Kids Count

The Face of a Child

In the face of a child the joy of just being alive can be observed in all of its untarnished latency.

Children have little in the way of possessions, they don't own a house, and they don't have cars or luxury boats. They hold no currency, no stocks or bonds. They have never attended a prestigious university and they hold no advanced degree. In spite of their material and intellectual shortfalls, they are happy.

Their curiosity and zest for life allow them to enjoy even the smallest pleasure; one need only observe a child with an ice cream cone to understand. They walk with the energy and swagger of knowing that they are perfect just as they are.

They are perfect, until they are told they are not. Because children develop at different rates, a pee-wee baseball team may have children that are relatively large and physically developed alongside same age children that are small and undeveloped.

When the small child comes to the plate, he takes his cuts and sometimes strikes out or hits the ball a short distance. Still, he enjoys being on the team, wearing the uniform and all the while learning new skills.

However, his eagerness to keep trying is sometimes extinguished or diminished when teammates criticize. It is hard describe the look on a child's face that has been hurt in this way. The shoulders slump, the head falls forward, the child's eyes are averted not wanting to look at anyone. The child feels shamed, made to feel an outcast and would simply disappear if he could.

Most children survive these emotional insults and others like them. It is when criticisms become more frequent and intense that these events become bullying.

It has been my experience in working with bullied children that they are often robbed of the pure joy of being young, in perfect health and encountering so many first time experiences. In a word, they become sad.

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