What has happened to good judgment?
How is it that adults find it so hard to think clearly and carefully in our dealings with children?
Aren’t we supposed to protect them?
Aren’t we supposed to be role models?
Aren’t we supposed to lead the way?
Maybe children lose respect for adults because it isn’t mutual.
It starts when they are young, even toddlers. We parents scream at them, displaying all manner of impatience. Once children enter school, parents and teachers show high-levels of frustration with bad grades, or the poor choice of friends, or innocent pranks. Children become teens and we adults become afraid, rude and bossier than ever. And then we expect these young adults to listen to our advice and obey our directives?
I am not excusing children who disrupt class. No excuse. I just want adults to examine our own behavior and the way we choose to interact with children. And I want us to realize that the reason teens don’t take adults seriously and respect us is because we behave foolishly. We are irrational. We are unkind. We are disrespectful, we adults. We throw adult tantrums at home or at work and then somehow we expect teens to be calm and compliant as they grow up and their hormones begin to rage.
I well remember screaming my head off as my newly-licensed eldest child accelerated the car too much down a steep incline. It was an innocent increase in speed and our lives were not at risk, but I accused her of being a speed demon when I was the one behaving like a maniac. She was a new driver, learning how to navigate. I made the situation worse by overreacting.
I had been warned about overreacting by an older mother from whom I sought advice about raising teenagers. She was quite clear and quick to answer:” Don’t overreact.” She went on to say that teens are going to test boundaries. It is normal. Expect it. The key in winning over a teenager is by remaining calm and talking them off the many ledges they will perch upon, threatening or exhibiting rebellion.
If we adults refuse to equip ourselves with readiness for tension with teens, we will overreact and ruin our relationships. We will lose our ability to influence them and shape their character. Or we will lead them down a path of stupidity as they follow our example of screaming, accusing, or worse things, like flipping girls out of chairs or shooting boys for playing loud music.
I know we all make mistakes and we all certainly want to be forgiven. But it needs to start with adults forgiving children for their misdeeds because they are children. We have to show them what patience looks like. We have to show them what mercy is. And we have to show them how to behave wisely when a situation seems hopeless.
Get wisdom; develop good judgment. Don’t forget my words or turn away from them.Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you. Love her, and she will guard you. Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment. Proverbs 4.5-7
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