Finding better ways
Back to those Little Earthquakes of mine. The ones who are getting a smidge too arrogant for my tastes.
We have ways to build up our kids’ confidence that don’t involve pretending they’re smarter than we are. We have ways to empower them, help them feel capable and strong, without pretending we’re incompetent.
As parents and educators, we must be careful to value their contributions and affirm their awesomeness. Just not falling into the lazyness of letting them use someone else (even us) as pedestals. If you need to start that, read books with them about leadership, about celebrating how unique they are.
And if you’re feeling up to a challenge – read them the books below as cautionary tales of how our society insists we build kids up at the expense of older adults.
Saviorism is, Abuse is, Oppression.
Ageism is the root and fruit of ableism, sexism, poverty, and all that crappy stuff. If you wanna smash these things, you can’t leverage ageism to lift everyone up.
Oppression is systemic abuse. Abuse is about maintaining control over a target. Oppressors have the power to spin the strengths of targets, making that strength look like a weakness. The oppressor creates the rules and values about what is ideal, and what is flawed.
Once bystanders see a target as incompetent, it’s easy for abusers to say “We know what’s best for you,” to take control, to escalate.
Creating the illusion that targets are incompetent allows abusers to disguise our abuse as support.
We’re gonna take a hard look at our language – yes? We’re going to examine the inside of our guts, ask ourselves why we use ‘old‘ as a qualifier for when what we really want is to use the word ‘shitty.’
We’re gonna do the hard work of examining why young people are entitled to relief from pain, social support, opportunities for employment, education, and housing, and why we believe older adults are not entitled to those same things.
We’re going to presume competence. Older adults can take care of themselves. But we’re no longer going to treat power and equality as if it’s scarce, as if it’s something we need to take from someone older.
And we’re going to discuss what we’ve learned with our kids.
To make this easy, let’s start with adorable picture books with good intentions.
Which I am about to ruin for you.