Our question today comes from the February 2nd column “Social Q’s” by Philip Galanes in the Sunday New York Times.
Question: I have a mostly sweet and fairly well-behaved son. But sometimes he is really mean to Siri (the simulated assistant on my phone’s operating system). He’ll say things like, “You’re a stupid idiot, Siri.” Do you think we should punish him for statements like these? If he ever called an actual person an idiot, he would be in huge trouble.
~ Amy, New York
Answer: “Put a stop to your young buck’s rudeness to your operating system” is a prominent sentence in the first part of Mr Galanes’ answer. He goes onto explain that Siri is enough like a human being that a personal attack on her is uncalled for and not inappropriate. In his complete answer he makes the point that routine interactions like these with virtual pals can lead to treating real people in similar disrespectful and offensive ways.
I totally support his answer and believe he gave Amy good advice. Now I would like to take his ideas a little further.
It is equally important to teach young children respect for all their possessions. Many children today have an overabundance of toys, and this situation often leads to throwing them around. Therefore, it is important to teach the idea of picking up toys and putting them back in specific places. In addition, this kind of teaching should extend to other things in your home like books, pencils, pens, markers, kitchen utensils, electronics and almost all household items.
Here is a well-known saying:
“Take care of your equipment, and your equipment will take care of you.”
February! The Month of the Heart
In many school rooms, there is teaching never to put or leave books on the floor. Children in those classrooms are learning respect.