While at church today, I was sitting behind some visitors that were there for a baptism.  There were two teenagers along with their mother.  At one point early in the service, the mother handed the son her cell phone, while he was holding his own.  He got on his myspace page on one phone and began texting on the other.  This continued through the entire service.  In fact, the young man almost missed taking pictures of his relative’s baptism because he couldn’t put the phone down long enough to hold the camera with both hand.  His sister made faces, and talked and laughed with her brother and mother at various people in the church-the Cantor, singers in the Choir, people going up for communion.  And though they were at church to celebrate this baptism, and the mother was dressed for the occasion, neither of the teens seemed to be concerned about their appearance:  jeans with rips and holes; underwear and bra straps hanging out; sneakers; hair uncombed, you get the picture.

I get that the Lord doesn’t care what you like when you come to church,  but I found myself shaking my head.  If the teenagers’ appearance and behavior weren’t appalling enough, the fact that their mother sat right next to them and allowed it was even more tragic.  That they didn’t know to dress appropriately for the occasion (even a nicer, unholey pair of jeans would have been better), to NOT be on the phone, and to not talk through the entire service was disheartening.

I’ve heard people say that kids have no respect for anything these days; neither their elders, nor themselves.  But if we, as a society, do not TEACH them to respect themselves and others, then we can’t have the expectation that they do so. We must, while they are in our presence, however brief the moment, teach them what the expectations are, demonstrate the expectations through our own behavior, and hold them accountable. I believe if we teach our children the expectations and work with them until they get them, the children will rise to meet those expectations.

I had a student in my three-year old class some years ago who would cuss every other word and it was clear that she was getting it from home.  Every time she swore, I would let her know that our classroom was not the place for that and how to express herself in a more suitable manner.  It took a while, but she finally understood that it was unaaceptable for her to swear in my class, regardless of the language that was being used at home.  She learned that there was another way.

Parents in many cases, rather than discipline their children, want to be their friends.  My hubby and I tell our children that we are not here to be their friends, we are here to be their parents and our job as parents is to raise them to be independent, productive members of society who are kind and considerate of other people. My sons know that they are NEVER, EVER to hit a woman, they are to hold the door open, and to take their hats of when they come inside.  They know because we have taught them and my husband demonstrates it everyday. My daughters know that it is not appropriate for various body parts to hang out of their clothes. Our children know to say please and thank you, and to not address their elders by their first names, and to treat people the way they want to be treated.  Household Rules: #1-Don’t lie; #2-Don’t embarass the family; #3-Give 100% in everything you do.

Hopefully, the work that we put in will pay off and our children will be examples to others……and then our jobs as parents will be done.


3 Responses to “Expectations……”

  1. Rita Zimmerman Says:

    Well said. Amen!

  2. Linda Says:

    here, here!

  3. Molly Says:

    So true…

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