May 2019:

In this article, I am going to step away from my usual topics and reflect on a social and societal topic. In recent months, I have been increasingly aware of concerning behaviors in school-age children that seem to be treated as more and more acceptable. Children have many sources of influence in their lives: parents and relatives, teachers, peers, elected leaders and celebrities, to name a few. All of the groups I just listed are supposed to be the people we have always expected and trusted to serve as role models. These are the people we have encouraged our children to look up to and, because of this, have been held to a higher standard.

Expecting more from each other and from our leaders should not be discouraged. Whether we hold people accountable for their words and actions, and the level of respect we hold for someone should not be determined by where they fall on the political spectrum. Right is right, wrong is wrong, regardless of religious beliefs or political ideology. Being tolerant, respectful and accepting of those with divergent and opposing views and opinions should not be seen as a weakness, but rather as an opportunity for dialogue and debate.

The messages we send with words and actions often have a greater impact than we realize, and as role models for children, it is critical for us to lead by example. They take their cues from us, and will decide for themselves what is acceptable behavior based on the words and actions they observe from those they admire to shape how they determine right from wrong. The days of admonishing our children by telling them, “do as I say, not as I do” are behind us. For the sake of our children, it’s time for to abandon the double standard – one consistent standard will do just fine.

Josh Weissman

TBS President