The demand - they command! - respect, consideration, concern and interest.
The minute - the very instant - we fail to treat our children in a way which acknowledges and honours these truths, we fail our children.
Not maybe. Not sort of. We do: we fail them.
I fail my children a lot, I will admit. I do. But I keep trying. I keep picking my mother-self up and dusting her off with my metaphorical objective philosopher-self hands of grace and get back to the business of mothering. Back to the business not simply of raising these children as though they were crops, not simply training them as though they were a domesticated animal, but growing them. Of growing with them. Of living with them. Of learning from them what they need as much as - if not more than - I am teaching them.
Children will not "grow up to be someone someday". They are someone. They are each someone. Right now. Right here. No matter how small or uneducated or crazy or clumsy or challenging or confused or silly or unsure they may be, they are each of them someone. Someone worthy. Someone valuable. Someone with thoughts and feelings and ideas - oh, so many ideas - and wants and needs and talents - yes, talents! - and strengths and weaknesses and questions that cry out to be heard, to be seen, to be felt, to be honoured.
I am tired - utterly, truly, totally exhausted - of trying to convince fellow adults of these facts. Of trying to convince fellow former children that today's current children should not be seen as mere potential. They possess potential - scads of it, heaps of it, endless bounds of it, of course - but to speak only of their potential, to seek only to feed or cultivate their potential while ignoring their very real, very present and very deserving current abilities is heartbreakingly dismissive.
Do not dismiss children. Do not dismiss what they can do here, now, today. Do not ignore the small person you see.
Do not presume for one moment that - because you have never taken the time to inquire, to listen, to hear - the child before you does not have profound and complex thoughts.
Do not ever forget that that child is as much a Soul as you.