Last weekend Bunny and I had a great visit with our friends Connie and Steve at the beach. For 20-plus years we have met somewhere for the Martin Luther King Holiday as a mini-winter break. As usual the weekend was a congenial time of visiting, eating out, and enjoying the beach. During breakfast Monday morning we discussed at length the significance of the day with it being the second inauguration of President Obama as well as the observance of Martin Luther King’s Birthday. At some point during the conversation it was proposed that one of the key differences in the two men was that Dr. King’s Mission was trying to bring people together as opposed to the president who has tendencies to create divisions with politics and people. After watching the festivities and listening to the president’s speech, we concluded that perhaps the next four years would be “interesting.”
Before heading home, Bunny and I went by Lowe’s for a quick visit. After picking out some plants, I stopped by the ladies’ room to wash my hands and upon entering I saw a young mom washing the hands of a cute little boy. I noticed something out of the corner of my eye, and looking into the stall, observed another little boy playing in the toilet. He was swishing his hands around the bowl and then would lick the water off his fingers.
Before I could stop myself, I told the mom, “Oh No, He’s drinking out the toilet!” At once the embarrassed, dismayed mom snatched the little boy out the stall, washed his hands, and explained that drinking out of a public toilet was not acceptable behavior! You think?
Later while watching the news, I remembered the little boy playing in the toilet bowl and thought about how important it is for adults to be good role models for children. However, sometimes it’s difficult to find an adult, especially on TV, or in the news, that can be a good influence on anyone, especially young people. For instance, there was the story of the CBS Political Director, John Dickerson, who wrote an article calling for the administration to declare war on the GOP. He said the only way to get anything done was to pulverize the opponent.
And then, there was the account of Bill Ayers who was invited to be the keynote speaker at the Association of Teacher Educator’s Meeting in Atlanta next month. The website promoting the meeting fails to mention Mr. Ayer’s connection to the Weather Underground, or that he is a self proclaimed communist. Another story featured abortion opponents who called for limits on abortion rights as they observed the 40th Anniversary of Roe Versus Wade. During the rally, abortion opponents revealed the inconsistency of some adults eager to protect American children by their endorsement of gun control. The explanation was that; on one hand, there are people who strongly promote gun control to protect the lives of children. While on the other hand, these same folks defend the killing of 55 million unborn children over the past 40 years. I wonder what type of role models these stories represent.
Currently, I am reading, Killing Lincoln, which is a good historical review of the Civil War and the burden it placed on Abraham Lincoln. The book describes how Lincoln wanted the war to end quickly so that the country could begin to heal itself. It said that the president instructed Grant to do everything possible to defeat Lee in order to end the killing of men and to prevent further destruction of the south. He ordered Grant to offer Lee a lenient surrender and to promise that there would be no punishment of Confederate Soldiers. In addition there would be no confiscation of horses, or personal effects. Instead, Lincoln guaranteed a hasty return to families, farms, and stores where Americans could once again work in peace. President Lincoln’s goal was to unite the country quickly for he understood the only way America could grow and succeed was for people to work together again. Of course Lincoln did not live long enough to see the country re-united, but as the leader, he was committed to setting a good example.
A few days ago, I attended a meeting where Miss South Carolina, Ali Rogers, spoke on being a good role model for children. As a young woman she understands better than some, the need for adults in this country to concentrate on working together, to put differences aside, and to focus on becoming worthy role models for future generations. She said that today’s young people are sharp and they know what adults are doing and what they are saying.
Perhaps we can not always control the adults children see on TV and in the news, but we can sure try to be better role models in this community. It’s a daunting responsibility, but we can all strive to set a good example, and for starters maybe we can at least teach children not to drink from the toilet.