I’m concerned for the examples our young children are being given today. Sure, I can hear you saying – “Here we go again, more parenting advice from someone whose living in the past.” That may be true, but I may be in a better position, in the time of my life, to see things that aren’t being observed by young parents. Kids are being exposed to the ugliest side of civilization before they begin school. Most of that can be seen on the evening news.
What are the messages these young, precious minds are picking up?
- It’s OK to talk back to your parents – you have rights too. (often seen in commercials or sitcoms.)
- It’s OK to be disrespectful to your teachers – they’re just overpaid babysitters.
- It’s OK to get angry when you don’t get your way. Everyone should have a voice.
- It’s OK to blame someone else for your bad behavior. If they hadn’t made the suggestion, you never would’ve done it.
- It’s OK to leave your room in a constant state of chaos. Mom will take care of it when she gets tired of ragging on you about it.
- It’s OK to riot, graffiti, loot and steal. You see it all the time during a protest.
- It’s OK to settle your disputes with violent behavior.
- It’s OK to blow up at authority. Everyone is out to get you, right?
- It’s OK to bully someone on the internet. Who will ever know it’s you?
- It’s OK to stand up for your beliefs – even if it means demeaning others.
- It’s OK to voice your opinion on any platform – whether an awards event, sporting event, the classroom or in church.
- It’s OK to think you’re better than anyone else. You deserve it.
- It’s OK to get a participation award – you took your precious time to be involved, why shouldn’t you be rewarded?
- It’s OK to lie, steal, bear false witness, commit adultery, have sex before marriage, have sex with anyone, murder, desire what others have and put yourself on a pedestal. Who needs God? He just gets in the way of the things we want to do.
What’s missing from this scenario and how do you control it? We can’t keep our children from seeing or hearing these things. But we can used them as talking points to open discussion about why this behavior is unhealthy, hurtful or just plain wrong. The job of parenting isn’t easy, but we should definitely not be leaving their learning in the hands of others. Ground work needs to be carved out in the home first, so they know how to discern when the time comes.
Many teachers have had it up to their ears, dealing with undisciplined children – kids who have been enabled from day one. Why do you think there’s a shortage of those who even want to teach anymore? Their hands have been tied, their lives are in danger at times, and they don’t get paid enough. We also have young teachers who have lived the things that our children are hearing about today.
Each day, across this country, teachers start out with high hopes – dreams of changing and inspiring young lives – building another Einstein or Thoreau – instilling a desire to learn, grow and achieve. Sometimes they get lucky and find kids that still want to be inspired. I know there are good kids, with responsible parents who are genuinely concerned about their children, but the world has changed so much in the past 20-40 years, that nothing short of putting them in isolation is going to help and of course that’s not an option.
The first things children learn, are from their parents. Those few short years they have them at home are critical to what they will become. Teaching them to respect others as themselves – how to share – how to listen to each other, solve problems without anger and live by Christ’s example – are the seeds for building good character. They learn by example. Be a good one!