Last month my family went to a farm for the afternoon during the Thanksgiving Season (Canadian Thanksgiving). This farm was awesome and had everything from a large corn maze, apple picking, tons of activities for kids and even an event where pumpkins were shot out of canons (my favorite). I had a great time with my family but I found it really interested some of the people the we encountered that day. There were 4 stories that really frustrated me that day:
1. Cheaters: we were in a barn and there was a small .25 cent machine to get food for the animals. I was in line with my kids and watched the lady in front of me watching the guy from the farm very closely. The moment the farmer left the bard she said to her young 4-5 year old “You don’t have to pay, you just jiggle the machine and the food comes out” All I could think of was how this young girl is being taught at a very young age how cheating the system is ok as long as you don’t get caught.
2. Theives: When apple picking you choose the size of bag you want and then go pick your apples. While my family is picking apples there are a few parents and about 6 kids on the other side of the apple trees from us. The mother got all the kids together and told them to “Shove apples into your pocket”s as they were leaving and wanted to get more. Again another young kid said truth “But mom, is that not stealing.” The mother said that they paid for a bag and the little girl replied “But our pockets are not part of the bag”. Again truth from young kids.
3. Scammers: While picking Apples you could use a Wheel barrow to hold your apple bag. Once finished there were lots of signs that said please don’t take the wheelbarrows from the field. There was a place to leave them clearly marked off. As I was walking back with my own apples in hand I heard a father tell his family he would distract the farm guy while his family escapes with the wheel barrow to the car. To which the kid said “But dad we are not supposed to take the wheel barrow’s out of the field” The fathers response was to just ignore the little guys valid point.
4. Liars: at a certain time of the day the activity area for children closed down. I was coming back with my bag of apples to put them in the car and had to put the bag down. Just as a put the bag down a man came to his family which was directly beside me and told them “The area is closed down. Lets go over and tell them our cousins are in the area and they will let us in.” To which the 10 year old replied. “But our cousins are not in there. Its just us” To which the father told him to (and I quote) “Get with the program” I wondered how the father will like it when his son is doing the same things to him in upcoming years.
I am shocked at how many parents I saw in one day that seemed to have just quit parenting. What morals and values are these parents teaching these young kids? What was fascinating was that all of these kids knew better. All of them challenged their parents on what they were doing.
Parenting is a strategic, intentionally pursuit.
You need to teach your kids how they should be in life and one of the best ways to do this is to model it by your life. These parents are modelling the way to be Cheaters, Thieves, Scammers and Liars. I find it so interesting that in all these 4 stories the kids ALL knew the difference between what is wrong and right. How do we lose this as adults?
What do your actions as a parent say to your kids?