And blow your house down...
Well think again.
This is an open letter to all the big bad wolves,
prowling about for innocent victims.
On behalf of all the children in the universe, could the adults out there listening please raise your hands?
There IS a difference between right and wrong and we all KNOW it.
Taking what does not belong to you is WRONG. It has a name.
Not borrowing or misplacing or deserving or sharing or finders keepers.
Using language that in print looks like this, **!!%#*!*, in front of young children or in the middle of your office or in line at the grocery store or on TV at 4 in the afternoon is WRONG. It has a name.
*Swearing. Profanity. Bad language.
Swearing is like sitting in the cheap seats. Anyone can do it. And it seems like a daily contest to see who can do it more or get by the bleep button. One by one, words that used to be followed by a mouthful of soap, pop up so often that even an inexperienced lip reader knows what was said.
Even your toddler.
Tweets are not sweet when they are filled with vile and hateful language. If you want the world to know what you think, fine, express yourself. If you want the world to know that your grasp on the English language consists of the same string of expletives over and over and over, your message is clear.
Hit the Delete key before you hit Send.
*Stereotyping by any criteria is WRONG.
Every single person is blessed at birth with a name.
To live up to.
Or to destroy.
We are what we DO not what we LOOK LIKE.
And what we, the adults, are DOING is a pretty lousy job.
The kids are watching.
They see the WOLF pacing outside the house way too soon. They see the big teeth and the creepy smile all over the Internet, and on TV and in their neighborhoods, and down the street and on their way to school.
So they run to the house made of straw. The house the straw men built. The house the anonymous faceless nameless weasels built. The house built on hot air, by hot heads, whose sole accomplishment is judging all the people passing by with great contempt and scorn. But when the Wolf blows, when real life comes knocking, they cower inside and hope for help. The residents in the straw house are too busy being bystanders, but are the first to complain and fume when help is too slow to arrive. Out the front door, down the block to the house built of sticks, with the children trailing behind, the Wolf nipping at their heels.
The kids are watching.
From inside the house of sticks, built by people with good intentions. The procrastinators, the apologists, the live and let live, i'm ok you're ok, we're all in the same boat and should just get along, share and share alike, level the playing field floaters who dwell in the rarefied air somewhere just above the roof line where the sky is always gray, the lines are always blurred and the water tepid to the touch. Nothing to see here. Just move along. The don't get involved crowd. The shoulder shrugging what can you do about it bunch, whose sails luft in the calm and whose boat is perpetually stuck in the fog. Until the pearly white fangs of the Wolf loom large. Right in their own backyard.
Then, and only then, a line is crossed and something must be done.
And so it is. The kids are watching. They see the Wolf for what it is.
And the kids are smarter than we think.
They are looking for the house made of bricks, where they will be safe, waiting for the adults to show up and lead the way home.
Cause we teach them to be safe.
Cause we teach them to use kind words and to be polite.
Cause we teach them how to dress themselves, to make their bed, to take their brother's hand when they cross the street.
We set the boundaries and give them limits,
a boundary within which they will be safe.
For about a week. Or maybe a month.
I walked through the drugstore the other day and overheard a conversation between two kindergarten age kids waiting for their parents. I cannot repeat what they said. Well I could, but I won't. It was not their conversation that shocked me, sad to say, it was their parent's reaction that scared me more.
There wasn't any.
Outrage. We have enough of that. More and more and more.
It is what we are NOT outraged about that is missing.
Listen. Listen to what the children are saying.
Watch. Watch what the children are doing.
Pay attention to their fears and their worries.
Be mindful that THEY see the WOLF at the door and would like to know that their house is made of brick.
We adults are the builders.
We choose the straw or the sticks or the brick.
WE KEEP THEM SAFE.
Safe enough to grow up and become responsible adults.
The next generation.
They did not choose to be here.
And keeping the wolves at bay is our job, and it is full time.
And like the story of the Three Little Pigs, there is a moral to be told.
Building a decent foundation requires bricks and heavy lifting.
Not huffing and puffing.
Do your job.
One kind, decent, honest, hard-working, brick-by-brick-house-building day at a time.
Give children a new perspective.
Be that someone that they can trust,
that they respect,
that they can aspire to be.
Be someone YOU are proud of,
and the children will sleep better at night,
knowing WE are keeping watch
and the Wolf is back in the Wild where he belongs.