This post is somewhat of an extension to Surround yourself with people that challenge you to grow. Surrounding yourself with the right people is not especially challenging if you are motivated enough and have the courage to distance yourself from the people who bring you down.
However, over the last week, I have encountered several cases where the above is not really an option. That is, by having parents that are poor influences. Again, I am relying on my experiences at work where I have high-volume customer contact.
Example 1 relates to two separate cases where I was approached by an adult and a child. My role on the night was to advise that the trains weren’t running due to track maintenance and to provide them with options for Rail Bus travel. An inconvenience but not the end of the world. In both situations, I was in the middle of discussing the correct bus when the ‘adult’ turned away from me angrily and stated variations of ‘F**k off, you guys are hopeless’.
I’m big enough, old enough and ugly enough to let abuse roll off me. I all but forget the interaction immediately and move onto the next customer with a smile. However, how does this influence the child? They absorb that aggression and verbal abuse are the manner to interact with people when things don’t go their way.
Example 2 relates to a middle-aged woman who was visibly shivering on a platform. It was only slightly chilly, so I approached her to see if she was ok and if she needed an ambulance. Her son (so I found out later) pipped up to say she was ok and that she just had a ‘dirty shot’.
The son was in his early 20’s, barefoot and his clothes were clearly dirty. I will note also he was smoking on the platform in the middle of customers and I had to tell him to put the cigarette out as it was illegal.
I contacted my manager for advice. I found out that both the mother and son were well-known to police, with extension drug histories, aggressive behaviour towards customers and staff and never paid for tickets.
Again, what hope did this kid have to grow up to be a positive contributor to society? His main influence was an antisocial drug addict mother.
I’m sure there are countless examples of people with poor influences who have grown to be beautiful people and achieved amazing things. However, I will bet that the majority of children that grow up with poor parenting influences follow a very similar path.
For a number of reasons, I never became a parent. But surely when you have a child, the world becomes more than just you. Children are sponges and on the whole, look up to their parents.
Maybe if you can’t create a positive environment for your children, parenting might not be for you. How do you want your child to grow up? Think about what you say and do.