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Parents must set a good example for their children

  • Source: Global Times
  • [21:53 November 04 2009]
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By Michael Knapp

The students in my oral English classes recently practiced their English by discussing ways to improve social behavior. There were lots of creative suggestions, but one that stuck out was the need to educate people.

Locals and foreigners all know social problems exist. Even though most people are well mannered, plenty of uncivil people are still ruining this great country"s reputation. Those who spit in public, throw trash down and disregard traffic and safety rules are China"s biggest problem.

Yes, bigger than the economy, politics or anything else that makes a country appear developed. People may shop in expensive department stores, drive a Mercedes Benz, or even live in an expensive high-rise apartment building, but those are only material possessions.

Money, cars, houses are what we have. Behavior is who we are. In other words, it doesn"t really matter what people have if they don"t have a good character. As Jesus said: "What does it benefit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his own soul?"Civilized character isn"t something we"re born with. It must be taught.

Lots of Chinese say the public schools should teach more public behavior.

Teachers could demonstrate how to ride a bike or walk more safely. They could teach kids to put trash in the trashcan, yield seats to the elderly, wait their turn in line, and so on.

They should indeed be taught, but schools only have the power to impart knowledge. They can"t shape a child"s character. So, if the schools can"t – who can?

It doesn"t take a psychologist to understand that training begins at home. Kids learn more about manners, behavior and life at home than any institution can possibly provide.

Training a child doesn"t mean simply telling them what"s right or wrong. Schools and books can do that. Incompetent parents tell kids, "Do what I say, not what I do."

When your kid answers the phone and you instruct them to say, "My daddy"s not home,"even though you"re right there, don"t expect your kid to be honest just because you say, "Don"t tell lies."

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