Failing our kids by betraying their trust

Consider this, you have planned to vacation of a lifetime at a popular dream destination, but end up in the boon-docks. Or, you invested in a dream property but find that your investment is a slum. These are nightmarish scenarios for anyone; then why do we subject our kids to what would amount to a similar breach of trust? As adults, we have a fiduciary duty towards our children. Children look up to adults for all their needs and without question accept our answers, solutions and reactions as the correct ones.  But when adults fail them, what type of role models to we make? How do we expect them to do the right thing when we ourselves have not demonstrated our expectations in our practice?

As adults, we fail our kids so often.  This past weekend there were two instances that have compelled me to blog my strong disappointment. Here I will to highlight one incident aptly illustrates how the hopes and enthusiasm of children are so casually ruined by the ruthless thoughtlessness of adults.

On Saturday, I was in a shoe store with my 4 year old son. Among the other prospective buyer/browsers was a young couple with a toddler, a boy who seemed to have recently begun to walk and was discovering the big world thrown open to him by his two legs. He was running along the length and breadth of the store.

At one point, during his excursions, the toddler rushed towards the exit door and the father called him back with the promise of a candy. The toddler made a hasty u-turn towards his father on hearing the word candy and I am sure he was drooling as the visual imagery and sweet flavor of candy flooded his senses. What followed was shocking and unbelievable. The father slapped him! Can you imagine the sense of betrayal the child must have felt and lessons that he may learn from this incident? I leave that to your imagination and common sense.

This is the beginning of the rut and rot that we witness around us. Many kids grow up into deceptive, scheming, dishonest beings who value nothing but their survival and relative happiness. They learn early in life, that word means nothing, be it the word of parents, teachers or law! And who has taught them their first lessons in the art of deception and disregard– ADULTS. Can you imagine the kind of society we can create if the adults are more careful and conscious of the lessons that our children learn from us?

I am reminded of a poem by Dorothy Law Nolte which is very apt in this context:

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.

If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.

If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.

If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.

If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.

If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.

If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.

If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.

If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.

If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.

If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.

If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.

If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.

If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.

If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.

If children live with fairness, they learn justice.

If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.

If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.

If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.