FROM READERS: How to demonstrate citizenship to children

Friday, November 1, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

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Delcia Crockett is an early childhood educator in Columbia.

Delcia CrockettNo sign hangs at banks stating, "Do not rob this bank." Does that mean you get to rob the bank? How many loopholes are sought when failing in civic duty? Are we teaching children basic citizenship?

As in:

Keep it clean; we need air to survive. The smoking ban went into effect in Columbia, so now people smoke outside buildings. Others, however, have to breathe second-hand  smoke sucked into central air vents and from drifting smoke clouds everywhere. Nasty? Rude? Yes. But illegal? No. Where is the smokers' civic duty as they send health hazards onto all?

Treat others as you would like to be treated, always tell the truth even when lying would be easier and more convenient, don't bully and don't take advantage of others. Recently in Columbia, a child took in the following sequence of events in "adult" modeling behavior. The "adult" was called (with some other "friends") to "witness" something that, in fact, never happened. What really happened was someone was backing up and a woman without a license plate and without insurance came across the line and hit his vehicle. She got out of her vehicle, made insulting and bullying remarks to him, called her "friends" from her cell phone, waving at them as they arrived. The man was, more or less, dismissed by the police officer, upon her arrival, and the officer took the woman aside and talked to her. The end result was the insured's company was conned with a $2,000 payment to the woman, and his insurance payments went up. The woman who hit his vehicle did not receive tickets for lack of insurance nor for lack of license. The insured person, though it was hard to make payments on a limited income, had a license, also. What did this teach that child?

Your fist stops where the other person's face begins. There is personal space we cherish three feet out from each of us. Only those very special people, we would — according to our individual sense of legal and moral choice — want allowed in that space. Three feet outward to infinity, communication space exists, according to our individual sense of legal and moral choice. Individual-rights-advocate and founding father Thomas Jefferson and right-to-property advocate John Locke, federal laws, state statutes and local ordinances state we are all guaranteed basic individual rights to privacy and to be left alone in safety. Yet, people violate those rights of others, while taking for granted lack of common courtesy and manners. Even illegal and immoral acts are "not wrong" because it is their choice to violate them all for selfish and mean reasons, no matter who it hurts.

Be considerate of others. Isn't it a requirement in Missouri driver's manual that the horn is to be used in emergency situations? Personally, when I hear someone go off on the horn at someone, whether it is in traffic or to lock car doors when everyone is quiet or asleep, I roll my eyes upward praying God will stick that horn where it will never shut off. From the moment that horn is used, it would blare until that rude person was driven to brink of pleading for mercy for want of peace. That "have your fill of your own" concept worked in the Old Testament on folks who refused to be nice to others, and I am certain that the life lesson would work just as well on modern-day illegal horn tooters. (Needless to say, God has by-passed answering that prayer, but next time you hear a stuck horn, smile. They are getting their own then.)

Please remember ever-watchful eyes of children and be good citizens. Thank you.

This story is part of  a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how. Supervising editor is Joy Mayer.

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