Sometimes Setting an Example is also Taking a Break for Loved Ones
There has been silence for two weeks on this blog. Silence because I needed to take care of my biggest and most important role; being a mother as one of my children recovered from an operation.
For years I took for granted the sacrifices my Mom made. To me, everything she did was normal. I did not appreciate the late nights, her standing behind me holding my hair while I was ill, the times she sat with me until one a.m. talking about boys and life even though I know my Dad was waiting for her, she was tired and yes, I was only one of the eleven children she did this for.
She did one other thing for me that I only have come to value recently. She set a good example... no, let me correct myself... a great example.
Being from a religious family, I took this for granted. Many adults around me strived to be their best, to be kind and to set a great example. As I left home and my religion and moved across the world, I have changed, tried new things and had great adventures. One thing has never changed; being a role model for my children and the students I work is an important part of my life. From my clothing, my gests (as simple as holding a door) to my language and the way I treat others I strive to set a great example hopefully showing understanding, kindness, and thought. Sure I goof up; so did my Mom but we have one thing in common. We are aware of the importance of being a good role model, and we try.
Today parents have a new challenge; we need to be online role models. What we post, the way we write online, our pictures will influence our children, how they think of us and the way they behave online.
For work, I scour the internet to understand teens online behavior. This work has branched out to parents as I realized you could not separate the two. In almost every workshop with teens I show posts of adults, respectable adults otherwise but who have crossed a line in their online posts. The disgust from the teens is stronger than my own. I hear them gasp in shock that an adult could post something so rude or crude, "Miss, this is just not right. I would be horrified if my Mom posted this."
Unfortunately, the current political climate is not helping things with rude tweets and attacks. As parents, it is our role to talk about what we see, but most importantly we need to set the example.
Humans tend to conform. The term "herd behavior" was coined for a reason. Make sure you stand true to your values, and you think before posting, commenting or chatting.
I teach teens to ask themselves:
Is it honest?
Is it kind?
Is it necessary?
I think we sometimes need a reminder as well.
–Allison Ochs, Social Worker M.S.W., Expat, Mother of three, Wife