Treating children like people

There's plenty of reasons to love Daði Freyr's song (and my personal favourite for the 2020 Eurovision win) ”Think About Things”. But the most important reason is this: Daði is singing about treating his child like a human being. And that's why the song brings me to tears.

Baby, I can't wait to know
What do you think about things
Believe me, I will always be there, so
You can tell me anything and I'll listen

You see: my parents were never eager to learn what I think about things. They already knew what I have to think.

They knew I'm gonna be a nice catholic boy that will grow up to love Jesus and marry a woman that they would approve of. They had my whole life planned out for me.

Except, they didn't take into account that it's my life, not theirs. They ended up with a nonbinary, atheist child who married a man. And it would've been waaaaay easier, both for me and them, if they had just accepted the possibility that I won't grow up to be a clone of theirs.

Almost every bigger problem, every stressful situation, every abusive behaviour of theirs can be traced back to this stupid idea that their goal is not to bring up a person, but to… well, produce more of themselves.

Can you imagine how hard it was to come out as queer to someone who treats it as a personal failure (and a personal attack) that they didn't manage to make you exeactly the same orientation as they are?

Otherwise, they weren't ”actively” homophobic. They weren't saying ugly shit about gay couples on TV or pro-gay politicians, they just didn't care at all. When it came to their own child, though? Right after coming out I've heard that ”those fags should get their balls cut off” from my own father.

They shamed me for having the second highest grade average in the best high school in the city (”why not the highest?”), for not having exactly the same skills and interests as they do, for not liking the exact same types of food they do…

All of that could've been avoided, if they just considered me my own person. If I were a stranger, they wouldn't tell me whom to marry or what to believe in. But, since they gave birth to me, I'm somehow supposed to be what they want me to.

The thing is, though: I won't be. I'll be my own self, sooner or later, whether you like it or not. The only thing you can do about it, is make it harder for all of us.

Another fragment of the song that really moves me is this one:

Though I know I love you
I find it hard to see how you feel about me
'Cause I don't understand you
Oh, you are yet to learn how to speak

Daði doesn't assume that his child loves him.

Love and respect are not a given. You have to build a relationship with someone and earn their respect. Few things in the world angry me more than people forcing each other to like other people ”because it's family”.

Yeah, no. Blood ties don't mean shit on their own.

I'm way closer to some people unrelated to me than I ever was with anyone of my family. And I'm happy.

What's very important: it seems like my experience is not an exception, but a rule. Think about all those parents who have to have a child that becomes a doctor or a lawyer. Think about all those fathers who hate their daughters because they really wanted a son. Thing about all those mothers who send their offspring to extracarriculars that they just hate. And so on, and so forth.

Not even that! Think about all those people who switch to a bizzarly awful ”baby talk” whenever they see a child. Why the hell do they do that? How do they expect the child to learn to speak like a human, if they keep exposing them to a caricature of speach?

Think about parents who hate it when their kids call them by name. Every other person close to them just calls them by their name. But if their child says something other than mom/mommy/dad/daddy/whatever, they take great offense. As if the kids were inferior to them. Not allowed to call them the way that every other human being calls people close to them. Isn't it strange?

Your child is a human being. Treat them as one.

Oh well, anyways… Enjoy the song 😉

A photo of me

About the author

Hi! I'm Andrea (they/them). I tell computers what to do, both for a living and for fun, I'm also into blogging, writing and photography. I'm trying to make the world just a little bit better: more inclusive, more rational and more just.