You Lead by Example

Today I read this piece by  a fellow blogger and almost lost my mind. Read it and then read on: 

Now I have to calm down before I write my response. This picture soothes me so I'm going to look at it and listen to a few songs before I comment, or else I'm going to write something uncharitable. 

Gaze at this picture, then read on for my response:

The author is justifiably angry with the anonymous person who reported her to Child Protective Services for an unfortunate lapse in judgment. Actually, she made two unfortunate lapses in judgment: she shared the picture of her kids playing "beer pong" (with lemonade and Sunny Delight) and letting her children go to a party in which adults acted like college frat boys on a bender.

In other words, she exposed her very vulnerable children to a bad influence.

If you didn't have time to read the original blog post, then let me summarize it for you. The author is the mother of three small children, ages 1, 3 and 5. She and her husband went to a party even though she was extremely tired and battling illness, worries, etc. Her kids wanted to go to play with friends and their trampoline; she relented. She had a good time at the party.

At one point, the men brought out a game called beer pong. They played. The kids watched. Of course they wanted to join in. Of course, as a concerned and loving parent, she said no to the beer but finally relented to letting them play using soft drinks like lemonade and Sunny Delight. It was a treat for the kids. She snapped a photo, thinking it was funny, and posted it to her social media account.

Someone reported her to Social Services because of this action.

The author concludes by saying, "Don't judge me."

Why does everyone in the world say "Don't judge me" as if that gives them a free pass to do whatever the heck they please? When Jesus said, "Judge not lest ye be judged" he didn't mean check your common sense or reason at the door. He meant, "Don't relegate anyone to hell. You can't do that. You don't know a person's intentions. I do. Leave it to me to do the judging."

He's right, of course. Jesus is always right. While I don't condemn the author to hell or even to the hell of battling Child Protective Services, I do wish she had shown better judgment.

I bet she does, too.

Many moons ago, adults acted like adults and children acted like children. When adults passed into adulthood, it was marked by grown up things. They stopped acting like children. Adults understood that when you became a parent, things changed. You now had many small, observant little people around you who learned more by your example than your words.

Now today the lines have blurred between childhood, adolescence and adulthood to the point that we have adults behaving like asinine college children in front of impressionable toddlers and thinking it's just fine, okey-dokey to play drinking games in front of small ones.

Your little ones aren't listening to your words when you say to them, "This is a grown up game for mommies and daddies." They see a game, and they see people laughing, and they want to join in. That's what children do.

Whether you let them drink beer or lemonade isn't the point. The point is that you have just taught them a drinking game. Something that, in a few years time when they are in high school and college, you will warn them against.

"Oh don't be a prude!" I can hear the wail from some readers. "We all did it!"

Actually, I didn't, but that's beside the point. The point is that you teach your children by your example. Bringing them to a party where alcohol is served responsibly is one thing. Bringing them to a party in which adults act like idiots is another.

So call me a prude. Call me judgmental. But I am so very tired of adults in this society acting like they never grew up. 

They may have mortgages, college degrees, responsible jobs and children, but they have forgotten that each phase of life brings with it certain dignities and certain responsibilities. One of those responsibilities is setting a positive example and being a role model for the youth. You cannot do one thing and say another. 

Kids absorb everything, good and bad. You've just taught them the lesson that drinking games are fine because Daddy played it.

A Return to Elegance isn't just about what you wear. It's also about remembering that with each phase of life comes new responsibilities.

I'll leave you with this thought:

"When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things."