Sunday, August 28, 2011

Parenting by Example

We teach our kids that bullying of ANY kind is wrong.

We teach our kids that intolerance of ANY kind is wrong.

Do we really believe that? Do we truly practice what we preach? Or do we just tell the kids that just to make ourselves feel better? Do as I say and not as I do, in other words?

If we say that bullying is wrong, but push people around(figuratively or literally), THAT is what a child learns.

If we say that intolerance is wrong, but act with hatred toward anyone who doesn't agree with us, THAT is what a child learns.

If we say that conflicts need to be resolved, but refuse to talk to our cousin Merle because he borrowed our lawnmower and broke it, THAT is what a child learns.

Children are always watching, always listening. They are taking their cue from their parents and the adults around them, but they soon forget what you say to them. They never forget what the see you DO. Actions speak louder than words is not just a pithy quote; it is a stone-cold truth.

There is bullying, intolerance, and much more happening right now in the public eye in politics. I am not going to get into who is right and who is wrong, because I tend to get rant-y over idiocy. Democrats declared Republicans to be stupid conservatives who--gasp!--hate the poor, children, and puppies. Republicans declared Democrats to be stupid liberals who--gasp!--hate capitalism and cats. If you don't believe as I do then you are evil and must be destroyed and I will never, ever agree with you is the message that I get out of all that. It extends outside of Washington.

What do children think when they see their parent stop driving just to rip an Obama bumper sticker off of someone's car? What do children think, when they see their parent start screaming obscenities at the grocery cashier because she is wearing a pro-life button? What do children think, when they hear the preacher at their church declare every Sunday that anyone who is gay or Muslim or whatever is going to hell, and watch their parents nod in agreement?

Should it really be do as I say, not as I do for something this important?

All the anti-bullying programs.

All the tolerance training.

All the effort.

Negated by the behavior of the adults around them.

If we truly believe that it is wrong to be intolerant of others, then we need to do more than tell our children that. We need to BE what we tell them, and parent by example. Be the change you want to see in the world, the saying goes. If you want your kids to learn to be tolerant, loving people... be a loving, tolerant person yourself. The children are watching.

1 comment:

I welcome comments, but reserve the right to correct your spelling because I am OCD about it!