Friday, March 26, 2010
DO YOU KNOW WHO IS LISTENING?
When I was a teen my mother and I were visiting a neighbor when my mother related a story about a prowler we had. She told about seeing him run out of our back yard one dark summer night and not telling me because she was afraid I wouldn't babysit my younger siblings anymore. Now I don't agree with what she did but that is not the purpose of this post. The point is when she told this story she forgot I was in the room!
How often do we adults say something that we did not intend for young ears without checking to see who is listening? Some things shouldn't be said at all in any company much less in front of children. Have you ever threatened violence or wished an accident on a driver who cut you off or was driving too slow? Did you have children in the car at the time? Have you ever muttered something under your breath about your spouse? Do you call salespeople offensive names when they are out of range but your children are not? Children are impressionable. They are little sponges soaking up everything their parents say and do.
This morning I heard on the news about threats of violence made against politicians who voted for the Health Care Bill. It doesn't matter which party you belong to, making threats of violence against another human being for disagreeing with you is wrong. Making threats of violence against anyone is wrong. Making threats in front of your children could be disasterous! Too many people express their anger, or feelings of weakness, in terms of violence. I know that often these threats are said in the heat of the moment by people who feel powerless and would never do the things they suggest, but the listener, young or old, may take that threat seriously. In part this may be why children turn to violence against friends or schoolmates. Children take things literally.
We screen the programs our children watch on television for language and violent content, but what about the words spoken by the most influential people in our children's lives? Children are copycats...they may do what they hear you say. Think before you speak and then look to see who is listening.