To Believe is to Achieve
It strikes me that in modern society children are being ‘dumbed down’ more and more.
When I was younger I used to perform in a biannual dance show. At around age six years old I had three parts to play, all of which were fairly important. We had lots of rehearsals, therefore I was confident enough to be able to perform pretty complex steps in front of an audience. By the time a later show came round in which I was ten, I was the experienced one leading younger dancers. It was very enjoyable and popular to be a part of as all of the children felt very important. Afterwards, we all felt as if we had accomplished something.
A couple of years ago, the dance school did another show. As it had been a fair number of years since they performed the first show I was part of, they redid the same choreography but with different children. I was shocked to find out the children now performing the dance I did when I was six were on average twelve years old – twice the age I did it at! Sixteen year olds were leading dancers of around fourteen years of age. I was horrified at the humiliation those older children must be feeling at being led around the stage, and how unbelievable it was to have twelve year olds playing twee animal characters.
In the most recent show it was noticeable how much fewer dance pupils decided to take part, foreseeing that they would only stand around whilst one of the older dancers did all dancing.
I have seen this happen in many other things as well. I was brought to think about it the other day as I helped cast a play. I was keen to let the younger children take some of the acting parts, but the director was appalled by the idea. After persuading the director I was told that the children might manage one line maximum, but if not they could just join in with the songs and not take an acting part at all. If this was the belief the director had in the children, no wonder they wouldn’t achieve anything. I thought back to the plays I did when I was younger, and even when I was in nursery I received a character to play. His suggestion was that we let the senior school children do the majority of the acting, even though they had bigger parts when they were the younger children’s age. It seemed really unfair.
I was really disappointed and frustrated for these children. Not only would the rehearsals prove extremely boring for them as they watched the older children do it all, but it gave them the chance to mess around in their boredom. I could see them not being there in later years when they were the age of the children taking the parts, as they were being put off the practices. The young children can form complex sentences in their speech and communicate easily, so why can’t they say a couple of lines?
I gave an example to the director of what my sister can achieve as she’s the same age as the other young children, and even when she was younger. She would be mortified now if she wasn’t allowed a role to play. The director’s reaction was that she was ‘different’ because she’s used to that sort of thing. I totally disagree – my sister is no different to those other children. The difference is what we expect of her and ask her to do.
Because of what she has been given the chance to do at a young age, when she is older she will be able to do great things. If we don’t give the younger children a chance to do this now, how will this affect our next generation?
I want to give those kids the opportunity to show everyone what they are capable of, because I have faith in them and believe that they can do it if they were only given the chance.
In 1 Samuel 16:4-13, Samuel comes to find the Lord’s anointed one. Jesse presents to him his older sons. When Samuel finds that the one wanted is not there, he asks if Jesse has any other sons. “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. The youngest was David and was indeed the one the Lord has chosen. I think this shows us exactly what I have just said. Jesse presumed that it would be one of his older children, but actually the one the Lord chose was young David.
Jesse did not expect David to be the one the Lord would choose because of his age. It turned out that despite this David was in fact capable of remarkable things.
As said in Matthew 18:2-4:
He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
If God has such complete faith and belief in the little children, why can’t we?