I’ve been on a roll regarding the topic of what’s passed down from parent to child, and this post is no different. I think it’s because I’m fascinated about how children develop and the role we as parents play in that process.
I’ve been a teacher, director and coach for over a decade and a half, so I’ve had interactions with thousands of kids ranged from 11 to 18. It’s amazing to me what kids:
- don’t know (I can teach that.)
- actually know (I can test that.)
- think they know (I can challenge that… or can I?)
It’s the third category I’m going to discuss in this post.
When kids know or don’t know facts, it’s my job as an educator to document these proficiencies or deficiencies and fill in the gaps with the content of my subject matter. Schools also are to model good behavior and positive character development: be polite; don’t bully; clean up before you leave… But it starts to get very dicey when a student professes a certain opinion and they are convinced that it is the “Truth.” What do I do with that? What do I do when that opinion may step on the toes of a certain population? And especially when I suspect they have adopted that opinion from their parents?
The media bombards our senses with a skewed representation of reality masquerading as fact. I think many adults know by know that Fox News is slanted to the Right, for example. And we tend to gravitate to the media’s spin that confirms our own pre-existing bias. But young people are not that savvy.
What we need to understand that WE as parents are “the media” to our children. They look up to us and respect us (whether or not they eat their vegetables, clean their room, or expect “No” for an answer). So what spin are we putting onto their young, malleable minds?
It becomes very obvious during election years. When a 12 year old begins talking about immigration or terrorists and what to do with “those” people, he/she is getting that from somewhere… and unless they have CNN feeds downloaded onto their tablet/ipod/cell phone, chances are, they are picking up on your political views.
I’m not about to step in and micro-manage your dinner table conversation (hopefully you are having them), but I do ask you to make the 153Promise to realize that whatever you say, your children will absorb and repackage in their own way.
Have you discussed Caitlin Jenner? Donald Trump? The Pope? Syria? Are your children around? What messages are they internalizing? Is it age appropriate and fair for them to have those ideas in their head? How are they fitting your political opinions into their understanding of the world?
Opinions may not be genetic, but they are definitely inherited. Consider making the 153Promise to give your children a fair and balanced view on topics so they can sort it out on their own. Or if it’s too much for them to handle, you may want to censor yourself in the future.
Like it or not, your kids will go into school parroting what you say at home. What do you want coming out of their mouths? Is it true? Is it kind? Do they know the difference between fact verses your opinion?
What “Parenting Media” do you want your children to inherit?