Sunday night at last! It’s been a busy weekend and I woke up sick Saturday morning to top it off. I had been fighting a sinus infection for about a week, and it ended with a fever and body ache on Saturday and it was not fun. And we had family over so I had to get better quick. So I finally gave in and had to purchase some pain medicine and something for my sinus infection and by Saturday evening I was almost 100% myself.
So the main reason we had family over was because my sister-in-law’s husband came to help my husband with the chicken pen that he has been working on for what it seems like a long time now. So they worked on it most of the day Sunday, and I was on toddler duty all day. I never thought it would take this much work and this much time to get that chicken coop and pen up and running. And even so, they didn’t finish but it’s closed to being done and hopefully I can finally write a post about how we built it.
Anyways, sorry about the long intro. My sister-in-law has a daughter that is one year older than my own daughter, so they love to be around each other and play together. I love my niece and she is my goddaughter as well so we are very connected. But I feel like her parents aren’t doing such a great job about educating her. I know I will have to bring up the topic to them because as her godmother, I have the responsibility to see that she is being raised properly and respectfully, but I’m not sure how to do it. The mom is my sister-in-law and I don’t want to say something that will upset our relationship. Anyways, that is not why I’m writing this post.
There are certain things that my niece did during the stay that I don’t agree with, and much less with the manner on how the parents handled the situations. For starters, she hit her mom. Just like that, she slapped her on the arm because her mom was trying to feed her breakfast and she didn’t want to eat it. She made a tantrum because she didn’t have her way on something that I forgot what it was. She didn’t want to share the swing with my son, two years younger than him, and she made another tantrum and hit her own older brother because of it. She also talks back, and she tried to command my daughter to do something she didn’t necessarily want to do. And the list goes on, and on.
And this just got me thinking about all those teenagers out there in the world that are rude, indifferent, and want to do their own will. And I couldn’t help to think about how it all starts. And I strongly believe that it all starts at home, with the parents. We are responsible for teaching our children what is right and what is wrong. But even further, we are responsible to raise respectful children, educated children, caring children, polite children, good children. Because these children will become teenagers, and these teenagers will become young adults. And these adults will become parents, and so the cycle starts again. And soon, generations are lost because we couldn’t raise our children well.
I know that this is a lot of responsibility. We are not only parents making sure our children are well fed, well dressed and well taken care of but we are also educators. We are their first teachers and their first examples of what they should be when they grow up. Oh yes, it is a lot of responsibility. Children are the future, and I’m sure you’ve heard that before, and we want a great future so we need to prepare them and we need to raise them to be better than our own selves.
You want your children to be better than you, don’t you? You want them to succeed more than you, don’t you? You want them to have a better life than you, don’t you? I DO. I want my children to be 100 times better than me in all ways possible. My expectations are high but I was raised that way. My parents would tell me that all the time, they would say that they wanted me to be better than them and so they raised me with high standards.
So how do we raised respectful children? I have some ideas based on my parents own doing, but I’m no expert. I’m learning as I go and I’m teaching my children what I think is appropriate for children to learn.
For starters, they don’t watch TV meant for grown ups. Why do I point this, you might asked? Because I know a lot of parents that watch a movie, or another TV show, with their small children seating by their side. In those movies/shows, they hear cause words, they see violence, they see sex, the see drugs/alcohol, and they start learning things they should not see or hear until they are older. I don’t even let my toddlers watch news because all they show is a bad world. I’m not trying to keep them away from this, but I’m postponing it as much as I can so they have an opinion of their own. So once they are ready, they can make their own decisions about what is good or bad, not what the TV shows them.
Technology is everywhere now; this makes things different from where you and I were raised. I don’t have anything against technology, I enjoy it very much myself. But I will not allow technology to teach my children for me. That is my job and my joy. And with God’s grace, I will one day see the fruit from my labor. Now, there are ways to use technology properly to teach them and we make sure the TV shows and movies they are something that we want them to see. Is everything they see the best choice? Maybe not, but I do try to explain what’s going on if I feel is not too appropriate.
I’m also trying to instill basic manners on them, such as to greet people when they arrive or say goodbye when they leave. I’m teaching them to say please, thank you, I’m sorry and excuse me when appropriate. They are learning to not interrupt when mommy and daddy are talking, or when other adults are talking. I’m teaching them that when we are out, they have to be by my side unless I’ve allowed them to go running around. I’m also teaching them not to talk to strangers, or accept anything from them unless I’m there with them and I’ve told them they can take it. I’m also teaching them not to take anything that does not belong to them. And I’m teaching them to not hit anybody, including us. I’m teaching them to be kind to people and animals. To be generous. To be polite. To be curious. To love to learn. To love life and enjoy it. And the list goes on and on here as well.
I wish I could say there is a perfect way to raise perfect children. But nobody is perfect. We are going to make mistakes as parents, and our children our going to make mistakes as children. And that is okay, as long as we use those mistakes and learn from them.
If anything, I want you to take away something from this post, and that is: the next time you see a teenager misbehaving, disrespectful, indifferent, annoying, mean, a criminal, and ignorant, make sure that teenager is not yours. Make sure you’ve raised your children better than that. Make sure you’ve raised your children to make you proud, because after all, we’ll be, in part, responsible for their futures, and in turn responsible for the future of an entire country. So let’s make a difference and raise respectful children now. God will help us in our journey.