Friday, October 12, 2012

VP Debate - No Wonder Children Are Confused

Watching the VP Debate last night confirmed for me why many people think that young people are confused or without direction as they grow older.

If they have any sense of confusion at all, it’s because WE are confusing them.

Throughout the debate, VP Biden was seen as smirking or laughing at Rep. Ryan’s comments and many times interrupted Rep. Ryan, burning up Rep. Ryan’s time or talking over him.

After the debate, Democrat-leaning analysts praised this tactic, saying that his “strong pugnacious style” and his constant interrupting were just the strategy that the Democrats needed.  Apparently this was “Joe being Joe”.

Many Democrat supports lapped it up.  Unfortunately, they only agree with such tactics when it suits their need.  If someone treats them this way in return, such behavior would be considered tactless and disgraceful. 

I thought that holding the title of Vice President of the United States implied that some rules of decorum go with the title.

I guess I was wrong.

So the message to our young people is this:

When someone else is talking about VERY serious matters (or anything at all for that matter), the best way to deal with it is with arrogance, disrespect and dismissal.

Wait … don’t we tell them to treat others with respect, to listen to the opinions of others and to voice any dissension respectfully?

Yes we do.

However, our young people model what we do, not what we say.

Think of some other ways we send mixed messages to our young people.

Message:  Don’t push and shove getting on the school bus otherwise someone may get hurt.

Translation: Ever try getting on the train at Penn Station in NYC during rush hour while being too thin-skinned to assert your place in line?  The phrase “being thrown under the train” comes to mind.

Message: Don’t play on the street when you are younger because a car might hit and kill you.

Translation (20 years later): I don’t know why my child never took risks when he/she got older.  It’s like he/she was afraid to for fear of experiencing some great catastrophe.

Message: Don’t talk to strangers. They are all candy-wielding kidnappers and/or pedophiles.

Translation (20 years later): I don’t know why my child seems unable to build relationships or to trust anyone, especially when it comes to strangers.

Message: Be what you want to be when you grow up (although I will offer you no concrete tools or processes to figure out how to do that since I never figured out how to accomplish it myself).

Translation (20 years later): My child never seemed to find himself/herself with their career/Life and I’m not sure why.

Message: Bullying is wrong.  Let’s pass all kinds of laws showing people how we are united against bullying.

Translation: Ever watch these same lawmakers in a sitting of Congress or Parliament and the level of intimidation and bullying that takes place during “civilized debate”?  Sometimes this happens while young people are sitting in the gallery watching.

While Democrat supporters are praising VP Biden’s disrespectful, flippant tone, I think it sends the wrong message to our young people, especially when discussing important subjects such as the nation’s financial concerns, unemployment statistics, poverty worries and national security and especially when the Democrats keep saying they welcome a bilateral solution.

What we say is important.

What we do is even more important. especially in the eyes of a young person modeling our behavior.

Who we are, what we do and how we do it becomes the template by which the young people of today will run the world of tomorrow.

I’m not certain if that’s something to look forward to or be afraid of.

I guess it depends on the message we send today, doesn’t it?

What message are you sending?

How do you know?

In service and servanthood,


Addendum: An observation from a friend and offered as advice to anyone who resorts to taunting or intimidation when engaged in a debate:

When a wise man has a controversy with a foolish man, the foolish man either rages or laughs, and there is no rest.- Proverbs 29:9 NASB

Whether we are the wise man or the foolish one is often easily perceived by others.

We need to make sure our actions are in alignment with the persona we wish to project so that we have some means of directing how we are perceived.

Addendum 2:

Washington Post reporter Dan Zak tweeted the following message during the debate.


Describing a VP candidate as a pervert is an example of where respect-less dialog is taking our society.

I wish some of these people could be as respectful to others as the respect they demand from others.

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