What are we teaching our children?
Parents tell their children to watch their language, to tell the truth, to be kind to others, to be polite, that’s what we’re telling our children, and these are perfectly fine things.
But then parents turn around and swear, lie, gossip behind their friends’ backs, and boss their children around without saying “please” or “thank you.”
What are we really teaching our children? That as soon as they’re adults they will no longer have to behave? That as soon as they get away from their parents, and their parents can’t punish them anymore, they can do anything they please?
What happened to a world where parents taught their children that they must always behave, because there is an eternal Father who will always be there to love, watch, and yes, punish?
I’m Not Just Talking to Parents
Parents aren’t the only guilty ones. I’m just as guilty of this hypocrisy and so are you.
Every day of our lives, we want a better world. We want improvement. I have to believe that there’s an inherent good in human nature, because everyone has some sort of understanding of right and wrong.
Even the child who stole a cookie when his mother wasn’t looking, will realize he’s been wronged when his brother takes the cookie from him. He just never stopped to think about the fact that he’d just wronged someone else. If there’s an inherent good, there’s also an inherent selfishness in human nature, and none of us look far enough past it 100% of the time, to see the ways we’re wronging others.
We know when we’ve been wronged. It’s instinctive. But sometimes it can be hard to realize that we’re wronging others.
One of the ways we wrong them is by convicting them of a crime we’re guilty of ourselves. We all want good, we all people to be better people, and we all want the world to be a better place: but we don’t often stop to think, Well, maybe I could be better, too.
Start at Home
We’re all guilty of this: we’re all ready to pick out the faults in others. Now, I believe that’s a good thing: we want them to improve, and so we help them to improve. There’s nothing wrong with that.
But it is wrong when someone does the same to us – picks out our flaws and tells us our mistakes – and we’re not willing to listen. Of course you can’t please everyone, and of course some will pick out “flaws” just out of selfish spite, whether the flaws are real or not, so you do have to be careful; but you also have to be open-minded and willing to improve.
Life is a crusade to make the world a better place. Each of us are born with a quest, and that quest is to improve the world, in whatever particular way we were designed to best improve it.
So where do we start?
It’s no use starting a “make our town beautiful” campaign if your own house is an eyesore. You get me?
We’re all imperfect, and there’s not much one imperfect person can do to help another imperfect person. But that doesn’t mean we should buy any of this “perfectly imperfect” garbage. We should still be trying to help others; and the best way to help is by example. If we’re guilty of the same sin, we have to be honest about it. Improvement has no room for hypocrites. Sometimes two sinners can help each other improve, and two wrongs can make a right after all . . . but first you have to meet halfway.
The world will not bend itself to your will. But if you bend to the will of the world first, the world will become more flexible.