From Date - Dec 22, 2020

Kids and why we should learn to listen

Yasmina e5-portfolio illustration

For those readers who have skipped through a few of my blogs you may have noticed that I often touch upon the topic of identity. I have waxed lyrical about the binary years of my childhood where everything seemed so simple and so easy to hate. Comparing those times with these much more organic times, where everything is moving, blurring and morphing at pace.

I have written at length about the negative impact this phenomenon has had on the contemporary teenager and its implications on physical and psychological wellbeing. This as adolescents appear to struggle more than ever to establish who they are and what they are passionate about.

The contemporary buzzword for this appears to be “transitioning”. When I broached this topic with my son, as he was preparing dinner recently on a trip to Geneva he went off on a rant. In the space of a few minutes of pure eloquence spiced with a couple of expletives he blew my hypothesis out of the water.

According to Sonny his identity is not complex, it's just simply the reflection of who he is, his experiences and what he has learned, as it is for me or any other human being at any stage in their existence anywhere on the planet. In his case it is not complicated by having three nationalities indeed he regards that as just a simple fact, and a fact which affords opportunity to boot.

This leads me onto another story I have previously quoted, when I expound the correlation between female leaders of governments and their male counterparts vis a vis their countries records with Covid-19. I was making the case that it was because of their feminine attributes that they have outperformed their male counterparts on the international stage. One of my daughters did of course take umbrage with this appraisal and set me right in no uncertain terms. Stating that the reason they outperform the males, is simply because in order to get where they are in a misogynist society they have to be quite extraordinary people.

Simple no! Well having been put right on two occasions recently by my own kids I came to the conclusion that they had a point. A sign of intelligence is the ability to take complex data or concepts and render them simple. I think that my kids did that with aplomb on these two occasions and probably on many more that I may have ignored. Which should remind any parents who are reading this that maybe they should just listen up the next time their kid goes off on a rant or risk losing a perceptive little gem of a remark.

Now this does not make my kid's; opinions correct and mine irrelevant it merely opens the channels to real and lasting debate. Learning to listen creates the sort of terrain where good ideas can grow and foster respect, empathy and love.

I also love the beauty in the simplicity of well reasoned thought and this reminds me of the wonderfully irreverent and acerbic late Joan Rivers. A very conservative looking host before one of her stand up gigs announces that “lastly Ms Rivers has asked me to mention that if she says anything during the performance that is found to be offensive to any individuals, families, organisations, races, creeds, religious groups, states countries, or planets please note that from the bottom of her heart Ms Rivers would like to say…….at which point Joan intervened with “just lighten the f*** up these are just
jokes you a****s OK, let’s do the show!