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Your Opinion: What are we teaching our children?

June 22, 2022 at 3:45 a.m.

Sue Bower, Jefferson City

Dear Editor,

Hey, moms and dads, what do you want your children to learn, to be like when they are adults and parents themselves?

Kind? Honest? Hardworking? Loving? Compassionate toward others? A good sport who wins with grace and loses with grace? Who bears the responsibility for his actions and even inactions? To be charitable, not superior? How do we teach them the desire to be just and true and good? Where should these attributes and desires be taught?

Obviously, they must first be taught in the home, where a champion is to be respected and honored for his integrity in the game, not to win at any cost or by any means. Where name-calling is replaced by "good try, "keep working," "better luck next time." There is no "I" in teamwork, or "mine" in sharing with others.

Helping a teammate become better is the ultimate goal of winning, and accepting the help when given is the acknowledgement of humility. Huddling as friends creates mutual admiration; bossing others insinuates distrust and dislike into team play.

Dismissing older yet proven methods in favor of new unproven conceptualizations is like teaching base 10 to someone who cannot count to 5. Everyone learns at his own speed.

There is a difference between support and encouragement, and practice demands bordering on harassment and belittlement.

Some parents unknowingly try to relive their younger successes or overcome their bittersweet failures through their children, passing on the same demands and recriminations to their children that painted their lives with shades of gold and black and blue. Living up to others' definitions of success, failure and effort too often destroys friendships, familial relationships and self-esteem.

It is hard to accept that you weren't quite good enough, but everyone is good enough to be a friend, a helper, a listener. Isn't being kind better than winning all the time; being a dependable friend is more important than being popular; helping someone who is hurting makes you the MVP! Are you able to teach this?

Print Headline: What are we teaching our children?

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