“The worst part of my day is dealing with grown people. I don’t particularly like adults. They aren’t always very nice. If you work with children you know that there is no more powerful love than the love you feel from a child.”-Dr. Steve Perry, founder and principal of Capital Prep
Steve Perry is one of my professional heroes. As founder and principal of Capital Prep (where 100% of the students not only graduate but also go on to four year universities), he has proven that when you demand excellence, young people rise to the challenge. So, I take a lot of what he says seriously. The quote above caught my attention because it directly reflects experiences I have at work with both children and my personal experiences with some adults.
It seems like the older we get, the more interested we become in just reaching the goal and forgetting the joys that come with the process. I recently had two scenarios, one involving adults and one involving second graders. Needless to say, I enjoyed the experience with the little ones a lot more, primarily because they’re so much more genuine than most adults. We all play games. Children play them because they want to have fun. Adults play them because they want to manipulate power.
What happens to us as we age that makes us so power hungry and eager to compete even with people who are supposed to be on our team? What is this strong desire to be the alpha male or the alpha female in our adult lives that makes it okay to put down other people in the process? It really breaks my heart when people break from a team for their own selfish ambitions.
Redemption comes only when I see one of the kids I work with help a friend or classmate or when I see them share without me even having to ask them to do so. Times like that, it seems like they’re the ones who should be in charge, not the adults.
When and why do we become so selfish? And what do we do to stop it? It all just reinforces something that I’ve heard often: If you want to learn some of the best lessons, spend more time with people under the age of five.