Hmmmm, so lately, I’ve been hearing a great deal about how frustrated parents, teachers, and society is, in general, about the lack of respect that children show nowadays. In truth, I have even muttered these words in the past few weeks myself…
It does appear as though many of today’s children feel a bit entitled and don’t necessarily find it important to listen to the adults who are trying to help them. I’ve been told throughout my life that I have a gift, and that gift is, that I can see the world through the eyes of children. Well, with that being said, I figured this might just be important enough to dive into…
I’ve heard tons of people say this line of late, “When I was a kid…”
Now, go ahead and fill in the blanks (I’d be very interested to hear your response in the comment section).
Here’s some of what I heard…
“When I was a kid, I never would have talked to teachers the way these kids talk to their teachers. My parents would have had my head!”
“When I was a kid, if I talked back to my mom like that, she would have slapped my face!”
“When I was a kid, I didn’t have all of the things my kids have. I didn’t have everything I wanted. I think these kids are just plain spoiled!”
Hmmmm, and now my wheels begin to turn. When I was a kid, I would never have talked back to my parents, or any adults for that matter. I would never ignore my teacher when they were speaking to me, or laugh when I was being reprimanded for a choice in my behavior. I wouldn’t have done it because I knew I would disappoint my parents. I wasn’t necessarily afraid of them spanking me, or slapping my face, but I didn’t want to disappoint them. As I got older, it wasn’t my parents who I didn’t want to disappoint, it was God. Now that I realize that God is within me, I make good choices because they feel right…they feel aligned with Source…they feel good inside.
I grew up in a different world, and it’s true that a lot has changed. Unfortunately, that includes manners and respect in general. Honestly, as frustrating as this lack of respect is, we can’t really get angry with our kids if we are not taking the time to teach them, to connect with them, and to guide them.
As difficult as it is to look at our current world and realize that manners are not necessarily the norm, and respect, is not the guiding principle of behavior, we must realize that we are the only ones who can truly make a difference.
Let’s face it, we grew up with parents who got the belt if they were not well behaved. When our parents became parents, they in turn, would often use corporal punishment, or at least threaten it. My generation didn’t want to raise their children in fear. Instead, they wanted to give their children a voice and all that they never had. We’ve certainly done a terrific job with that, but we unfortunately forgot one important element…we forgot to teach them to care.
As a teacher of young children, and a mother of a lively and respectful six year old, I feel that my most important job is to teach my kids two concrete pillars in order to build a strong foundation for their lives.
The first is independence, and the second is interdependence. Children must first learn to depend on themselves and go within, to answer questions in life. My children’s book, “The Light Inside of Me,” helps guide children to make choices based on how it feels when they make a choice. Once children start to understand that they can make good decisions that feel right on their own, then we need to teach them to care. The only way to do this, is to teach interdependence…yeah, that’s right, we are all one…and what we do to others, we ultimately do to ourselves…the good ol’ Golden Rule!
Perhaps we’ve gone a bit too far, and we’ve done way too much for our children, not giving them the chance to really build a strong independence and belief in themselves. Maybe we’ve gotten to a ‘what’s in it for me‘ type of society, but it’s certainly not too late to make changes that would help our children and our society.
So…do you want the children in your life to show respect while still having a voice?
If so, here’s a 3 step formula to follow:
1) Teach them to care
2) Connect them to something bigger than themselves. Show them that ultimately, we are all ONE.
Lots of Love,
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