I have often wondered how to change the world…how to leave a mark or make a difference. I have come to the conclusion that the best way for each of us to impact the world both now and in the future is by teaching our children. The brain of a young child is a sponge that can and will learn from everything all the senses of the body are feeding it. Teaching Our Children is the key to the future.
This morning as I was driving to work I took the local route as opposed to the interstate. As I looked around and watched what was going on, I made a few observations:
I saw several vehicles with small children in them, and the parents were smoking with them in the car.
I saw a few people with small children - throwing trash out onto the road.
There were some vehicles with small children without car seats or seat belts.
There were Moms, driving and putting on make-up in the mirror – with children in the car.
I saw a few drivers with small children that could not get anywhere fast enough, giving unfriendly hand gestures to their fellow drivers while weaving in and out of the traffic.
I then stopped for breakfast and witnessed a few other interesting behaviors:
I heard a mother tell her daughter she was stupid; another scream at her child; and other parents screaming and speaking rudely to each other in front of their children.
Last night I watched a baseball coach scream at 9 year old boys to shut up while they were on the field. I have watched children steal while the parents knew it. And I have seen parents drink and drive with their children. On other occasions I have seen racism.
So - this is all just my opinion of course - what I take from this is as follows:
If the smoking parents care so little for the health of their young children (the most susceptible to second-hand smoke) that they will smoke in the car, they are teaching the children it is OK to disregard others for your own personal satisfaction. They are also teaching them it is OK to smoke (which 20% of the population does), and not to be concerned for the health of children, or the burden it is going to place on society. Clearly the message is that it is OK to be self centered.
If it is OK to throw trash out of the car, clearly we are teaching our children it is OK to disregard the environment, the people, and the animals that make up this world, and that we are not accountable for our actions. We are teaching our children it is OK to harm the place we live and shift the burden to someone else to clean up our mess.
When we disregard proven safety measures to protect our children, or not pay attention to our driving, we put our family, as well as the families of others, at risk. One only has to watch the daily news to see another death caused by some careless action of not using a seat belt, not paying attention, or driving under the influence. Are we teaching our children it is OK to disregard the safety of others?
When we are rude and disrespectful to others through verbal assault or some hand gesture with significance, we are teaching our children to be rude and disrespectful.
To scream at children or demean them, it can only teach them it is OK to scream and demean people.
If you are racist, you are teaching your child it is OK, we are not all equal, and certain people should have privileges and rights over others.
If we cheat or steal or allow our children to do the same, we are teaching them it is all OK.
There are a lot of really good people in this world that try to do the right thing and try to be good people. But sometimes we forget the little eyes and ears that are connected to the sponge-like brains of our children are upon us - watching, listening and learning everything we teach them. What we teach them now will determine how they view life , others, and what the world will become. We should all try harder to be the example we want our children to emulate.