As I See It: What are we teaching our children?
I'm not going to start this column by praising President Trump. I'm going to start it by asking some pointed questions about how we are reacting to his rhetoric and behavior.
For perspective, I have been comparing how I was as a parent to how I am now as a grandparent. As a parent, I was rather impatient, prone to argue - sometimes loudly and over things that weren't very important. As a parent I didn't realize all that my children were learning from my behavior. Thankfully, in some cases, they learned how not to act.
Now that I'm a grandparent, with more than 20 years of experience in that role, I have noticed that my grandchildren are information sponges who soak up everything - except how to pick up their clothes sometimes. They hear everything we say. They don't always appear to be paying attention to what we say, but we've probably all been surprised when we hear something come out of their mouths that they could have only heard from us.
When the president goes on a rant and says things he shouldn't, what is our reaction? Some of us go on our own rant in response, foaming at the mouth and using language or behavior that is worse than what he used.
What are the children supposed to learn from this? Instead of pointing out to our children in a mature, mentoring way the unfortunate nature of his behavior, we often show them something far worse - and we wonder why so many young people are disrespectful of parents, teachers, the police and nearly everyone else in authority
We excused the philandering of President Clinton and now have a far more promiscuous and immoral society as a reward for our lack of concern.
So, we choose to blame this president for all the unrest and divisiveness in our society in such a way that makes it impossible to really determine who bears the most responsibility. We have used the terms Nazi, racist, bigot, homophobe, dictator and other derogatory labels over and over to the point that they cease to have real impact or meaning. Yet, that is what too many people seem to rely upon anyway.
Do you wonder why all the young people are lost in the world of their electronic devices? Besides succumbing to the marketing of all the social media sites, apps and games, they might just be trying to escape the adult world of 24/7/365 over-the-top bad news and bombastic analysis that seems to force its way into our eyes and ears.
As Walt Kelly wrote in the Pogo cartoon strip long ago, "We have met the enemy and he is us."
Well, that's the way I see it.