Children are little people who enter the world with no perspective. They are guided by adults who help them to understand how and why things work the way they do. It is expected that as children learn and grow they interact appropriately with others inside and outside of their communities. Following rules, behaving appropriately and doing what they are told are among a few of the things that are expected of children. However, if children were left alone with no adult supervision, support, or guidance, how would this impact their growth and development? How would this affect their knowledge of rules and basic laws and expectations? Without parental supervision or guidance, children would have no idea of structure or standards to guide and direct them, and as a result they would act uncivilized.
In Lord of the Flies by William Golding, a group of younger boys were stranded on an island without any adults to help teach or guide them. Without any adult supervision the boys had no choice but to provide for themselves. They were forced to create their own rules and standards by which they would abide. The littlun, with the mulberry-colored birthmark, begins to think that a ‘snake thing’ is a beast who only comes out in the dark. He informs all the boys which later causes them to display uncivilized actions, but for now all the boys think that itś funny and unbelievable. ¨Ralph, the leader of the group, laughed and the other boys laughed with him ‘ Tell us about the snake-thing, now he says it was a beastie...’¨ (Pg.35) At this point in the story the boys are laughing at, and taking advantage of this young boy’s feelings and ignoring his sense of safety and security. Given these boys have never had an adult teach them about respecting others feelings they do not realize that laughing at the littlun shows a lack of respect for his ability to feel safe and secure. Parents are usually the first people to teach children that they are safe and secure. From the moment a child is held in its mothers arms at birth till a time s/he has to be comforted when awoken by a really scary dream, it is through these child/adult interactions that reinforces a child's sense of safety and security.
As children grow there is an expectation that they engage in appropriate behaviors whether they are with their parents or not. When children do not act as they have been taught their behaviors can be interpreted as unruly and disrespectful. For instance, there was an incident that occurred on a septa bus where a few boys were seen cursing and spitting at people. According to 6abc.com, these 6 and 7 year old boys were also heard shouting vulgar language and hitting other people that were on the bus. In this situation, although adults were around the young boys had no respect for each other or the elders that were on the bus along with them. This example illustrates that kids are more subject to engage in unruly and uncivilized behaviors than adults.
With the absence of an adult or parental figure it is customary that the older children in the group would want to assume the major responsibility as the leader. Golding demonstrates this through the characterization of Ralph and Jack who began to compete over who had the power over the group. Jack and his choir made up one tribe while Ralph assumed control over the rest of the boys. In chapter 11, Ralph and Jack began to argue, they didn’t see eye to eye on anything. Ralph tried to get Jack to see the importance of the signal fire and following the rules of the island. They began to fight while Piggy tried to make peace; but, he struggled to make himself heard over the noise. In the meantime, Roger who is at the top of a mountain, shoved a rock down the mountainside which hit Piggy in the face, subsequently leading to his death. “The rock bounded twice and was lost in the forest. Piggy fell forty feet and landed on his back across the square red rock in the sea”. (Pg.181) This moment in the story shows the lack of power that either of the boys had. They had no control over themselves or the other boys. Given the lack of control and influence exhibited by Ralph and Jack the two self proclaimed leaders of the group, a beloved brother was killed. When there is a lack of order and stability there is a greater chance that chaos will ensue.
As children become older they get involved in situations that are avoidable; yet, knowing the consequences of their actions can be life changing. For example, in the media a few years back there was an incident where two girls were arguing and one of the girls grabbed a shovel and hit the other with it. There was a video that was recorded and it went viral. The girl that got hit with the shovel could have lost her life or had a lot of complications with her body which could have lead to death. While the other could have gone to jail for a very long time. Although death was not not a result in this situation, both girls will have suffered a life altering event. According to a few major news outlets, “one of the girls got arrested and was brought up on misdemeanor charges and the other was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries.” More often than not most children have an understanding of acceptable and unacceptable behaviors. When they make a conscious decision display uncivilized and savage behaviors it can not only have a major impact on them but those who they come into contact with as well.
Structure and order are fundamental principles that rule and govern society. When anyone, adults or children, act outside the laws that guide them they can be considered disobedient. However, when behaviors have a negative impact on others they can be considered uncivilized and savage. While adults can exhibit these types of behaviors, it is more reasonable to think that immaturity, lack of experience and emotional development are among the major factors that result in the inappropriate behaviors of children. These negative behaviors are exacerbated when children lack the support and guidance of adults who teach them what is and is not acceptable. Negative behaviors are further impacted when there is lack of consistency and continuity, which are opportunities children have to continually see and understand how to appropriately interact with others. When adults can properly guide children and consistently reinforce the right ways they are supposed to behave, there is a greater chance that children will act respectfully, responsibly and reliably in any situation.
Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. New York: Penguin Group, 2003.
"Young Boys Caught on Video Hitting, Cursing and Spitting on Train Passengers - but Behavior of Adult of the Group Is Equally Shocking."The Blaze. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2016. <http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2016/03/30/young-boys-caught-on-video-hitting-cursing-and-spitting-on-train-passengers-but-behavior-of-adult-of-the-group-is-equally-shocking/>.
"Charges Filed in Shovel Girl Video | Dayton, OH Crime." Charges Filed in Shovel Girl Video. N.p.,n.d.Web.06Apr.2016. <http://www.whio.com/news/news/charges-filed-shovel-girl-video-assault/nft8w/>.