Assets In Action: Parents should lead by example

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By Bernadette Lauritzen

You might not like the column today, because it invokes the fusspot in me.
What tipped the scale was some time spent out this weekend. A mother was picking flowers outside a county building and giving them to her daughter.
No, she didn’t ask anyone if she could pick the flowers, she just took them.
I’m also not talking about the child being an 18-month-old that doesn’t know that this would be wrong. This child was old enough to know that you shouldn’t pick flowers that you don’t own.
It comes down to responsibility — and the times when adults do things that are wrong, that clearly make an impression on our youth.
The funny thing is, at some point as parents, we expect youth to make the right choice, despite the fact that they have seen instances of lying, cheating and stealing.
A similar situation prompted this small rant, so let me lay some additional groundwork.
My husband Chad tends the Pledge Garden at Chamisa Elementary. Every year in October, we plant tulips and daffodils with every student at the school, during Red Ribbon Week.
The project began under then-Principal Kate Thomas and has bloomed, literally, for many years.
During the non-blooming months, Chad plants a few plants and flowers in the garden so there is something pretty for staff and students.
He often tries things out in our yard, to make sure it looks nice or will grow.
This year, he planted several expensive plants called Crown Imperials.
Chad and our oldest son Chandler, went to Mexico to build homes during spring break, when we received a snowfall. I went over to take a photograph so he could see his work while he was away.
When they returned that weekend, he went over to check the garden and all but one plant had been stolen.
I can assure you, we were miffed!
Who thinks they have the right to take plants out of another person’s garden?
Think it is a rare occurrence? Think again!
Once while at a school meeting, a parent came in and said, “Do you know there’s someone digging a plant up out of the corner of your yard?”
No, we didn’t and we weren’t going to dash out of a meeting about the education of our children to see what was going on. We just hoped they were taking  a cactus.
Anyway, the point is, if it doesn’t belong to you, don’t touch it. Sounds like something we would teach our kids, right?
The stolen plant from our yard didn’t matter as much to us as the school plants, because the money for those plants was earned by children doing fundraising to make the school look pretty.
So I remind you adults, little eyes are always watching and one day they will be making choices on their own.
Think about it, what sort of example are you teaching?

Bernadette Lauritzen is the coordinator of Assets In Action, sponsored by the JJAB and the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce.