Can Grown-ups be Wrong?

Dear Reader,

So I was talking with some friends last night about how rude (supposedly) the younger generation is. Honestly, I haven’t particularly found that to be true but that’s another post. Anyway, one friend said that her parents would never have criticized another adult in front of her. If some one for instance said that she or her siblings had done something wrong, the parents would always take the grown-up’s side. I am not phrasing this well because she meant it in a good way. She says it never occurred to her that adults couldn’t all be trusted until she was college age. And she said that it led her to respect adults. They were all good authority figures. She thinks this is at least part of what is missing for today’s kids. They don’t repsect adults.

So what do you think? Would you criticize another adult in front of your kids? I have to say I have. I can think of one particular incident where a stranger came and told my dd to stop doing something. My dd is very sensitive and began crying. The woman walked away and didn’t seem to notice or care. I was sitting near my dd the whole time. I don’t think the lady could have missed that I was the adult in charge and was with her. So to me, this is about the rudest thing I have experienced lately and it was not a teenager who did it but an at least middle-aged adult. I did not approach the woman though maybe I should have. But I did explain to my dd that I thought what the woman did was inappropriate. She should not have approached my dd and corrected her when I was sitting right there. She should have talked to me.  I explained to my dd that I did not agree with this woman. I had no problem with what my dd was doing (pouring water on some stones steps by a lake) and this woman had no authority over my dd. Plus the way she went about it was rude and upsetting. But I am not writing this to vent. My point, other than the fact that grown-ups can be just as rude as kids, is that I didn’t want my dd to think that this woman was right. She wasn’t. Now if you have read my other posts, you may know that I believe in sin. We are all sinful. I don’t see what it helps my kids to deny that. Believe me my kids are quite aware that their mom is sinful. Daily they are aware of it. And they know they are sinful. But they also know that they are forgiven. I hope. One of my parents was the critical sort and I am not advocating just going around bad-mouthing other people or gossiping about them. But if my kids see something inappropriate, especially if they are confused by it, I want to put it in context for them. I want them to be able to discern right from wrong. To me this is more important than respecting adults for their own sake. 

One more issue for me is that this particular dd was a very sensitive conscience. Overactive in fact. It accuses her when she has done nothing wrong. Whether or not she should have been allowed to pour the water, she was not sinning by doing it because she had my permission. If it was wrong, then I was wrong to let her do it. She was not wrong because she was not disobeying me. Given the way she is, I can’t see letting her think she was wrong and this lady right. Helping my kids refine their God-given consciences to me means making sure they know when they sin but also making sure they know when they don’t. I don’t want them beating themselevs up for things that aren’t sin.

God has given me and my husband and not anyone else authority over our kids. For periods of time we may delegate out that authority (to a babysitter or a teacher for example) and I do teach my kids to be respectful of others wishes to a point but not even their grandparents have authority over them much less a stranger.

So, what do you think? How do we teach kids to respect adults? I guess I feel I should make clear that I think I do teach my kids to respect adults, but for me that does not mean that they should think those adults are always right or that they have authority to tell them what to do or not do.



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