A conversation with eight year olds

I had to stand in for one my colleagues the other day, and found myself supervising the grade 3 art class. This is a grade that I don't teach, but love the fact that they're in the school as they're still at that age where things like gender inequality, queen bees and wannabes, self esteem issues and poor body image are not yet whispers from their future. They're funny, smart, irreverant, immediate, and they bring an interesting perspective to things.

So as we're drawing and hanging out I asked them a question on a subject that's been running through my mind, a topic that Iggy and Maudie are trying to get us to care about - What do you think of cheating?

The response was instant and unequivocal: cheating is wrong!

There was no justification of actions, no prevarications, no what if's, no well maybe's, just plain and simply wrong. One went so far as to advise that these people who cheat need to have their Mommies talk to them.

Bingo. But then again, what Mommy (or Daddy) these days can say that they show the best example? And while I'm not a Mommy, I know that I have to be a good example, a role model, but I'm falling short a lot of the time.

We've believed our press so much that we think that because we're special little snowflakes or butterflies or whatever the touchy-feely analogy is these days, the rules don't *necessarily* apply to us. We see it all the time, and everywhere; no one will know if I gank this paragraph off the internet, I'm late so it's ok if I break some minor traffic laws, what are the chances that a handicapped person is going to need that parking space right now, it's ok as long as you don't get caught.

And I look at the eight year olds, and hope like hell that they can find their way through this, because, let's face it, we're none of us setting that great an example. All I can think is that we are so desensitized to it all...the last few decades are peppered with stories of political, business, sports and religious leaders who do wrong, seem unrepentant and don't get punished nearly enough.

So why bother to care? All I can do is point to the eight year olds, and try to act better.

2 Responses to “A conversation with eight year olds”

  1. # Blogger OhCaptain

    If it makes you feel better, OhCapatin and OhCountess show our kids that we take our lumps and don't dodge our resposibilities.

    My 8 year old even has asked me why I don't cheat or lie to change an outcome. I try to give the same answer every time. Because that would be wrong and I don't want others to do it to me. I prefer to be respected than to be disrespected.

    Hopefully it helps her make a good decision in the future. There are so many influences these days, I only hope she hers my message.  

  2. # Blogger t

    i have an 8 year old as well, and she would tell you cheating is wrong too....

    but that, by no means, should be taken to mean that she wouldn't do it. i've seen the little genius already start to practice my signature.

    right on sista! :P  

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