Is it appropriate to stare at the person you like? No.
Is it appropriate to drive your car the wrong way down a street? No; in fact, it’s illegal.
Is it appropriate to walk around half-naked? It depends. Are we at the beach or are we at school?
Is it appropriate for a student to text a teacher or vice versa? Again, it depends. The teacher texting students at an amusement park to tell them the meet-up time has changed is appropriate. The teacher or student texting the teacher in the evenings to see “What’s up” -is inappropriate.
That is the question.
In my parents’ day, children were seen and not heard. In my day, children were allowed to enter adult conversations if we wanted to. Today, parents hush fellow adults whenever their little one wants to say anything. Which is appropriate? Who gets to decide?
Increasingly, the Internet decides for my teens at school. 6th graders are incensed that they cannot wear crop tops. Juniors tell me that they don’t have a gender. Voices of the “would-be authorities” tell my kids they don’t have to be “bound” by the out-dated ideas of their elders. Hmmm. I disagree. It’s our school, and compliance with what we deem appropriate is required.
Fortunately, our kids understand that, and we don’t seem to have too much trouble with inappropriate behavior, speech, or clothing. It takes a lot of educating on what we think is appropriate, though. And, before you ask, yes, our kids think we’re nagging and old-fashioned and even closed-minded at times… until someone notes how much better our kids behaved at an outing than other teens. Then our kids preen, as proud as any peacock!
I guess the point I’m trying to make is that the Internet has brought the whole world to your house to tell your children what is or is not appropriate. Never in history have parents had to fight so hard to be listened to by their children. We’re just not as appealing as some glitzy teenager getting out of a sportscar to get onto his/her yacht. Unfortunately, most parents don’t even know their kids are being exposed to inappropriate conversations, language, and content. I saw a clip on the news recently in which parents were allowed to listen in on Internet conversations going on while their children played Fortnite. The news agency didn’t share what was being said through the earphones, but you could tell from the parents’ faces that it was not appropriate.
If you are going to teach your child what is appropriate and what is not, it is a constant battle. But it is a battle worth fighting. I correct my students who boss their parents around, walk in between two people having a conversation, or use incorrect grammar. I want them to know what is appropriate for leaders. Leaders must lead from the front; the standard has to be higher for them than for the regular person. How will the kids know where the bar is set if we as adults never show them? Fight the good fight… and this is the good fight!