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Sunday, August 24, 2014

What Are We Teaching Our Children

Yesterday was a beautiful day. Not too hot, not too cold, no humidity!

A nice day to take LittleGuy and BigBro to the park or on a hike. So Auntie and I took the boys to a place that offered both.

It is a natural area under the auspices of the Department of Conservation and Recreation in Massachusetts. It is beautiful, "natural", and FREE! 

The parking is free. The picnic areas are free. The indoor bathrooms are free. The park is free!

Who could ask for anything more?

Yesterday, the only restriction placed on the users of the park was not to walk on the center strip of the parking lot. They had cordoned the area off with yellow caution tape and posted a sign not to walk there because they were re-seeding the grass. 

It is a nice little strip with trees to provide the cars with a modicum of shade on a hot day, with the added benefit of taking the carbon monoxide the cars emit and turning it into better quality air.

The DCR even had a young man working the center strip pulling weeds (by hand) out of the seeded area. 

The arthritis in my ankle was bad yesterday, so I chose to sit in the car (with the windows open) and work on my knitting. (The paths are rocky, pitted, and have tree roots. A fun walk, not necessarily good when your ankle wants to meet a woodsman with an ax.)

As I sat listening to Celtic music on NPR and knitting away I watched as a series of parents in their 30s take their children (ages ranging from 6-12) under the yellow caution tape and trampling over the seeded strip.

What are these parents thinking?

Do they think they are mighty rebels? Shunning society rules? Bravely defying authority?

What I saw were people too lazy to take half a dozen extra steps to get to their cars.

What I saw were people who are teaching their children to piss on everyone else's rights and property because they only care about their own convenience.

What I saw were people who will be in denial when their kids get into trouble because they flaunt the rules at school or disdain the laws of the land. (These are the parents who will beat their breasts and say "How could you do this too us?")

What I saw were people who would be suing the state if they twisted an ankle or tripped over the high curb stones.

I saw people who thought they were entitled to do anything they want.

This might sound like a minor transgression, but it wasn't just one family, it was close to a dozen. In the meantime I was pleased to see at least fifty other people walk around the area. That group consisted of a few families with children, including my daughter and grandsons, young men and women in their 20s, and many older people.

One other thing that bothered me, but I am not going to go all wild about it today . . . when people go out to "enjoy nature" why do they have to stink it up for everyone else by smoking cigarettes. I thought the purpose of going into nature was to enjoy the fresh air!

Now that I have finished my tirade, I would like to add some words of wisdom. In the 70s every parent I know had this taped to the refrigerator. Maybe it is time to post it again!!!

Children Learn What They LiveBy Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D.

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.
Copyright © 1972 by Dorothy Law Nolte