David Elkind in his article The Hurried Child addresses the society’s plan of trying to draw the future of its children closer, than it is. The message comes up at a time when parents are endeavoring to hurry their children into adulthood. Many people have set out to unravel the reason behind the take, the repercussions therein as well as the possible remedies. In his point of view about rushing children into adult life, Elkind opposes the pressure claiming that it deprives the children of their rights.
The society pressures its kids through the way the dress them, through media, as well as through their academic achievement. Concerning the dressing for instance, designer clothes meant for adults are now available for children, making them appear like adults though they are actually not. On the other hand, media, that comes inform of books, music, and television, interferes not only with the children’s thinking style, but also with their acting style, with many of them behaving like adults.
Academically, children are forced to enroll for studies at an early age a step that occurs based on the fear of failing as Elkind puts it. For instance, “how can we tell our friends that our son failed kindergarten?” (41) This shows how parents and the society force their kids into achieving, no matter the cost.
There exist quite a number of tools put in place to fight against this issue of hurrying kids into adulthood. Play, for instance, is among the most effective ways of fighting against children’s pressure. Worth noting is that, play is a one crucial activity that the hurried society has neglected. It has deprived its children of their right to exercise, making it lose its meaning and value. It has gone further even denying them of any playing opportunities, which on the other hand boosts their copying and doing capabilities.
Should it be learnt that each stage in life is an opportunity for a child to learn, then the society should concur with the old adage “hurry, hurry has no blessings” and thus by introducing play to its kids, hurrying will be a foregone case. Sad enough is that it has transformed play into work. Activities like sports, musical training, and summer camps among others, are no longer recreational but professional. They are a form of work, rather than play, which people do to earn a living.
However, the society ought to understand that by so doing, it deprives the children of some basic skill namely social, basic, and self-expression skills. Due to budget cuts, activities like drama, art, and music find their way out of the school curriculum. This happens so that the school can save the large sums of money it chucks out for the students who perform the activities purely for money and not for play purposes. Worth noting is that the society ought to understand how crucial art is for the life of a child.
Art is a tool that fosters learning and development owing to its ability to fight stress. Art too equips children with an aesthetic perspective that enables them balance their work. At the end of the article, the author addresses the subject of childhood as a stage that children are ennobled with and subjected to appreciations regardless of the sorrows attached therein. He highlights the need to let children experience the childhood pleasures as well as temptations, which they end up skipping following the onslaught of hurrying.
Elkind, D. “The Hurried Child.” Instructor. 1982: 41-43.