Our children listen and they hear what is the 'right thing' to do. But, if we don't back up these messages with our own action, they will not do the 'right thing'. We are their example, we are the end all be all in teaching right and wrong. We can tell our children not to talk mean and yell at each other but if that is the way we communicate - good luck getting them to act differently. If they know to recycle, yet we don't provide for them the tools to do so - how can they? We provide our children with the resources to be who they will grow to be. What are you teaching? What am I?
This comes up after going to the 3D version of How To Train Your Dragon (which was totally worth the $8 a person). At the beginning of the movie a little snippet comes on asking the movie goers to recycle their 3D plastic glasses in the bins provided outside the theater doors at the end of the movie. We make it through the movie and shake off the darkness as we walk out into the light of day (it was a matinee). My children grab their glasses and search out the bin. Without thinking I toss my glasses in and my children follow suit. We have a small discussion about why they ask us to recycle the glasses and what probably happens to the glasses once they go in the bin (initiated by the kids). A man, woman, and maybe 5 yr old child come out of the theater behind us. The boy is insisting (loudly) that the glasses get recycled. "We need to recycle our glasses.... it said in the movie to put our glasses here at the end....we NEED to... THEY said...." My kids and I stepped back and watched this happen. "Put your glasses in here.... we HAVE to they said" The woman and man are looking at this child like they are not sure whose kid this is. The woman finally grabs her glasses and tosses them in. The man kinda laughs and mumbles and starts messing with his phone. Again, the boy insists. The man tiring of all this turns and says - we could use them for shows at home (HELLO DIPSH*T no you can't!!) anyway.... The boys says "Well if you aren't going to do it, neither am I" and he was just pleased as punch.
My kids acted as though they had just witnessed the biggest crime possible. They talked about this for the next 1/2 hr. Amazed. I was amazed at the influence that truly does exist in us as adults. Of course we know this - but to see it play out so obviously.... made me think.