As a grandmother with more than a few miles on the clock I am prone to looking back at my own childhood and in particular how my parents taught me to respect others. I can’t help comparing my experience with how things are done today. Many people ask me why are kids so disrespectful these days and this is my answer to those people
First Lesson In Respect
One of the first things I learned when I went to school was not to go home and tell my parents the teacher was picking on me. If I did the first thing my mother would ask, in a tone that could melt the polar icecap, ‘What did you do wrong?’. I also found out Mum was a tail carrier and she passed it all on to my father when he got home from work and I would also get the sharp edge of his tongue.
These days when little Johnny comes home and complains about his teacher picking on him many mothers and fathers react by going to the school and giving the teacher a piece of their mind. This has the affect of undermining the teachers authority. It also creates a climate for disrespect to flourish.
My parent’s reaction to my whining taught me that adults were to be respected and teachers were to be obeyed. It certainly cut down on my ‘play up’ time at school. My parents, unlike some parents today, knew very well that their child could do wrong. They were also aware that children only told them what they wanted them to hear and there was much more to the story than what they were hearing. Yes, contrary to popular belief, everybody’s kids do tell fibs.
Assaults on Teachers
During my school days I never saw any child abuse or assault a teacher. It simply did not happen. Children learned to respect authority and they knew their place in the pecking order of life. Life wasn’t perfect but we certainly knew the rules.
These days many teachers are being assaulted by out of control, disrespectful students. Even preschool teachers complain about the language some children use and how they speak to them. The problem is these children hear the language at home and pass it on to their less knowledgeable class mates who have not heard it at home.
Monkey See Monkey Do
Parents used to be the child’s first teacher but today mothers are working and the child is learning from people outside his own home. They are excellent mimics and they soon pick up a lot of bad habits. In fact it seems they will learn bad things long before they learn good things.
Parents have a very big job trying to undo any negative things their child comes home with. Children do copy what they see and hear so parents should ensure what the child sees and hears at home are the things they want their child to learn.
As a child I was taken to church every Sunday with my parents and was sent to Sunday School. We also have Religious instruction in our school and it was compulsory.
The Role Of The Church
The church taught us to honor our mother and our father, to do unto others and so much more. It taught us that our bodies were the home of our soul and, through their teaching, we learned to respect ourselves and others.
As a teenager I never heard of illegal drugs. Some of us did sneak out behind the woodshed and smoke cigarettes and some of us tried a little illicit alcohol. However, the incidence of underage drinking was unheard of.
What We Have Lost
Today the family structure has changed completely. I grew up in an extended family where there were always uncles and aunts and cousins in my life.
Children today are part of a Nulear family. They have a mother and father and siblings and many don’t even know their aunts, uncles and cousins. Even the structure of the family has changed. Many children are being raised by single mums or dads and are part of a blended family with step parents and siblings.
A large percentage of marriages are ending in divorce and the numbers are rising steadily, tearing families apart. This is very difficult for a child.
Being expected to accept someone else in the role of a parent they loved and as part of their family can often become the tipping point for them. their behaviour deteriorates and the first casualty is often respect for the adults who they see as having have messed up their world.
The way people live today is very different to when I was a child. The TV series Happy Days could have been taken straight from my childhood except I wasn’t perfect and my parents were much more strict.
Teaching a child respect for authority and for others is one of the most important jobs a parent will ever undertake. Somewhere respect has become a casualty of our modern society and in it’s place we are seeing anger unleashed on innocent people.
Public drunkenness is leading to violence and people are being punched for no good reason. People are being attacked in a fit of road rage and many young people have no respect for themselves, the police, their parents or anyone else.
A growing number of young people are destroying their lives with drugs, alcohol, crime and violence and society seems to be powerless to stop them. If you have young children teach then well because by the time they reach their teens it is far too late.
As you may realize this subject is important to me. I worry about my own family and their safety in a world that is becoming increasingly unsafe. If you have a comment I would appreciate hearing from you and you can leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
My best wishes to you and your family.