Friday Two Cents: What Are Parents Teaching Their Children?



This week I was very busy working in three different kindergarten classes on top of the after school students I normally work with. In those classes Christmas preparations are well on their way and the students are looking forward to a visit from Santa Claus.

The best part of these visits was when I was able to read to them my favourite Christmas story, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” by Dr. Seuss. If you are not aware of the story I strongly recommend you read or more importantly share it with a young person in your life. It tells a tail of a person “The Grinch” who hates Christmas and in the end steals it from the town below. He thinks that he has stopped Christmas from coming but the town’s people still celebrate Christmas without any presents. The Grinch realizes that Christmas is not about the material gifts or food but there is something more about this holiday. Perhaps that the holiday is about being with family and people we love and care about or even something more.
I have always enjoyed this story at Christmas because for me the giving and receiving of presents, is not what Christmas is all about. Even at a young age I thought that Christmas has become too materialistic, too commercial for my liking. I read this story every year and it helps me to remember the important parts of Christmas. It is about being with people I care about and the good feelings that are shared with people. It is about my traditions and faith that comes from my family and friends. No matter how upset I am during this time I try to see that there are others out there worse off and I thank God for the blessings that I do have.
It is not always easy. I have had Christmas’s were I was down right miserable. But I try to see past these troubles. This year I had a disheartening experience with the students in the older grades. It appears that no matter what good I try to do it falls on deaf ears. One incident had to deal with a student quieting the Christmas play because he wanted to watch Star Wars the opening night, the same night of the concert. But the damming thing was that the parent supported it. Forget teaching their child the value of keeping their word or fulfilling their commitments, if they do not want to do something just quit. What lesson is the parent teaching their child?

I want it because I want it.

Another incident was told to me by a colleague, about another student when the teacher tried to show and teach the students about compassion and empathy. The teacher showed the students images of starving children and asking them why they should try to help, one student said they would rather keep their money and then go on a cruise. That statement was a bit advanced for the student and it sounded like a statement of what the parent’s might say. I sometimes wonder what the students are learning outside the school. From what I saw and heard this week I can get a pretty clear picture.
I have often wondered what kind of people, we as a society, are teaching our children to become. Then I experience these events and I begin to wonder if there is any hope for us. Yet when I see other students look at them with confused faces and shocked looks I know that these few students and their families are in the minority. I then look at my nieces and what kind of little people they are growing up to become and my faith in human kindness is rekindled. The majority of parents are teaching their children the values of how to live a moral life. In the end that is where the real teaching has to begin.  

Parents teaching their children

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