Saturday, April 27, 2013

Our Responsibility to Children

I think a lot about children, my own, my children at school, the children I teach at church. I am surrounded by them! The hardest thing about working at a school and establishing a bond with these little ones is to me knowing that some of them live very sad lives, and deal with some very heavy things for such small people. Sometimes the only happy times they have are when they are at school. I get very emotionally invested.  My natural inclination is to step in and help. That is not always possible, and the best that I can do is be kind to them when I have them.

So there have been nights that I have cried over these children. And it leaves me to wonder, as a society where are we headed? The other day my husband and I took our two younger children to lunch. We came in and sat down in a booth, were served our chips and salsa and drinks, and were contentedly waiting for our meal. Another group of adults came in, and out of all of the tables available to them in the restaurant they chose the one right next to ours. As their conversation progressed, a woman was growing somewhat heated in her recounting of her struggles at work and began to use some rather harsh language.

At this point I was looking at my husband and he was looking at me with surprised expressions. You know, raised eyebrows and mouths shaped in like Os. I can’t say that I have never cursed. As a matter of fact, when one is really upset or angry cursing seems very therapeutic and the natural thing to do. However, I am able to control my mouth when around young children. So I can understand why she may have been dropping a few explicatives here and there. At this point I grew somewhat uncomfortable wondering if I should say something or just try and ignore it. But being the loud mouth that I am I turned to her and as politely as I could, explained to her that my children were with me and I asked her if she would watch her language. I said thank you and then tried to go back to eating.
The woman was good enough to do as I asked. I will say that she and the party at her table looked at me as if I were from outer space, but she complied. I had a similar situation arise when I took my oldest to the park for a run. As we rounded the corner on the trail and were running past the parking area, a group of men who had come to play basket ball were blaring some music that was full of base and bad lyrics. Is it just me or does one really need to use the F-bomb several times consecutively in order to communicate one is displeased?

I felt apprehensive in approaching them, but no one else seemed willing. Again, I tried to be polite, but I pointed out that they were at a park full of children. I asked them if they would turn down the music, that the language was not appropriate for little one’s ears. They seemed very surprised and even laughed at me, but they turned down the music.
Which leads me to this question: Have we as a society, gotten to a place where we no longer care for the sanctity of childhood? What are we saying and doing in front of them that should be reserved for a time when they are not around? Are we taking away their innocence by behaving in such thoughtless ways? I think as adults and as a society, we owe them the gift of common decency. They deserve to have uncluttered, carefree lives. They should have the chance to be childish and naïve and lighthearted. They should be able to feel loved and secure. We have that responsibility.

A woman, even if she does not have children of her own, has the gift of motherhood, a responsibility to nurture and protect those around her. I will do that for your children when you are not there, and I hope that you will do the same for mine. Just asking you to think about it.     


  1. People have forgotten basic manners!

  2. Don't get me started on declining morals in our society!