From the time they are little. Before they can use their words. We tell our children to use inside voices, share their toys, say/wave hello. As they get older, we send them to school and friend’s houses and remind them to be good, use their manners, and remember to say please & thank you.
We talk so much about teaching our children to be compassionate, empathetic and respectful of others, both in school and at home, yet as our family begins another baseball season, I am quickly reminded why our children do what they do. Why we continue to see kids saying and doing hurtful things to others. Just as they mimic the positive things the adults in their lives do, they also mimic the negative.
In just the last week I witnessed parents yelling at umpires, arguing with coaches who are volunteering their time, complaining about a schedule not working with their personal schedule, making insulting about the kids on the opposing team, and a mom shocked that I would allow her to sit on the my dry blanket on the wet bleachers simply because I was from the opposing team. After watching and coaching my children in sports over the last 10 years, I shouldn’t be surprised anymore…yet I am because I do believe there is more good than bad; that the bad news simply travels faster and speaks louder. These issues are not limited to sports; we witness them while shopping, at work and while at school, just about anywhere you go.
We need to remember that children are not only listening to what we tell them, but they are also observing our actions. We need to model those “good” traits that we so wish for our children to possess…even when we think they aren’t paying attention.