What makes it doubly difficult is that in today’s society, incivility and inconsideration seem the norm. You follow the speed limit and you get flipped off by every NASCAR wannabe who whizzes by you. As a concerned citizen, you point out what you believe is inappropriate behavior and you’re told to buzz off – but in much more colorful language. You politely ask some bozo (fighting word) at a ball game to stop acting like a fool (fighting word) and you run the risk of bodily injury.
As a result, even we adults are prone to turn the other way, to keep quiet, to allow the loudmouth, the boor and the bully to pollute the planet. Watch out, buddy, you’re achin’ for a breakin’. So the question is, these days when bad behavior seems to be accepted, encouraged, even admired, how do parents raise children to be – brace yourselves for two good sissy words – kind and courteous?
We think it’s a difficult process of re-educating our young people—one that will require rebuilding society’s infrastructure. The family still comprises the girders of that infrastructure. Dad, think of yourself as a family architect, engineer, welder, riveter. It is up to you to fortify the infrastructure of your family. It will be the hardest job you’ve ever had. You’ll go up against the current state of human relations, which is pretty sad. But the family is our only hope. You are our only hope!
• Tell your son or daughter that being nice to someone – especially someone who is being rude to you – is the supreme test of character.
• Responding to an insult with a kind word may be distasteful to you, but it is the right thing to do.
• Understand that the bully is fueled by insecurity and fear. The only way he can conceal his fear is to make someone else more fearful of him. Often, there is a bigger bully in his own life.
• Realize that you’re okay in your own skin, that someone else who isn’t okay in her own skin can’t rattle you. You are in control of you.
Showing real courage is hard, which is why in today’s world where people want everything quickly and easily, real courage is rare and the real deal.
Tom Tozer and Bill Black are authors of the new book, “Dads2Dads: Tools for Raising Teenagers.” Like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter @dads2dadsllc. Contact them at email@example.com.