The other day, I was walking towards my car, after getting some groceries with my daughter. I was keeping her close and reciting our getting in the car routine: “Get in and strap yourself quickly. Remember we’re on the street and Daddy could need to start the car fast“ I don’t want to create more fears that I have to, but we live in difficult times, and I must protect my most precious gifts. But I digress…
As we walked, we heard someone arguing and cursing out loud.
Do you remember a few days ago when you suddenly heard someone cursing nearby?
That was the woman we heard. Boy, was she loud. Even though I tried ignoring her, her conversation was as if she were yelling right beside me, so I could not escape it.
Apparently, her boy said some bad word, while inside the supermarket. The mother, got so embarrassed that she felt the need to curse at the boy, while grabbing his arm and shaking him like a “maraca”.
I considered saying something to her. My heart started pumping adrenaline. Could I control myself, if she barked at me in reply? I looked at the troubled look on my daughter’s eyes, and decided to take her away from all that instead.
Setting an example
As we stepped in our car, I wondered: How will the boy learn, he shouldn’t talk like that when his mother doesn’t speak any other way? My daughter, reading my mind as usual, asked: “Daddy, why was that Mommy saying all those awful things to that boy?” I started saying: “She was upset because he said a bad word…”. She interrupted me and asked again: “But why was she saying those bad words?” “She was giving him a bad example, wasn’t she?” I replied.
Something’s are better left unheard
That day, my daughter learned a new vocabulary. Words she had never heard from us in our home. Words no one should speak. Especially to a kid, who needs guidance and love to grow up. Being a deep thinker, my Princess kept quiet for most of the trip back home. When approaching our house, she begged: “Daddy, I don’t want you to talk to me like that mother”. I assured her that is a language that does not exist for us and that we do not like. I reminded her that when I correct her, I use only proper language, and told her that is the only kind of language she should accept when someone talks to her.
Putting two and two together
After a while, I remembered that boy. I could still hear his mother cursing at him and wondered how is it, that she could treat her child like garbage. Was it because that’s how she was used to getting treated? Was it because she really didn’t love her son? Was it because he was supposed to be a “tough man”, and “real men” get treated like that? I don’t know. It saddened me deeply. I thought of all those bad people we hear from in the news every day and wondered if they got treated like that when they were children. Was that the reason behind most of the violence that goes on every day? Could a loving parent, be the solution to some of our criminals? Maybe I’m taking a giant leap and jumping to conclusions. Maybe not. Made me remember the boy and the free sneakers.
Man in the mirror
Can we give love instead of hate? Don’t we loathe receiving hatred? Don’t we prefer an “I love you” over an “I hate you”? Is there a way we can teach without giving the wrong lesson? I think we all know the answers to these questions. A big: YES! We need to become our children’s mirror. Convert ourselves into what we want them to be like. Behave like we want them to behave. Say what we wish they say. Lead by example.
While I keep trying to answer all of my questions, Can you offer any thoughts?