Set a good example for your children - Jaya Franklin

Children are beautiful things. But, you have to have patience and time for them.

Some people don't understand that kids are people, too, and they can hear, see, smell and relay information just as well as we can.

I've seen several parents forget that their children are around while they are cursing, smoking or doing something, in general, that will set a bad example for the children. One thing that really kills me is when a parent does something and then tells his or her child not to do it.

I remember when I was younger, I used to tell my father to stop smoking, because it was bad for his health. One day, I was about three years old, and I stayed home from school that day because I was sick. My father stayed with me while my mom went to work. I was in my parent's room watching TV, while my father talked to his best friend, Steve, in another room.

I was watching a commercial about smoking. The commercial went into depth about all the different side effects of smoking and one of them was death. In a three-year-old's mind, this is devastating. I didn't know that dying was the ultimate consequence of smoking. I began to panic. I had to save my father -- and quickly!

As fast as I could, I ran to the telephone and dialed 911. A voice picked up on the other end, but I hung up. I suddenly realized that if I called 911, my father could get arrested for smoking cigarettes, after all, it is against the law -- or so I thought. The operator called back and my father picked up. He asked me did I call 911, and I said, "no."

Eventually, I admitted it, and told him why I called for help, because quite frankly, I thought that he needed it.

I was on earth for three whole years and my father had been smoking since I could remember. I thought that it was an emergency, and I should get him some help. He explained to me that he smoked due to stress, and he'd better not catch me doing it. I didn't have a desire to smoke then, and I still don't today.

But, on the other hand, now that I'm older, I think about that incident and ask myself how could my father tell me not to smoke and he smoked cigarettes like they were going out of style. I know it sounds weird, but in 1987, this was my way of thinking.

Now, in 2007, children are even more advanced. They are highly impressionable and learn quickly.

I've seen kids watch something on TV for about five minutes, and then get up and re-enact the whole thing verbatim. It's amazing. Kids are like sponges; they take in a lot of good and bad things, but at the same time, they don't know how to separate the good from the bad.

I think that is the parent's responsibility, but how can they correct their children when some parents are exposing their kids to "grown-up things."

I am not a parent, biologically. I've had a lot of experience with children, and we all have to realize that, one day, those little, cute kids grow up and have an adult mind of their own. So, we should try to set good examples for children, while they are still impressed by the things their parents do.

Jaya Franklin covers government for the Henry Daily Herald. She can be reached at (770) 957-9161 or via e-mail at jfranklin@henryherald.com.