About eight or ten years ago i asked a friend of mine who was about to become a father, how he felt about this responsibility he had accepted. At that time in my life it seemed absolutely impossible to take on such a responsibility. I had asked the same questions a number of times but i had usually gotten some kind of expected and lame answer. Something that felt like they’d practiced saying but weren’t really convinced of themselves.

My friends’ answer was different. He simply said: “What’s so difficult about it? It simply is a new human being who doesn’t have any clue as to how things work here and my job is to explain it”. Of course, this view could be expanded in many ways like what exactly it is you are going to explain and in what way.

My own son turns five in a couple of weeks, so i’ve had the chance to gather some insights on my friends view. One core element of it is that this new human wants to be treated no worse and no better than you yourself want to be treated. Having this in mind the way some parents speak to their children leaves me speechless. If those same parents were spoken to in the same way they would immediately retaliate. And that’s exactly what the kids do.

Kids know it when you treat them with respect and they will return it. It might be take just a little more psychological energy for a moment, but the payoff on all sides are immeasurable.

Thomas Schindler