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Our Children, Our Future

“Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.” ~Neil Postman

If you have children, or work with them, you are creating the future. These children will be not so much what we try to teach them to be, but rather what we are showing them in our own behavior.
What then, are we teaching them? Do we teach them to really listen to the point of view of others by truly listening to them, or do we teach them that only the loudest or most powerful get to talk?
Do we teach them to be respectful of people of other races or cultures, or do they hear us making derogatory comments or protesting because there is a mosque being built in our neighborhood?
Do we teach them to think for themselves by asking what they think, or do we teach them their thoughts do not matter because  “I’m telling you how it is!”
Do we teach them to be creative by allowing them to make things or invent pretend games to play, or do we allow them to spend hours in front of television or computer games and be passive consumers?
Do we teach them it is wrong to hurt or kill others, and that is why we do not want them playing computer games with these themes, or do they start early with these games and develop aggressive tendencies?
Do we get them thinking globally by letting them see that others are not so fortunate, and making contributions, however small to help others across the globe, or do we change the channel because we are tired of all the disaster relief news coverage?
Do we teach them that anger is destructive and usually makes things worse, and teach them healthy ways to express frustration, or do we rage at them or a spouse so they think if adults do it, it must be okay?
Do we teach them how to apologize by sincerely telling them we are sorry when our behavior is inappropriate, or do we never apologize because we think it will make us look weak, and demand that they apologize?
Do we teach them we all belong to the human family and must strive to find ways to live together peacefully, or do we carry on the old polarities of previous generations, so that nothing will ever change?
It is an awesome responsibility to raise a child. When young, they live and belong in our family: that is their world. One day, however, they will be the adults in the world. What messages will your children be carrying?

Gwen Randall-Young is an author and award-winning Psychotherapist.  For permission to reprint this article, or to obtain books or cds, visit http://www.gwen.ca

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