Wednesday, September 11, 2013

good examples

I had a post planned for today but I'll save it for later.  I've been bothered, since lunch with Ella yesterday, about the downright saddening attitude and discipline I witnessed during our lunch out after music class.  I initially titled this post "parenting styles", but I don't think there's anything particularly stylish about what I witnessed.

As we were sitting at our table eating, a large family was seated at a table nearby.  The family seemed to include a set of grandparents, the little boy in question, who appeared to be about three years old, and the boy's parents.  Ella naturally began smiling and staring at the boy and expressing interest in him and his activities.  I encouraged her to say hello and turned to him to say hello myself.  When I turned back around to continue eating my lunch (and encouraging Ella to eat hers), the boy must have made an undesirable comment in regard to us, or Ella, or myself.  I'm unsure because I did not hear it but I did hear his grandmother tell him that his comment was not very nice and that he needed to be nice to others.  Their tone of relaying this information to the boy was perfectly normal and left no cause for concern until, about five minutes later, the boy let out a short yell or scream.  What followed was a brash scolding from his grandmother about using an inside voice (ironically not in an inside voice) and the words "shut up" and "do you want me to take you outside" from his grandfather.  You would think that this would surely have been enough harsh language, especially since the boy had been silent since his initial scream, but then the mother chimed in with a swift "you want me to take you outside for a spanking?".  I was heartbroken listening to this, and even more disturbed when I saw Ella so intently focused on the exchange.  She immediately asked me with concern, "Mommy, what he doing?"

As I was trying to distract her and find the right words to explain to her that what she had just heard was disrespectful, I heard a smack (didn't see anything), the boy beginning to cry, and his grandmother yelling at him yet again "you don't do that".  He had just, moments before, been happily singing his ABC's.    

As saddened as I was for the little boy who was being subjected to such treatment, I was also upset that my daughter was a witness to it.  I firmly believe that we are to treat others the way we would wish to be treated - with respect and dignity.  A person's age should make no difference.  Everyone is entitled to be treated respectfully.  In hindsight, I find it unsurprising that the boy made a mean comment initially.  His parents and grandparents don't seem to be teaching him how to be nice to others through the actions they, themselves, display towards him.  Jordan said it perfectly in this blog post earlier this month.  We ARE the best examples of for our children, so let's be good examples.

This incident has reaffirmed my focus on and commitment to trying be the best example I can be for my daughter so that she will grow up understanding that respect is just what we do.

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