By: Columnist Bob Grafe
First Published: February 4, 2010
Have you noticed at about the same time you really need to be teaching your children or grandchildren something very important — they suddenly know more than you do?
They really don’t. But, just try convincing them of that. They’ll frequently set you straight with a form of “new-age” logic that has no resemblance to “old-age” logic.
Senior citizens, with their “old-age” logic, pick up on the communication “disconnect” between their own children and their children’s children far quicker than the actual parents usually do.
At times, it’s almost a Venus versus Mars relationship.
The combination of very busy lives while raising children and today having children who are being partly raised by Internet mentors, public school systems gone adrift, and popular movies and television programs that are anything but “reality,” provides for this ever-increasing generational parting of the way.
Is that a bad thing?
Someone else may attempt to justify the new-age manner in which children are “trained” for adulthood — but in doing so they will surely fail to recognize the time-proven principles that best build the human muscle of personal ethics, morals and integrity.
Example! Example! Example!
Do senior citizens have any kind of responsibility to set an example of good for their grandchildren and/or their own children?
I would argue that we do if we recognize and want to help “fix” the ills of the society we are currently living within and to perhaps leave this world a little better than we found it — when we finally depart.
At some point in our lives, we realize that children learn best from the actual examples that we set. For the most part, senior citizen grandparents do a good job of being consistent in what they say and actually do.
As you know that is not always the case as you are progressing towards senior citizenship.
It’s not an easy sell to either children or grandchildren, for example, to simply tell them not to smoke cigarettes if you have a three-pack-a-day nicotine habit. Even new-age logic computes the hypocrisy in that scenario.
Even those well-intentioned parents who are convinced that their children “need” religion miss the point when they simply drop the kids off at the front door of the church and pick them up after services.
“Say your prayers” doesn’t have the same meaning to children if they’ve never heard their “teacher” actually pray.
Just “sampling” a few pieces of loose candy or grapes while shopping at the grocery store with our children or grandchildren in tow may just “set-up” (by example) a child for future shop-lifting charges for just “sampling” a few CDs.
While some academics (mostly preparing for mandatory tests these days) taught in the public schools may have application in the “making a living” department, they fall way short of the mark of excellence when it comes to the realities of life such as becoming a future good parent or a trustworthy, responsible and honest employee or business owner.
While attending public schools, where the existence of God, the actual study of the Constitution and the “un-modified” lessons in history are becoming rare, our children and grandchildren frequently miss out on the opportunity of leaning through the examples of good teachers and administrators who are true to their principles — but, limited by the demands of political correctness in their “school” setting.
When senior citizens go to the polls and vote in local, state and national elections (and they are very good at that), they are providing a tremendous example for their children and grandchildren to follow.
But, when seniors choose not to exercise their citizenship “duty” to vote, it is a sure bet that many of our grandchildren and children are watching — and learning from that example as well.
While we seniors still have the time and energy to “do something good,” it might be a wise decision to think through all of those significant actions that we take in our lives where we actually do set an example for our children and grandchildren.
Is it important to set an example of not eating too much ice cream or candy? Sure. That is probably an important health matter.
But, is that as important as teaching that one should always be honest in their dealings with their fellow-man and woman? Probably not.
For many of us seniors there is still plenty of time to provide excellent examples, high in the principles of ethics, morals and integrity, for at least those within our own immediate families and circle of friends.
What is the legacy you want to leave the generations who follow you?