The greatest sins we commit on our children.

by MW Cook

We destroy our children almost as soon as they are able to speak.

The children who use persistence to achieve their goals are called stubborn and strong-willed.  We beat it out of them.  We threaten them.  “I said no!  If you ask me one more time…”  We are determined to break the strong will.  To win against the child.

Never mind that the world needs more good people who are stubborn and strong-willed.

The children who question are called rebellious and irreverent.  We frown when they ask the most sacred questions (“why?  why not?”) and give them the most pathetic answer (“Because I said so.”)  We teach them to obey.  To submit.

Never mind that the world needs more good people who are rebellious and irreverent.


And then we tell them to work hard, just not against anything we have done.  We tell them to be themselves, unless the themselves are too different from what we’d like them to be.  We tell them to fight evil and worldliness, as we define them.  We make them into ourselves, only younger and better-looking.


I cannot think of a greater joy than this:

My children stand at the Edge and look over all the things that were made before they were born.  At the philosophies, the causes, the works and religions and arts.  And they judge them.  Some are better than others.  Some are worse.  They can tell because they were taught to ask and to be satisfied only with reasonable answers.  They can tell because they do not love a thing for being old or hate a thing for being new.  They can tell because they were taught to chose a path, not follow a well-worn one.  They can tell because they were trusted to think, not carried.

And as they look, they pick up the things that speak to their souls.  And after collecting as much or as little as they want, they look at it all, they look at the world, and they say to each other:

“We can do better than this lot.”

They leave me and my naive little world

And create a better one.