“Punch him out! Knock him to the ground!” Words normally uttered around the boxing ring with cigar smoke wafting in the air. Men wagering over who would be knocked senseless or “out cold”. Hardly noticed by anyone except the person whose ears had just been violated by the scream in close proximity to their eardrum. But the words turned nearly every head at the football game. They weren’t the, uh, “good-natured” encouragements of a zealous parent desiring their son to play better. No, the screams came from a woman in the stands. She was actually trying to get her son to engage in a fist fight! We all just stared. Someone observed, “Hey, lady, it’s just a ballgame. And they’re only nine years old.” She replied in a manner that nearly started an altercation in the stands.
The game ended in defeat. Several irate parents voiced their opinions loudly over the coach’s performance. As one parent passed with her child in-tow, I heard her explaining how inept the coach was at his job. I, of course, have chosen not to print her actual words for the sensibilities of the readers.
As I listened and watched the actions of these “adults”, I thought it’s no wonder there are so many juvenile delinquents these days. I know that I haven’t cornered the market on being the perfect parent, but I do believe that children grow up with the beliefs and values of their parents to some degree. Never in my innocence of childhood do I remember my parents talking ugly of anyone. I’m sure they had their opportunities and behind closed doors there were probably some words said, but never did they reach my ears. Pastors, teachers, neighbors, and even coaches were apparently off limits to harsh criticism from mom and dad in front of their children.
It could be that I just haven’t moved up to the twenty-first century in my moral beliefs. When my children are raised and their children, I hope that I will never look back and say I failed them in this regard. I’m still convinced that respect for others is the way to go. I think it’s better that way. I really do.