Toddlers & promises
Nokuthula Mdlalose was reminded of how dangerous it is to tell little white lies around children...
"It’s quite easy for adults to easily assume they can shut up a typically talkative toddler by promising or agreeing to do something. I, like many other parents, have learned my lesson the hard way – being reminded by a 3-year-old that so many days ago I said I would take them to the movies – and it’s the most shocking and, at the same time, embarrassing thing to hear.
"Hearing a smaller than 4-year-old kid remind you how you lie is quite a revelation about how clever and trusting children are. It also reminds you how easy it has become for human beings to lie even about the most innocent little thing such as taking a child to the movies.
"These little people are like pure sponges that are created or corrupted by whatever surrounds them. They don’t know what love, hate, fear, bravery, truth or lie is, that is until you tell them or, even better, repeatedly act in that fashion.
"At just over 2 years old my son and I were sitting watching cartoons and he suddenly said, 'Look Ma, that big man is embarrassed!’ and I was amazed that he could read that emotion. And now at just under 4 years old, he associates visiting someone or spending time on something with loving that person or thing.
"This new development in my son of showing such great memory and mimicking what he sees around him has reminded me how important we are in so many lives, whether you are a parent or not. The mere fact that whatever you say or do is viewed by some little human being, means you need to listen and see yourself too."