Playing Nice: What's the Truth?
Playing Nice is a Good Concept?
The start of a school year, as well as holiday breaks, always hold their unique dangers for children. In a world of instant communication which can both help and hurt our efforts to keep them safe, it is even more important to be clear about safety.
Our kids desperately need our help to understand that people are very often not what they present themselves to be. They need us to carefully communicate the ways they can protect themselves in private and social situations, and then we need to responsibly refresh their memory about their need to keep those ways in mind.
Passive thinking makes people vulnerable.
To accurately and clearly define what playing nice means is to equip them to defend themselves from getting involved in dangerous situations. We need to unequivocally give the meaning of playing nice for their safety.
• Have we really thought through the information we give our children about their interactions with other people?
• When should we give consideration to both the overt and the subtle messages we send kids to help them be safe?
• Can we be careful enough to communicate what the concept of playing nice involves?
• Are we paying attention to the real messages they regularly receive from the media, as well as from other sources?
• Do we give them a foundation of common sense to work from as they navigate the complexities of relationships in a world that is full of people who spend their time deceitfully playing nice?
Playing Nice Safely
What's the Problem with the Concept of Playing Nice?
A back problem that requires boring exercises found me choosing to try to watch the telly as I worked at doing them. Since everything else was trash I thought I would catch up on the latest in children’s programming. After the fact, I both wish I had not, and yet, am glad to know how the current is flowing so I can help begin discussions on the topic by writing about it.
The show I caught was supposed to be nice, nice stuff. It was hard to believe that the utterly stupid idea, “be nice and others will be nice to you” is still being taught to children, but there it was.
A much better concept for them to understand is, “Be nice because it’s right, and hope others are nice in return, but be wise because it only takes once to make a mistake about how nice others are to create a forever change in your life."
This particular show’s characters included a group of three cartoon people who were friends, and then a walking, talking shark. The story-line was that all but one of the friends was smart enough to be afraid of the shark.
The third friend was obviously a dumb-cluck who didn’t have the sense to know that he had brought a shark into his inner circle of friends. Once it was explained to him, he, too, became afraid of the shark.
However, all’s well that ends well, right? It turns out that the shark was really just a needy soul who wanted to be friends. He wasn't scary at all!
Take a minute to imagine what it means that this is being taught to future leaders of homes, businesses, and governments. Don't you feel a tangible sense of unease?
The fact that they literally used a shark character should have been eye-opening to parents, but most parents are absent, using these shows as babysitters. They don’t know that their children are learning that it’s okay to trust even a shark who says he wants to play nice.
That a shark character was used made me wonder if the producers knew exactly what they were trying to do to children's thinking. It's difficult to believe they did not.
Predators: Skilled at portraying themselves as nice.
Avoid the Traps Of Playing Nice!
There is a proverb that mentions the common sense fact that if you embrace fire you will get burned. There is also a hard and fast rule that is often ignored when kids are playing: Safety First!
Passive thinking says, "Maybe it's not true. Maybe if we learned to be nice to fire we could solve all the world’s problems! Words that burn up nations, bombs that burn up cities, bullets that burn up organs, and hate that burns up communities might end if we could just learn to be nice to the fire."
Enough of the nice, nice symbolism. The truth is, in order to be safe we need practical wisdom to fight the motives of those who know that passive thinking makes people vulnerable. Instead of purported progressive thinking as we advance our ability to communicate with each other and other societies, our children need sound common sense.
If our children have any hope of dealing with the giants they will face in a global society they need to know that it is okay to always apply true wisdom to situations that come up–and they absolutely do not need to think that sharks will be nice to them under any circumstances.
The problem is that young brains are not wired for making judgements based on wisdom. It has to be taught because their thinking is basically based on impulse and moments of impulse can result in life-changing circumstances.
~~~ Correct information helps them stay safe. ~~~
Study the Information
• In spite of the appearance of being older than they are, young childrens and adolescents' brain ages too often prevents them from making appropriate choices.
• On top of that, studies prove that into their early 20s brain maturity can prevent people from making wise choices.
• Studies can give parents and educators the information they need to help keep today's young people safe in a world that convinces them that they are sophisticated enough to handle predators.
We can easily study the facts about adolescent brain development.
However, a parent or teacher does not have to be a research scientist in order to determine what the safety needs are or how to respond to them. Teaching children not to follow popular thinking that is rooted in passivity can go a long way in helping them.
Has this hub helped you reconsider the concept of playing nice?
Playing Nice Wisely
Children need to understand that sharks are not nice but only have their own motives in mind--that they can wait patiently, circle harmlessly, enter an area and leave it again, but that they will either return or move on to the next area with one purpose in mind.
Understanding that sharks have no conscience and that when hunting they operate in the calculatingly precise methods of focused predators, that they rarely make mistakes in the hunt, and that they always mean to do what they do is very important knowledge for kids as they grow up.
Playing nice should be a rule for everyone, but predators do not play by nice rules. Allowing children to be indoctrinated with the passive thinking behind friendly shark TV shows is worse than a rule-breaker, it’s a crime against them and the future. It does not help keep them safe because they will encounter sharks.
There's more to it all, of course. We live in a sin-darkened world. We are warned that the path of the wicked grows darker and darker. The kind of thinking presented in this sort of programming, whether it is in an entertainment or in an educational setting, is to be expected.
The important question is whether we are going to continue to embrace that which darkens and degrades us, our families, and our society, or will we turn to where wisdom is found?
Monitoring vs Spying: Make Sure Kids are Playing Nice Safely
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