This post is inspired by a friend who has been complaining about children on Facebook. He doesn't have any, but doesn't like them getting in his way when he's shopping.
I'm not going to get into what he said, although it was nasty, because what he said is just the straw that has broken my camel's back on this topic.
I have seen so many jokey grumpy comments about children and teenagers. People grumbling about babies crying, about children getting in their way, and about teenagers going into shops in herds at lunchtime (no doubt they'd rather they skipped school).
All of this stuff neglects the fact that children are people, and that this kind of divisiveness fosters hate, and kills understanding.
Children are people. They might act in ways that are annoying sometimes, they might get in the way sometimes, and they might need more help in life than you do, but it is not just children who fall into those categories.
What if people said this kind of thing about the elderly, or about disabled people?
But this view of children seems to be popular at the moment. My own MP (Katy Clark) is associated with the constant pushing of more and more 'childcare' in this pic from Red Labour on Facebook. All the parties seem to be pushing for more professional childcare, and none seem to be recognising the incredibly important fact that children do best when they're looked after by people who love them, all that providing more external childcare benefits is business, and even that is short sighted, because of the problems stored up for future generations if children are farmed out from the beginning. Children seem to be viewed as a burden, not as the valuable people they are.
You can't expect children to grow into loving, caring, adults, wishing to contribute to their community if you don't show them loving care.
And you can't expect children to have respect for others if they are shown none.
People who say they don't like 'children' (and let's ignore that this is as offensive a statement as saying you don't like gay people), don't have to have them, but might want to consider that it is the people who are children now who will be working to pay for their pension. People complain that they pay taxes which are spent on schools which their families aren't using, and I assume that they don't intend to benefit from the children's education when they're older and those children are providing their medical care.
We need to move away from this cultural acceptance of nasty ageism, and appreciate the humanity of all the members of our society.