselves but chldren? No. They are a lot more unified in that sense.”
So, people tend to listen a lot more to them, too!