You didn’t mean anything by it. It was a comment under your breath about your brother’s spending habits. It was a joke about a celebrity’s weight. It was a complaint about the way your neighbor parks in their driveway. It was the conversation between you and your spouse over dinner, about what’s wrong with the other side, about them.
But your kids heard it.
We wonder where our kids learn to judge, or worse, where they learn to be biased or to hate. There is only one answer: They learn it from us. The great Denis Leary once joked that racism isn’t born, it’s taught. “I have a two-year-old son,” he said. “Know what he hates? Naps. End of list.”
The same is true for snobbery, for condescension, for writing people off, for partisanship and all the other nasty inclinations of the human species. We all know those parents who worry obsessively about cursing in front of their kids. They fret about violent movies and unmonitored YouTube access. And then they do nothing to shield those same formative minds from snide remarks, stereotypes and snap judgments about “those” people.
We want kids who are open minded, who give people the benefit of the doubt. But are you showing them what this looks like day to day? Sure, you’re not a bigot, but are you always kind? You would never say something cruel to someone’s face, but why are you saying it behind their backs? Especially when your kids can hear you.
The world needs less judgment, less bullying, less opinions, period. Can you start this trend at home? Can you teach your kids what that looks like, instead of letting the same old rumor mill spin round and round, grinding their goodness to dust?
“Thou Shall Teach By Example” is the 1st commandment in The Stoic Parent: 10 Commandments For Becoming A Better Parent. If you want to take your parenting to the next level, The Stoic Parent course is 10 days of the most important things that you can do to become the best parent you can be. If you want to learn to better teach by example, sign up for The Stoic Parent today!