Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wednesday's Words for August 17, 2011

So I was sitting on my front porch a couple evenings ago. It was that time of day when the heat is just right, the shadows comfortable with sun dappling through trees, and the neighbourhood kids out and about enjoying their summer.

On this particular day, our youngest grandson was playing with a friend of his a couple of doors down. They had water guns and were taking turns trying to see who could shoot the farthest.

Yes, I had already been asked if they could shoot each other and I (being a party-pooper kind of granny) had said no.

As they were playing, the other boy’s younger sister chose to ride her bike back and forth along the street.

She got distracted watching the boys, lost control of her bicycle, and ended up on the pavement. Now, she wasn’t badly hurt, just a minor scrape to her knee and a major one to her ego.

Even before her father came out of the house and picked her up she was wailing that it wasn’t her fault she’d fallen; the boys had made her fall.

Having seen the entire episode unfold, I will say that the little girl, who’s 8, let her attention wander, watching the boys instead of what she was doing and where she was going on her bike. However, neither boy did anything to cause her to fall. They weren’t even “shooting” in her direction.

As I sat and pondered this mini-accident, what got me was that in fact that entire episode struck me as being a micro-encapsulation of what I think is the main thing that’s wrong with today’s society.

My question isn’t so much doesn’t anyone own their own actions anymore? It’s more, what the heck are we really teaching our children and grandchildren?

I can guarantee you, that if that had same thing had happened to one of my kids, along with the hugs and the murmurs of sympathy and Band-Aids would have been the words, “well, if you’d been paying attention to what you were doing, you wouldn’t have fallen and gotten hurt”.

It seems to me that these days, we let our children get away with saying whatever they want, which mostly is to publicly disavow any culpability in their own stupid actions.

Thus they don’t learn to think before they act, or look before they leap. They aren’t taught the simple logic of cause and effect. They’re not made aware that their actions can have consequences that go far beyond the one simple moment of inattention, or far beyond anything they could ever imagine.

Having these lessons learned when they are small, like my young neighbor, will result in scraped knees and banged elbows, and bruised egos. Maybe, they’ll result in a broken arm or leg, or a mild concussion.

But failure to learn these lessons when our children are young could have possible much more catastrophic outcomes for them when they become teens or young adults.

They could lose relationships, or jobs, or sometimes something totally irreplaceable.
Some of those consequences don’t bear thinking about.

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Drawing August 31 2011

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