I’m sure that one of the most horrifying moments for a parent is when they hear their children parroting them and suddenly realize what they sound like. I can sympathise.
But there’s one thing I’m hearing from kids that goes beyond simple parroting; it highlights a core issue about what we’re teaching the next generations about respect.
See, they think that in order to give respect, favour has to be earned.
Last week I was teaching my German students about the formal and informal versions of ‘you.’ I gave them an example: “If Tony Abbot came to our school and needed directions…”
I couldn’t even finish my sentence without yells of ‘elephant ears,’ and ‘we hate him.’
They’re 13 year olds. They can’t vote for another 5 years and I’d be willing to bet they know next-to-nothing about politics. They’re parroting what they’ve heard their parents say.
What I want to know is, can the parents hear themselves? Can we hear ourselves? Those kinds of comments aren’t about exerting our right to have a political opinion; they’re about slander and bullying.
What kind of values are we teaching our children when we publicly malign and disrespect the person in the highest position of power and authority in our country?
Is it any wonder that teachers and police officers and parents themselves aren’t receiving the respect they deserve?
Some kinds of respect are unconditional.