My grandson was playing soccer recently and I was fortunate to be watching the game because he lives some distance away. He plays well and has a good understanding of the game for his age. He knows enough about the game to be able to tell if he is playing well or not. Unfortunately on this day he missed some goals and was not “on his game” as some refer to it. As he returned to the bench he was obviously upset with himself and everyone could tell it. When we got home I had the opportunity to say to him, “You need to play with class out there.” His dad asked him, “Do you know what class is?” Of course being only six years old, he did not know and Dad had to explain it to him.
Just what is “class”?
American Heritage dictionary defines “class act” as one of distinctive and superior quality. Years ago our local high school football team was doing well and we followed the team around the state for their “away” games. It did not take long to assess the kind of community we were in just by watching the hometown fans and listening to the public address announcer. If the community has respect for itself it will ensure that it puts its best foot forward when a large group of visitors come to town. Some towns were incredibly rude and disrespectful. You would hope that those same people would not act that way if you were invited into their home. My respect grew for two communities when they would end the night with a 66-0 football score and both sides were very respectful of each other throughout the night.
How kids learn about having “class” and not having “class” in today’s society
Kids learn how to act from their parents, teachers, role models and the community. For instance, kids are not born snobbish and arrogant. They learn from people around them. Profanity, prevalent in our society today, is the first sign of lack of respect for others and an ugly display of lack of class. No one should want the family to be exposed to rude and crude language. When he was alive, my father would tell me, “Using profanity is just a sign of the lack of vocabulary.” People fall back on profanity because they lack a way to express themselves. This made a real impact on me when I was growing up. It did not stop me from using profanity but it made me control it. Many kids today are taught that the absence of “class” is fashionable and is the way to act in today’s society. It is lessons like this that our kids carry into their adult life and then pass these lessons on to their children with the many improper attitudes about conduct.
What do you do when the standards in society are so low
I think my father had the right idea. You just keep setting the standard, keep it out front as an issue but realize that in today’s society there are going to be many factors at work to destroy your best efforts. If there were any way to sum it all up, it would be to teach kids to always respect themselves and to never fail to show respect to others. They need to know that one of the highest compliments you can receive in life is, “You are a real class act.”