A few weeks ago Jonah got lunch detention and cleaning duty.

He got in the car in a huff and talked about how the whole class was out of control in Science and the entire class got served with Lunch Detention.
To top it off Jonah laughed at a friends joke and along with two other boys got lunch detention the day after that with cleaning duty.

“And I wasn’t even the one doing it. I just laughed! I mean another kid was putting glue in someone’s hair! And they didn’t get anything!!!” He told us at dinner, expecting a big dose of sympathy.

And he was surprised when we didn’t offer one. Instead we broke down why he would be apologizing the next day.

1. The class was out of control.
2. The Teacher had already given them all detention.
3. And you laughed knowing she was at her limit.

Know your Audience…
And learn to be accountable.
The earlier you learn that the better off you are.

My kids are never going to have parents who only see the sunshine glistening in their hair. They aren’t perfect and we expect to treat others with respect.

We adore them, but we also see them…they are beautiful, and flawed.

Of course that doesn’t mean they don’t stick up for themselves and that doesn’t mean we expect them to sit back and let people walk all over them…but we do expect them to apologize when they are in the wrong.

But it’s hard because the older my kids get the more kids I meet who are being raised to expect respect but not necessarily give it.

It’s a dangerous combination.

There are two kind of parents I’ve met- those who only see the good, and those who see the real. It’s great to see the good, I love the good and messy of life but we need to teach our kids to lead.

We need to see who our kids are becoming and who they really are, right now.

We are the Leaders. We need to teach our kids to say Sorry. Teach them to respect their bodies and others. Teach them to say No. Teach them to trust their instincts. And to never keep secrets from us and live with them hidden.

Teach them to know their Audience.

Our world is wide open these days with social media and outlets that don’t give privacy…they need to protect themselves and each other by knowing that their audience may be much bigger than they ever realized. We need to check all their social media and texts. And we need to limit them…too much is the reason too many adults play video games in excess still…which is well, dumb. And don’t even get me started in the over saturated horror of porn and what else is available when you have a smart phone. Again limit them- and screens.

Life is for living…they need to seeing us looking up and living!

We need to be their guides to how to be a good friend. To be kind. To Share. But also to not always be the only one to be kind and share. That friendship is a two way street, and should never be one sided. That a good friend doesn’t ignore you or talk about you badly. A good friend lets you have other friends. And it is never ever ok to be bullied or to be a bully.

We also need to shelter them…we need to help them choose age appropriate music and clothes, we need to keep them sheltered from scary shows and shows that expose them to too much. And steer them clear Michael Moore and Rush Limbaugh and agenda based folks. We need to shelter them from family drama, and fighting, because they process things differently…and need to know they have a safe place. We should be their safe place.

They are our Audience.

We also need to tell them the hard stuff, and process the hard stuff with them. Because they need reassurance even when they seem resilient. They still need us. Especially when they act like they don’t. And they need God, we need to show them our faith Lived. We are their guides!

They are watching. Observing.

We need to give them real role models, ones that aren’t in a sports uniform or on a reality show, or who used to star on a Disney Show, but people we know, people who live heroically daily. Like Doctors and Police, like Fire Fighters and Paramedics, and those in the armed forces. These people don’t need a million followers on Instagram and You Tube because they are out living heroically…they don’t need an audience.

…the next day Jonah went in and apologized and did two days of detention. And since then I’ve heard him twice say to his siblings when they’ve gotten in trouble, “Know your audience.”

I’m sure it’s not the last time we’ll have this talk, but I do know he’s listening. So I’ll keep trying as long as they’re listening…

Because I want to Know My Audience.

I want to see the good. And see the real.

Because that’s love.