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Norb’s Corner: Your Kids Are Watching

You are in a store and pay for a five dollar purchase with a ten dollar bill. The cashier gives you fifteen dollars in change. You jam the money in your pocket and hustle your family out the door before the mistake is discovered. But, your kids are watching. You just taught them that it is OK to take advantage of someone if they make a mistake. What you didn’t teach them is that this mistake will result in a shortage in the register drawer that could cause the cashier to get fired or make them to have to pay for this shortage out of their pocket. What you taught them is that it is ok to steal. What you didn’t teach them is honesty.

You are driving down the street doing 45 MPH in a 30 MPH zone because you are in a hurry. But, your kids are watching. You just taught them it is OK to ignore the speed limit. You just taught them that your time is worth more than the life of the child that might dart out into the street chasing a ball. What you didn’t teach them is that the speed limits are designed to protect the public safety.

You do drugs, light up a blunt, a doobie, a joint, snort some coke, or inject heroin. But, your kids are watching. You just taught them not to worry about the drug laws. What you didn’t teach them was violating these could cause them to go to jail and give them a record that could affect them the rest of their lives. What you didn’t teach them was that they could die from doing drugs.

You cheat on your spouse. But, your kids are watching. You just taught them not to worry about the vows they took, about the promises you make. What you didn’t teach them was about being committed to another person, about being faithful, about being true to your word and keeping a promise.

You have a few drinks and get behind the wheel of your car to drive home. But, your kids are watching. You just taught them not to worry about driving drunk because it’s a silly law and you can drive just fine anyway. What you didn’t teach them was the effect driving drunk will have if they are in an accident. How they could permanently disable themselves or someone else. How they could even die or kill another innocent person.

You see someone drop some money and you wait till they are gone to pick it up. But, your kids are watching. You just taught them “Finders keepers, losers weepers.” What you didn’t teach them was the proper thing to do was let that person know they dropped it. They could have needed that money to buy groceries or medicine.

You are running late for a dance recital and come up to a signal as it turns yellow. You “step on it” so you can get thru the intersection before it turns red. But, your kids are watching. You just taught them it’s OK to take chances if you are in a hurry. What you didn’t teach them was how to drive defensibly to avoid an accident

You are in a parking lot and you see a man beating on a woman and you do nothing. But, your kids are watching. You just taught them it is OK to abuse another person. You just taught them it is OK to be violent towards someone else. What you didn’t teach them was that abuse is never right.

You hear someone screaming for help and you ignore it (this actually happened in New York City in the 70’s). But, your kids are watching. You just taught them it is OK to ignore it when someone needs assistance, after all isn’t what the police are for? What you didn’t teach them was that someday they or even you could require help. That we all should help each other.

You are driving and someone cuts you off. You blow your horn loudly, you give them “the finger”, speed up, pass them and cut them off. But, your kids are watching. You just taught them that “Road rage” is OK. What you didn’t teach them was that this is an inappropriate way to react, to put yourself, your passengers and other people on the roads at risk. You didn’t teach them to just let it go.

It all boils down to showing your children how to live because you can tell them all you want, but your kids are watching what you do and if you don’t follow your own advice, they will ignore what you tell them. It’s a classic case of do what I say, not what I do.

Norb is a writer from Lockport. He can be reached at nrug@juno.com.

Lead image: DodgertonSkillhause

Written by Norbert Rug

Norbert Rug

Norb is a writer from Lockport. His email address is nrug@juno.com. If you have any fun stories or memories to share of Buffalo's "good old days", feel free to send him a note.

Norb has now written 500+ articles, over 90 restaurant reviews, and has been published in the Buffalo News, Lockport Union Sun and Journal, Niagara Falls Gazette, the East Niagara Post, The Lockport Star, The North Tonawanda Extra, the Niagara Reporter, and Artvoice. His work has been published on Press Reader, Good Cookery, the National association for Home Care and Hospice, and Konitono. He also has his own blog at whywny.home.blog.

Norb's writings deal with Buffalo nostalgia. He wrote a series of articles on early Buffalo television including Rocketship 7, Captain Kangaroo, Howdy Doody, and Mr.Rogers. Norb has also written on his childhood in the Bailey Kensington area, The Mohegan Market, and sailing on Lake Erie. He continues to write weekly on the city that he loves.

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