Here's the thing. I'm really, really tired of hearing kids say, "Obama." I'm really, really tired of hearing kids spit out the name "Obama" with a sneer of disgust on their little faces. I'm really, really tired of hearing 10-year-olds say things about how dumb "Obama" is and I'm tired of kids making Obama jokes and I'm tired of kids showing disgust for our president.
'Cause you know what, parents? It's President Obama, or Mr. Obama. You are teaching your kids that it's okay to disrespect someone if you don't like them. Wouldn't you be horrified if your kid referred to me as "Small" or to your preacher as "Smith"? I don't get it. Or what about that old man down the street who is grumpy to you and your kids, who has been hostile to you about homeschooling? Do you tell your kids it's OK to refer to him as Mills, instead of Mr. Mills, and that it's okay for them to spit his name out like a rotten peanut? Somehow, I don't think so.
Don't we teach this passage from Matthew 5:43-48 to our kids? Don't we sit down with them after they've had a little episode at church or playgroup with another kid or with their siblings and say to them, "Listen, honey, to what Jesus says!":
You have heard that it was said, "Love your neighbor and hate your enemy." But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.Once I was a den mother for my older son's Cub Scout pack. I'll never forget the chills I got when a little boy, maybe nine-years-old, opened with prayer: "Dear God, please help us to hunt down Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden and the other bad guys and kill them 'til they're dead."
Those were not happy chills. I caught his (devout Christian) mom smiling proudly, indulgently, when he finished praying. I have to wonder: what kinds of conversations go on at dinner tables in Christian households in our country? Why do parents express their disdain for our president in front of their children, who then parrot their parents' sentiments, often verbatim, inappropriately? Why do we allow our children to be disrespectful in regards to the president of our country, but slap their hands when they pick at their siblings?
I'm just asking. And let me tell you: it's true that little pitchers have big ears. Next time you are listening to the news and want to snap off the TV with disgust and mutter "Obama this and that" under your breath, be a grown up and practice what you preach.