14 Words to Teach Your Children… If You’re Honest


Imagine a pretty spring day, you’re standing on your front porch or some other pleasant vantage point and looking out at a sunlit landscape: trees, grass, and singing birds. Then your five-year-old child or grandchild walks up to you and tugs on your hand to get your attention. You turn and the child asks, “What kind of world is this?”

What do you reply?

This innocent child deserves the truth. You won’t be able to use fancy words or long explanations, but truth doesn’t require those things. This child is ready to hear the truth about the world – he or she is primed for it. This is the kind of moment that comes along haphazardly, and you can’t be sure if or when another might show itself. Your answer may affect this child for the rest of his or her life. What do you say?

The 14 Words

First I’m going to tell you the 14 words, then I’ll explain further. But as you stand on the porch, away from everything but nature and your child, the only intimidations, biases, and slogans present will be those inside of you… and your child should be insulated from such things. You have to speak truth. And as I say, it doesn’t have to be long and complex; in fact it can’t be, if you want to help a five year old.

Here are the 14 words:

We are a beautiful species, living in a beautiful world, ruled by abusive systems.

Later – after true words have sunk into the young mind – you can explain that we’re not a perfectly beautiful species, that most people are often confused and that a few are just plain bad. You can further explain that volcanoes and hurricanes and grizzly bears exist. But if you value your child enough to tell them the plain truth, you’ll tell him or her the 14 words first and let them sink in before getting to the small print.

Now, with that said, I’ll move to some explanation for the adults.

A Beautiful Species

11,000 or 12,000 years ago, humanity – perhaps five million of them – stumbled out from an ice age and began to spread across the earth, most of them having nothing in the way of science and technology. Since then, we’ve learned to fill the earth with food, build machines that race across the face of the earth, sail oceans and streams, and fly through the atmosphere at fantastic speeds. Imagine trying to explain these things to the people coming down from their receding glaciers.

And not only this, but we’ve cured the vast majority of diseases, figured out the smallest parts of the machinery of life, built compendia of human knowledge, made them available anywhere and everywhere, and landed men on the moon.

We are a magnificent species. If that triggers “Never forget the darkness!” voices in you, please hang on to “We are a magnificent species” until they subside.

Here are two passages from G.K. Chesterton’s book, The Defendant, that bear upon dark, automatic thoughts:

There runs a strange law through the length of human history – that men are continually tending to undervalue their environment, to undervalue their happiness, to undervalue themselves. The great sin of mankind, the sin typified by the fall of Adam, is the tendency, not towards pride, but towards this weird and horrible humility.

Every one of the great revolutionists, from Isaiah to Shelly, have been optimists. They have been indignant, not about the badness of existence, but about the slowness of men in realizing its goodness.

You can find the same thing in the Bible, by the way. Theologies be damned, this is what Psalm 82 says, and which Jesus repeated:

You are gods; all of you are children of the most High.

A Beautiful World

This is a beautiful world. Get out and look at it: lay outside on a summer night and gaze at the stars for an hour; explore the wilderness. Don’t watch it on TV; go out and experience it.

It is beautiful. Perhaps not perfectly beautiful, but one flaw among fifty beauties does not negate those beauties.

Abusive Systems

We all know the systems that rule mankind are abusive. I’m not going to go through itemized lists, since we complain about these things every day. You already know. The problem with most of mankind is not that they can’t recognize abuse; it’s that they’ve been trained to think they deserve it.

So, I’m going to make one short statement, then set this point aside:

Unless you think your children deserve to be abused, you can’t tell them government is okay, much less good.

Now, let’s be clear on another thing: Rulership requires us to stay focused on evil. They have to frighten people and portray their competitors as “evil Huns.” They have to publicize threat levels and convince people they need to be saved from impending death. And of course, their dear friends in the media promote evil-consciousness 24/7.

Do you think, just maybe, that all this fear has bad effects upon us?

The Truth

We are surrounded, every day, by people who cooperate, who assist one another, and who care about one another. But those aren’t the things we think about – those are things we’ve learned to ignore. The flashing images of evil surround us and scream at us, after all: The Russians are going to attack, the other candidate is going to destroy all you hold dear, SARS (or bird flu or swine flu or Ebola) is about to kill us all! It’s a long, dark symphony of manipulation.

The truth is we’re a beautiful species, living in a beautiful world.

The systems that wish to rule us are quite otherwise.

Paul Rosenberg

14 thoughts on “14 Words to Teach Your Children… If You’re Honest”

  1. Dont know what drug this author was on when they wrote this but I am afraid I have never taken it and from the looks of this I dont want to!

    1. Could you possibly be any less specific, more plainly interested in merely smearing someone, without saying anything except how self-righteous you are, instead of illustrating exactly what the author is talking about? You are the poster child for the subject of this article. Congratulations!

        1. So exactly how is the author “babbling”? Don’t babble back to me; say, please, how the author is babbling.
          Did he say anything untruthful or unintelligent? If so, please cite, and in what ways.

          1. Let’s explain why we breathe air, why the sky is blue, and where babies come from.
            Like I said, and it is my last word: Milquetoast.

          2. So the author wasn’t as hard-hitting in his article as you wanted him to be? He didn’t say anything wrong or inaccurate, he just didn’t go on an all-out attack?
            Is he wrong in his advice to give little kids, and how to bring them along once they’ve matured enough to reap the harvest of the seed of light, age-appropriate truth that was sown?
            You would prefer to declare to little children that all people are bad, and not to trust anyone ever (excepting dear old dad, of course)? That there’s no hope for children like him in this world? That because everyone is bad, he will be bad when he grows up, too?

          3. Always the answer of someone who can’t give a real answer. Ya got nothin’, and it shows.
            Thanks for making your position perfectly clear to everyone.

          4. Hi Graycat,
            There are a lot of people who are addicted to conflict: They look for you to hammer the other side into the ground.
            And, of course, many are darkness-centric. If you remove darkness from the center of focus, they want it back.
            Best (and thanks),

  2. I thought that was a simple and lovely reflection. Thank you. I actually just (kind of) had this conversation with my 12 year old. It is very hard and very necessary to explain these things and ideas to young minds in a truthful yet beautiful way. It reminded me of a Dickinson poem:
    Tell all the truth but tell it slant —
    Success in Circuit lies
    Too bright for our infirm Delight
    The Truth’s superb surprise
    As Lightning to the Children eased
    With explanation kind
    The Truth must dazzle gradually
    Or every man be blind —

  3. very helpful blog…i have seen kids improve their word learning skills by playing some games and completing some amazing activities like some interesting games in here: http://goo.gl/PkXXNn

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