Friday, October 28, 2011

Beware: Ranting Ahead.

What happened to the good old days where children were taught RESPECT!? As a child growing up, not SO distantly, in the 80's I was expected to show respect for other people and their property.  It seems these days that less and less children are respectful of ANYTHING.  ALL people should be expected to respect other people and their property.

As a child I was taught to respect my elders.  I called my parents respectful titles of mom, dad, or mommy and daddy.  I called my friend's parents brother or sister so-and-so or mom and dad if they were parents of my best friends.

I was expected to use respectful speech towards everyone.  I was not allowed to swear.  I was not allowed to sass.  In fact the one time I REMEMBER being spanked was because it was my FATHER who spanked me (a very rare occasion) for sassing my MOTHER.  I know I was spanked more than that one time, but that one is ingrained in my memory. 

I was expected to ask permission for things.  If I was hungry I was expected to ask for something, not just take it and go to town.  If I wanted to play on the neighbor's basketball court I was expected to knock on the door and ask their permission, and if they weren't home I didn't play.  If I wanted to go to a friend's house I was expected to ask before going.  If I LEFT a friend's house to go to another friend's house I was expected to call and let my parents know.

I was expected to respect property, my own and others'.  I did not go around trashing my home or others' homes.  I was expected to clean up after myself whether at home or at a friend's.  I was expected to play NICELY with other people's things and not to ruin them.

So...why this rant?  I sit here in my home where I am looking out at a backyard that has been trashed by children (my own and neighbors).  There is garbage ALL OVER.  The children have ripped all the foam off the trampoline net bars and tossed it all over the yard.  Some child has ripped a giant hole in the trampoline net.  There are shoes, jackets, and various other items of clothing strewn across the yard.  Now, I know that my own children are as much to blame as anyone.  Whether or not they participated in the trashing is a moot point: they allowed it to happen.  Guess who will be cleaning it all up?  My children and me, because I realize that it is as much my own fault that this has happened.

I TRY very hard to teach my children respect.  I am not perfect at teaching the concept, and I am not perfect at always enforcing the conecpt.  I'm human, so sue me.  However, teaching your children respect and expecting them to follow through is hard enough.  Add to that, being surrounded by other children who have NO concept of respect and it seems that all my hard training and teaching flies out the window in the face of peer pressure. 

At times I want to ban ALL other children from my house unless they have PROVEN themselves to be respectful and responsible.  However, I know that MY house is a GOOD place for these children to be.  Here they will not be exposed to crude language and questionable media.  Here they will be exposed to a family with values, love, and high expectations.  It feels very much like a catch 22:  If I ban the children from my home they lose the good influence my family can be for them but allowing them into my home is sometimes a tough pill to swallow as they have no respect for other people or their property.  What is a girl to do?

Thanks for allowing me to rant.  Now I can get my rear in gear and take care of the backyard.


Jenni said...

I understand what you are saying. Usually when we have friends over and before they start to do anything I give the rules they need to follow and everything seems to be okay for the most part. We say things like...the beds are not toys and we do not play on them. When we get stuff out to play with you need to remember to clean it up. Only two (sometimes I allow 3) friends on the tramp at a time and we do not play with or touch the net and no hanging on the bars around it. Be nice and remember to play fair. Try giving a few might help and your kids will remember them more.


Lynette said...

I think your friend Jenni is right. I'm so sorry your backyard turned into a disaster area. I'd be pretty angry, too! And your rant is exactly how I feel about rules and respect (and exactly how I was raised!). :)

Ben said...

You're very welcome that it got done today. It really does look a ton better.

SLC said...

Sorry to hear about your disaster. I know what you mean about the respect thing. We've had to work on that with neighbor kids coming over too. One time, a neighbor girl tracked in mud all over my new carpet - so I made her and my daughter (who invited her in) clean it up. Another time, the same girl trashed my daughter's room and I didn't realize it until after she went home. I made my daughter go get her from home and help clean up the mess. She didn't do it again. I like to have my home be a place my kids' friends can come over for the same reason you do, but I have to remind them of the rules and make sure my kids help enforce it. Sadly, we've had to make rules about the neighbor kids not being allowed to ride my kids' bike or scooters, etc for liability and so they don't get trashed. It's a hard balance of being a welcoming place, but having rules. Good luck - I'm still trying to figure it out.