In Part 1 of this article, which I published a couple of years ago, I delved into the issue of how impressionable kids are. They learn through imitation, and as it is, they have never failed to imitate. For instance, growing up, I wanted to become a nun. Reason being, I grew up around them. Mom was a devoted member of the church, heading small Christian community groups, and other key church groups. Furthermore, she was as a certified catechist at some point.
Due to this, we interacted with priests, deacons, seminarians and nuns a lot; and one thing I admired about them was their humble demeanour. I admired their way of life generally. The way they carried themselves, lived in fancy houses…
When it was my birthday, or my sisters’, they would bring us gifts. In addition, they visited us at home, and we also got to visit their houses a lot; accompanied them on spiritual retreats that would last for a whole day… If there was an ordination we would be invited. Consequently, I desired to become a nun when I grew up.
Overtime, as I grew up I interacting with them on a more personal level, I ended up realizing that so many of them were very hypocritical, only masquerading as saints. They were mean and bullying; the kind you go to when you’re in need and they turn you away without a care. While some were good, the relatively bad ones made a lasting impression on me. That’s how my desire to become a nun faded away.
Yesterday evening when my sister was going to draw the curtains, she saw a couple of girls gathered together, in what seemed like a small girls’ meeting. Upon careful scrutiny, she realized it was one older girl surrounded by much younger ones.
The oldest of them couldn’t be older than eleven, as majority of them seemed to be between ages six and nine.. Interestingly, she was in possession of a variety of lip glosses, which she kept pulling out of her pocket, and interchanging with other ones. She seemed like the coolest kid of the pack.
Obviously the rest of the girls were fascinated by the variety of the lip glosses because they took turns to apply them on their lips. It was just hard to believe the level of trust kids have in each other, especially during this Covid time. None of them seemed bothered that one of them could potentially be sick; but then again, that’s the beauty of being a child. Raised in the right environment, very little seems to trouble their innocent hearts.
When my sis told me what she had seen, we started dissecting and analysing that situation. Sometimes, parents can make or break their children’s dreams; for instance, these young girls might have run back to their parents asking them to buy them makeup.
I say that based on previous experience. A couple of years ago, I got a pair of in-line skates and started skating around our neighbourhood. Then I made friends with some guys who were already so good at the sport. I was the only girl skating at the time, and it seemed like such a huge deal. When skating alone I wouldn’t go too far, but when in the company of my friends we’d go relatively far, staying out late.
During those instances I was skating alone, the kids from my neighbourhood would ask me to lend them my skates, and even though they were a couple of sizes bigger, I would adjust them to the smallest size and then fasten them, so they could move around in them. Within a couple of weeks, most of the kids had gotten their own skates, so we started skating together. Most of them got really good at it; and as would be expected, I got really popular in our neighbourhood.
At the time I had a phone, but owing to their relatively young age, the kids did not have phones. Then one evening when we were just seated catching our breaths after doing a few rounds of skating, some girls started telling me how one of our little friends, who was five years old at the time, had threatened to commit suicide when her parents refused to buy her a phone.
Thankfully she adored me at the time, because I was the ‘cool kid’, so when I told her not to do such a horrendous thing, she listened. Though they moved a few months later, I reckon now she’s in her early teenage years. Point is, it is at that time I realised kids are very easy to manipulate. If they like you, they will want to be like you, whether you’re good or bad.