“Who are you when no one is watching?” There is a lot to think about in this quote. I don’t know where this quote came from, but it has some interesting points.
I saw a documentary about putting temptations in front of children, telling them what ever they did not to touch the candy temptation. The adult then left the room. Of course, the hidden video camera was filming away. The kids didn’t know quite what to do. The children looked at the door where the adult exited, then looked at the candy. There were several pieces on the table One little girl just stared at the candy, never touching anything on the table. Another child kept watching the door and ate one of the pieces of candy. All of the children kept watching the door waiting for the adult to return to the room. They knew they weren’t supposed to touch the candy. Human nature is funny and almost predictable. People are like that. Their behaviors are different when they think they are alone.
Being a teacher gives us all kinds of opportunity to watch children when they think they aren’t being watched. It is interesting to watch them draw and paint. Some attack the work with determined vengeance, knowing exactly what they will do next. Others are very precise and careful about each brush stroke. Many talk to themselves as they work, carrying on full conversations about what they will do next. But I have noticed a big difference in the dynamics of the classroom between painting and drawing. When children are painting, they are very focused, entirely onto the paper they are working on. The classroom is usually pretty quiet when kids are painting. This goes for adults also. Painting seems to require some distinct concentration, more than drawing. Interesting phenomenon at least in my observations.
So, do you think we are different people when we think we are not being watched? Somehow, I think so, and more so in children. Children usually know their boundaries and are visibly uncomfortable when adult supervision is suddenly removed from their situation. The support is gone and it feels strange to them to be on their own. Tempting them with something and telling them not to touch it even makes it stranger to them. Natural curiosity kicks in and they want to touch even though they have been told not to. The child with self-discipline did not touch the candy.
Because adult’s boundaries are much wider there is not so much change. They take more liberties because they don’t have so much in the way of consequence hanging over them. However, in some cases there are consequences and they will take advantage anyway. Shoplifting is an example of that. Shoplifters forget there are security cameras everywhere and nine times out of ten they will be video taped in the process of a theft. The children and the candy knew under normal circumstances they would have consequences and some remembered that.
Observing people is very interesting and quite revealing about their personalities, especially when observing children. What will they do when they grow up?