Teaching Our Children Honor and Respect
article by Cindy G. Foust
And they are off! The kids that is … By the time you read this column, our children will have been back in school for nearly a month. Speaking of being back in school, September is the month at BayouLife that we focus on fashion and style, both of which I find myself grossly deficient in. I will, however, take any offers to remedy that situation if someone feels brave enough to perform an Extreme Makeover on me. But, well, this column isn’t about me (well, sometimes it is, but it’s generally when I am making fun of myself), rather, it’s about fashion for our Bayou Kidz. With that being said, I sure hope our readers were able to navigate the mall and find your children some really great bargains on back-to-school outfits. (Right about now is where you hear crickets; or a deafening silence; or the kind of “quiet” you hear on the 18th hole of the Masters.) Because that’s it, that’s all I got, readers! I just don’t think a column I could write on color coordinating your jewelry with your outfit or what not to wear after Labor Day would inspire my readers. I am just not the ‘go to’ person for that. (I will, however, consult my good friends, Lori French or Cindy Stone, for future fashion columns, and maybe they can help this fashion disaster of a writer muddle through it.) So, when Cassie sent the email that we were bringing our readers the latest and greatest fashion must haves, I simply did a mental block and flipped over to the news channels to get an inspiration for this month’s column. And boy, did I ever.
You know, the news can be quite depressing. In fact, I could probably consult a child psychologist on how to monitor what your children see and hear on the news and how to deal with their anxiety and worry after they do. Now, that would be a good column. Good grief, it’s depressing for an adult to watch.
One such tragic news story of late has been the horrific and senseless shootings of our police officers. That readers, and I am sure you feel the same way, simply takes my breath. When I watched a press conference held by Dallas Police Chief, David Brown, his powerful speech reduced me to tears. He said when he was a little boy, he compared police officers to superheroes, and he related them to his favorite childhood superhero when he said, “Faster than a speeding bullet. More powerful than a locomotive. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Look it’s a train, it’s a plane, no, it’s Superman!” I got to thinking about this analogy, and quite frankly, it moved me to write this column.
Where has our world gone, readers? We could debate that through the entire pages of our magazine, but really, our world has gotten so far off base, so corrupt, so evil when deranged individuals sit and conspire to kill innocent people, the same people who risk their lives every day, so we can sleep peacefully at night. For that matter, so the same people who are conspiring to kill them can sleep safe at night. I know that irony isn’t lost on anyone but me?
These are the same people who work holidays and birthdays and miss their own children’s performances and activities, so we can sit and enjoy watching ours. The same people who report for duty late at night or in the wee hours of the morning, completely unaware of what tragedy or crime they may be facing, all the while, we are sleeping safe in our homes. The same people who leave their own families, (also superheroes in my book) who wonder if their loved ones will come home. Because guess what? These brave souls don’t have x-ray vision. They can’t leap over a tall building, and sadly, they are not faster than a speeding bullet. They are human.
They certainly deserve to be distinguished as superheroes, or actually, the superheroes should be distinguished as our law enforcement, but the reality is, they are vulnerable and visible and often exposed in ways that compromises their safety and their health, every day, so we can live our lives in relative peace and tranquility. And for this, they deserve our civility, they deserve our respect, and most of all, they deserve our gratitude (even though, that word just isn’t adequate enough.)
I asked a good friend of mine, who is in law enforcement, to weigh in on what they expect from us, what can we do for them. His answer, as honorable as I would expect, is they want nothing more than for citizens to act honorably, trustworthy and law abiding. Readers, if that doesn’t give you a lump in your throat, nothing will.
So how can you bring this month’s column into your home? How can you impart to your children, this virtuous message from an esteemed and dedicated police officer? As the subtle text of many of columns suggests, it has to start at home (that’s another column we could debate, and we won’t so that I can keep my job and continue to bring you Tales from Oz, because that’s where I feel like I live sometimes.)
I read an article written by a police officer that said he wished parents wouldn’t threaten their children with having the police come get them if they are bad, rather, he wants children to run to a police officer if they are scared, not be scared of the police officer. This also, made me get a lump in my throat, because, well, the police ARE the good guys. Teaching our children to respect authority should be a fundamental principle in all homes, but particularly, teaching them to respect and honor all law enforcement.
To take it one step further, how about taking the time (something we all know is hard to do and often times, has to be a concerted effort) to have your children publicly thank their local law enforcement officers? This can be done in a variety of simple ways, such as making them a thank you card and delivering it to them personally or to the police station; or making them a goodie bag or a “survival kit” for their car or desk which includes life savers of course, because, well, that’s what they do. I also think it’s really neat when you are in a restaurant and there are law enforcement officers eating, for your children to watch you buy their meal (this is probably some violation of some federal code of civil procedure for public bribery rules of unethical conduct, so don’t tell anybody I said to do it, but it’s still a really cool gesture for your children to see.) And lastly, you, as a parent, need to get involved in the thank-you process. Let your children watch you write a thank-you card or hear you praise the efforts of law enforcement. Children learn from what they hear and see, that’s simple Parenting 101.
In all ways, as the authority in your own home, let your children see the respect and gratitude you have for law enforcement and that will be the point of reference they will use. I love seeing the support from people all over this great nation with yard signs and car decals and t-shirts, all proudly displaying their support of the black and blue colors of our law enforcement. Seeing this gives me confidence that while we might be a nation that sometimes seems lost and hopeless, there is still hope that we can be restored to a nation of honor, integrity and unity. And the colors of our black and blue will be standing right where they always have, just as strong, reliable and protective as they always were. That duty is a great calling, indeed.