While getting good grades and achieving academic success are important, so is being a good hearted human being. At some point in time we seemed to have forgotten the importance of etiquette, having character and treating people with decency and respect. The world is full of people both young and older who think they are the only ones that matter. Children are taught they are the best at everything, they are entitled to everything and others are beneath them. Gone are the days when all children had to follow rules, with no exceptions. Parents no longer feel their child is capable of doing anything wrong and therefore not only do they not address issues with their children but they come up with excuses why it isn’t their child’s fault and put the blame elsewhere. What are we teaching our children?
We should all want children to grow up having characters that reflect a well rounded, well mannered, responsible and respectful person of society. Teaching academics and how to win at sports are not the most important things we should be teaching our children. Theodore Roosevelt once said “To educate a man in mind and not morals is to educate a menace to society.” Never have I found this statement truer than in recent years. We are seeing children being bullied by other children and even by adults more now than ever before. Why? We as a society are doing something wrong when it comes to teaching our children right from wrong. According to the National Association of Elementary School Principals, this lack of manners, respect and decency to others is a growing problem. For years educators have left most of the teaching of morals, etiquette & respect up to the families. However, these issues have gotten so out of hand that most school districts have had to start character building programs in order for the children to have some exposure to appropriate behaviors and life skills on how to treat other people.
Honesty, integrity, respect, the ability to demonstrate courtesy, politeness, tolerance and acceptance of everyone and self-control are just a few of the important characteristics everyone should have and most these days do not. This is a huge problem. I don’t know what happened to cause this but I do know that things are only going to get worse if something isn’t done. People are meaner. People are selfish and children seem to be being taught these negative characteristics and more. We as a whole have also lost a sense of community, respect, family importance and work ethic. How can we fix this? We can start by demonstrating these characteristics ourselves and really thinking about what is right and what is wrong. Then, we have to teach it to our children. They deserve to have every opportunity to succeed as true members of society and their community. This cannot happen if they are lead to believe that world revolves around them.
Here are few ways to improve children’s social behavior and improve their character:
- Stress to children the importance of treating others the same way they like to be treated.
- Help children understand the harm caused by thoughtless, unkind words and actions.
- Role-play difficult situations for children in order to demonstrate appropriate responses.
- Establish a politeness policy for basic manners and follow them as a family.
- Teach children the importance of thinking of others
- Address issues as they happen.
M ore on this topic: