Proverbs 22:6 (KJV) reads, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
This weekend I spent thirty hours in the presence of girls ranging in age from 5-14. While being around kids isn’t anything new to me, what was new was being around children who seemingly had no “home training.” For the most part, many of the girls were well behaved. However, there were instances where I wanted to literally haul off and give one of the teenagers a piece of my mind.
Yes, I said “home training”. I am old school in certain respects (pun intended), and this is one of them. I firmly believe that children need to stay in their place. No, you shouldn’t blindly accept everything you hear, and no, you shouldn’t trust just anyone. But when it comes to adults and people in positions of authority, I believe that children should show some respect.
Maybe it’s me. But it seems that a portion of today’s youth have lost their sense of respect for their elders and for authority figures. Take this scenario for instance. If a rule is given that you shouldn’t bring your electronic device to camp and you not only have it out in the presence of an adult, but go so far as to use it in their presence, should you not expect to be reprimanded for breaking a rule? Nope. One child had the never to roll her eyes, suck her teeth and continue her phone conversation. I was not only appalled; I was ready to give her a piece of my mind. But I held my tongue because of two reasons. One, I just met the child that day and had no rapport with her. Two, I didn’t want to make a bad impression on my superiors given the fact that I am brand new to the organization.
Seriously. What are parents teaching their children? Are parents teaching their children? Or are they expecting “teaching” to only take place at school? I know I may get some negative feedback because I’m not a parent, but seriously though, is there any instruction being given at home with regards on how to speak to, and interact with adults, because some of the girls I was around this weekend seemed to think we were on the same level. Granted, we may have been on the same height level, but don’t let my youthful look and petit frame fool you into believing you can disrespect me.
I’m curious. What happened to the respect? How and when did we get to a place in our lives where we stopped saying “please” and “thank you”? When did it become acceptable to refer to your parents by their first names? At what point did it become “normal” to openly violate rules and challenge authority in response to possible consequences?
I am in no way faultless; I was far from being a perfect child. However, I knew to respect the elders in my family and community. I wouldn’t dare respond to an adult’s request with “Who you think you talking to?” But that is what I see and hear all too often these days. If we think about the message in Proverbs 22:6, we (collectively—parents and adults who regularly interact with children) are training our children to act, behave, and react in specific ways in their adult lives based upon what we teach them (or the lack thereof) in their youth.
So here are my questions: How do we get it back? Yes, how do we get back to the days and times when children showed respect and reverence to adults and authority figures? What have we lost along the way? And can we find it again and bring it back?
What say you?