Be a good example for kids

If a young person in your life asks you why you are being so tough on them, why you expect so much, why you are so strict, why you keep trying to teach them the lessons they’ll need to be decent human beings, make good choices and be functioning, productive members of society when they grow up, just show them the video of the “adults” brawling at a children’s baseball game last week and say “Because I don’t want you to grow up to be like them.”

No one ever taught those people, who happen to be over the age of 18, how to control their tempers, be good sports, use a little common sense and decency … and so they should be absolutely ashamed of themselves for their behavior, sparked by the reportedly inconsistent calls of a 13-YEAR-OLD umpire at a baseball game being played by 7-year-olds. But they probably are not. In fact, they likely don’t realize their behavior was problematic.

It is sickening to think of what is being demonstrated to their kids at home. It is heart-breaking to think of the damage done.

But they are not alone. This kind of thing has become epidemic.

Forget about youth sporting events for a minute, imagine what it is like to be a teacher of students being raised by such people.

There is no respect. There is no value placed on personal accountability, improvement, critical thinking or independence.

For each individual, this is their world and the rest of us are just living in it — sullying the experience if they don’t get their way — and they throw a tantrum. Priorities are all out of whack. Their kids become extensions of that mindset … until they are old enough to carry it to fruition on their own.

I cannot fathom what it is like to be a coach — especially a volunteer — struggling to correct that kind of training. I salute them for doing it, still, even though it would be easy to throw their hands in the air and call it quits.

Twistedly, some of these folks probably think they are being good parents — that they are demonstrating love and devotion to their children by behaving in such a manner. Bull hooey. That kind of selfish “love” is poison, and deep down they MUST know it. It takes a great deal of strength to reign in one’s own impulses, to teach children how to be better people. The men and women caught on camera throwing punches and screaming at each other in front of their 7-year-old kids don’t understand how to summon that strength, and it is truly a shame.

Teachers, coaches and anyone else who must feel the wrath of these kinds of people and their offspring, I salute you. I don’t know how you do it.

The rest of us must do our best to live as the best examples we can — not just for the young people in our own lives, but for the young person who might desperately be looking around for behavior to model other than what he or she sees at home ever day. There are, it is sad to say, too many who need it.

Christina Myer is executive editor of The Parkersburg News and Sentinel. She can be reached via e-mail at cmyer@newsandsentinel.com