Friday, January 6, 2012

Who are we teaching our children to admire and respect?

{Gregory Peck, circa 1962,  playing Atticus Finch in the movie, To Kill A Mockingbird}

I have always loved the book, To Kill A Mockingbird and especially enjoy watching the 1962 film version with Gregory Peck.  His portrayal of Atticus Finch is so heart-warming.  His character exemplifies in my opinion characteristics of a true hero.  He is not a man of great wealth or stature, but instead, he is a man who is inherently good and genuinely loves and cares for his fellow man.  A father who strives to teach his children morals and values.  A human being who is not afraid to stand up for what is right, even when it is not popular in the public's eye.  A man who lived with integrity and moral courage every single day.  I sometimes worry about the sorts of people we as a society are now teaching our children to value.

A dear friend sent me an email forward this morning.  I had read this one once before and I'm sure many of you have, too.  I usually delete email forwards without reading them (sorry to my email buddies reading this), but this one I really like.  It is said to have been penned by Charlie Shulz (the Peanut cartoonist) but according to fact-check sources, this is untrue.  Charlie Shulz is not the author of this message.  An anonymous person actually penned it.  Its message is one that I like because it asks us to pause and reflect on the sorts of people we give credence to in our lives.

As parents, what message are we sending to our children--especially our little ones...they are so observant --like little sponges, soaking in everything they see us do and say.  They watch our every move.  What example are we setting for our children in our daily lives by what we say, what we watch on tv, what magazines we pick up while standing in the grocery line,  what we look at on the internet, the way we dress, the way we treat others and so forth.  In a world where so much admiration and focus seems to be on the rich and famous, professional athletes, reality tv stars, pop stars...and while there are many who fit in this category who I'm sure are fine examples for our children--there are also many who are not.  Plain and simple.  

Are we teaching our children to give any credence to the Atticus Finch's of the world?  Are we taking the time as parents to teach our children to look up to and admire people in this world who more than fame and riches have integrity, moral courage, a deep faith in God, empathy for others, strive to persevere in the face of a challenge and exemplify quiet dignity?  Just some thoughts I have been pondering as I embark on this New Year as a wife, mom and Christian.

Here is that email forward....

A quiz for you...
1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.

2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.

3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America pageant.

4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.

5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.

6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.

The point is this, none of us remembers the headliners of yesterday.

These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields.

But the applause eventually dies....
Awards tarnish...
Achievements are forgotten...
Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners...

Here's another quiz. See how you do on this one:

1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.

2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.

3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.

4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.

5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.

Easier to answer ?....Probably so.

The lesson:

The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the
most credentials..the most money...or the most awards.

They simply are the ones who care the most.


1 comment:

  1. atticus finch has always been a hero to me!
    reminds me of my dad:)
    i LOVE that quiz and the lesson ought to always be considered. amen!!



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