When Jesus told the people to love others as they loved themselves, I imagine most of them thought, “That one is easy”. On the surface, I would imagine most of us think of ourselves as being kind and helpful the majority of the time. Jesus was really asking us to go beyond that though. I think when you put this command with others in the Bible about caring for our neighbors, widows, orphans, the poor, our brothers and sisters in Christ and a host of others, there is a deeper message.
A large part of caring for others is the ability to be empathetic. It is entirely too easy to accidentally become like the other people in the story of the “Good Samaritan.” How many times have we walked by someone who is sad, either assuming someone else would take care of it or not even really seeing the person or her pain? We need to train ourselves and our children to see the hurting people around us, identify how they are hurting and then help them in the best possible ways. I believe developing a strong sense of empathy can make us more like the loving Christians Jesus was really calling us to be.
It seems like every where I turn these days, I hear about bullying. Back in the Leave It To Beaver days, a bully appears to have been the largest child in the class. Evidently, his mother never sent enough lunch, as his bullying efforts were always about getting more food. There appears to have been an average of one bully per class. You would think someone would have thought to just ask his mom to send more food, but evidently the idea never crossed their minds.
Fast forward to today and it seems like the halls of our schools are full of bullies. Now, instead of using their tactics as a way to score more food, it appears many of these children are terrorizing their peers just for the “sport” of it or to get their way. Honestly. it is not just children who are experiencing this rude verbal and physical behavior from their peers. I have noticed a steady rise in the same behavior amongst adults.
I will never shop at Walmart on Black Friday again. I know. You are never supposed to say never. I really mean it though. I. Will. Never. Ever. Shop. At Walmart. On Black Friday. Again!! Now, I wasn’t at the one with the pepper spray or arrests, but it was still a very, very unpleasant experience. I lost count of how many times I was rear ended with another cart and nearly decapitated by flying, leopard print, memory foam bath mats (evidently the hot item this Christmas). And those were the high points of the trip.
I was so pleasant and patient though. Quite proud of myself actually. My pleasantness continued through my hour long wait in cold temperatures for my midnight Target trip and then again a few hours later at several other retail outlets. And then it happened. The guy at the frozen yogurt place was giving me grief about honoring my coupon. Something about him not having my telephone number. I snapped. All my pent up frustration was ready! While I didn’t curse or throw things, my voice did raise a few decibels as I made it clear they would honor their coupon. Not my best moment. Maybe you can identify??
The normal parental course of action for manners training is constant correction. Eventually though, this can stress out even the calmest parent and child. So is there something more fun than cotillion (a Southern manners staple for the upper classes), to get a child to have good manners? I have listed a few ideas below to get you started.
Leave It To Beaver has probably one of the most annoying characters on early television. Eddie Haskell was a smooth talking teen whom all of the adults loved. He was mannerly and full of compliments. The kids all knew though that his middle name was actually “trouble” with a capital “T”.
Unfortunately, I think we are beginning to raise a lot of Eddie Haskell’s. I love to meet a child who has been taught good manners by his or her parents. Let’s face it, even marginal manners in a child (or an adult, but I digress!) are becoming more rare in our age of flash point anger, entitlement and a lack of personal responsibility. I applaud any parent who has taken the time and effort to insist that their children say “please” or hold open doors for other people.