Kim Hudson: How can we get respect restored?

Recently a high school football game in Texas made national news. It appears two players tackled a referee for no apparent reason. The incident was caught on tape and the players have been suspended from school as the investigation continues.

Allegations and speculation are circulating but the fact remains that two high school students caused bodily harm to an adult.

This incident only helps to confirm that there is an epidemic occurring in our society today. There is a blatant lack of respect for adults and authority figures. On any given sports field – both professional and recreational – you can witness players and parents arguing with the officials’ call.

I’m not talking about the typical reactions players have when a bad or unfavorable call is made. I’m referring to the actions of players, parents, and spectators who call names, use profanity and become physically aggressive. We’ve all witnessed it – even right here in our own hometown.

This lack of respect has crossed over from the athletic fields right into our classrooms and schools. We see or hear about students not listening to teachers and parents making excuses for their child’s lack of respect.

We witness kids and adults arguing with police officers and we’ve watched as society has undermined the authority and integrity of our police force.

In grocery store lines, in school pick up lanes, on our highways and on television we are bombarded daily with images of disrespect. The way we talk to one another, the way we disregard another’s presence, the way we undermine authority.

What are we doing?

I think the way we are parenting is playing a huge role in this. Every time we make an excuse for our child’s behavior we teach them that they can say or do whatever they want regardless of the rules. Each time we allow our children to talk disrespectfully to a family member or friend we’ve opened up the door for them to speak that way to anyone. When we, as the adults do not hold ourselves and others accountable we show our children that their actions have no accountability either.

Children need boundaries and rules and expectations. We’ve become a society of helicopter parents that watch every move a child makes. We’ve all but covered our children in bubble wrap to prevent them from getting hurt.

We’ve wrapped their bodies, their hearts, their self-esteem. We protect them from danger but also from life lessons – disappointment, failure and responsibility. We step in anytime there is confrontation and we “fix” all their problems. We do it all because we love them, right?

But what if by doing all this we are getting the opposite outcome we were hoping for? Are we now comfortable living in a kid centered society? Because if you look at the big picture, that’s what we have.

We are raising a generation of kids who often think the rules don’t apply to them. Who rely on mom and dad to bail them out of any trouble they might find themselves in. Who make excuses for their actions and who show a blatant disrespect for others.

Is this what we want?

The disrespect we see on the football field and in the classroom and in our streets and neighborhoods and on television did not happen overnight. As long as we – the adults, the parents and grandparents – allow it to continue, it will continue.

I’m not willing to accept things the way they are. Are you?

Contact Kim Hudson at tkhudson@comcast.net.

 

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