I was thinking the other day about a scenario that took place at a house we had bought several years ago.
We awoke on a Sunday morning to find a car that wasn’t ours, parked in our driveway. Wondering what was up with that and limited on time, we decided that after church, we would deal with it.
After arriving back at our house, observing that the car was still there, we called the police who promptly arrived to investigate.
It didn’t take long for the police to check things out and discover that the guy who owned it had been arrested the night before in a drug bust.
Before we had bought the house, some shady dealings had gone on in it and evidently the car owner had thought the same people still lived there and wouldn’t mind him parking there while he negotiated some shady dealings of his own.
The police informed us that we could have the car towed at our expense if we liked.
I announced that I didn’t like that idea and that I guess we just owned a new car since it happened to be in our driveway!
The police did acknowledge, however, that if they put a flag on it, the city would tow it and the owner would be charged instead.
Even a better idea!
However, the owner had a deadline to retrieve the car before it was towed.
I was finding the whole scene very interesting since the owner was in jail and wondered how he would accomplish this?
Fast forward to around 10:00 p.m. when another car creeps up our drive and out pops a “mom” looking sort of person to retrieve the car and drive it away.
Mom to the rescue to bail out the son who was doing the drug deal.
I had to wonder how many times in this young man’s life, did this sort of scenario take place?
Did anyone ever try to teach this guy respect and responsibility?
I can remember vividly when I was a teen in the 70’s and experiential drugs were on the rise.
My Dad told my brother and I that if we ever broke the law by being involved with drugs or anything else, he would not bail us out. We would sit in jail.
This was no threat. He sincerely meant it.
He wanted us to learn to respect the law, respect ourselves and if we couldn’t seem to do that then we would have to suffer the consequences and not him.
Why should he pay money to bail us out of trouble that we got ourselves into?
He was teaching us personal responsibility.
Respect and responsibility are taught when kids are young.
If you steal, you have to pay back what you stole.
If you lie, you must confess.
I fear that too many parents are making excuses for their kids and they are handicapping them for life.
If they are rude and disrespectful, we say, “oh they are tired or having a bad day”.
That may very well be but if we don’t teach them that having a bad day isn’t a free ticket to lash out at others, what will happen when they show up at work someday and the boss asks them to do something they don’t feel like doing because they are ‘having a bad day’?
What of a child who refuses to take responsibility for their chores or schoolwork?
I am aware of parents who actually do their children’s school work for them if they are behind. Others who call and yell at the teacher if their darling is failing.
Many kudos to the parent who cares enough to let their child actually get a well deserved “F” if he/she has failed to put in the effort.
That parent is giving their child a lesson in responsibility that is a life skill that will empower rather than handicap them.
No one else in life is going to pick up the slack for someone who isn’t pulling their own weight unless they are totally co-dependent.
When I see students cussing out teachers, law breakers cursing the police, an employee telling off the employer who pays him, I am looking at a person who not only disrespects the authority figure but himself as well.
Talk about self sabotage!
It makes no sense to me that a student would rage against a teacher who is trying to help him succeed.
Or a police officer who is trying to hold a person accountable to follow laws that are there for his/her own personal protection as well as societies at large.
A teacher commented to me the other day that students now demand that they get respect before they will give it. She wondered how any respect is going to happen if everyone is feeling entitled to get it before they have earned it anyway?
Most of us find that if we are respectful to others, they will be more than happy to treat us the same way.
Few teachers, employers or law enforcers tangle with a person who is respectful and responsible. Why would they?
It seems fitting here to remember the golden rule which basically says, “treat other’s the way you want to be treated.”
What if you were a teacher, a police officer, an employer?
Back in the day, when I attended parent/teacher conferences, I almost always asked, “is my child treating you with respect?” The teachers seemed surprised that a parent would actually care about how they were treated. That is very sad to me.
My childrens’ character honestly mattered far more to me than their grades ever did.
I fear that if we continue on this trajectory of blaming others for our own bad behavior, expecting others to bail us out of messes we get ourselves into, there will be too few who are respectful and responsible to carry the load for everyone else.
Hopefully, we can turn back the tide before it is too late.