So, if you are an avid newshound like me, you are watching
what is happening in Ferguson, MO, with great interest
. For those of you
blissfully unaware, an unarmed African American teenager named Michael Brown
was shot to death by a police officer on Monday, and the reasons and
information provided forthwith have been sketchy at best. Unlike the recent
chokehold police on an unarmed African American in Staten Island, NY, the name
of the police officer was deliberately withheld for 5 days, and instead of
releasing his name and picture right away, the chief of police accused the
teenager of a crime first.
Why, do you think, I am writing about this on what is
essentially a parenting blog? Well, I think teaching your children how to
interact with the police is a necessary part of parenting. I was raised one
way, and it has protected me from any additional harassment even though the
police have harassed me before. My parents, being from Eastern Europe post
WWII, taught to me always respect and fear law enforcement, and never do
anything that marks you as different in any way. Looking back, that is probably
not a healthy attitude to take, but it does give one a healthy respect for
authority. Here are some handy pointers….
Say you are in the car with your
toddler, and you get pulled over for speeding. When the officer comes to the
window, don’t get into an excuse-filled diatribe about why you were speeding
and where you are going. Simply hand the police officer your information and
don’t argue. Keep your hands where the officer can see them at all times, and
don't talk any more than you need to. You are teaching your child to respect
the law and to respect authority, model the right behavior.
2. Never raise your voice
People in authority tend to not
react well when they perceive they are being yelled at. This is true of
parents, teachers, bosses, police officers, etc. This kind of behavior should
never be permissible in social situations anyways, but just imagine what you
are teaching your child if you do act like that?
3. Keep your hands visible
This is part of modeling correct
behavior involves something that most police officers will admit to being
uncomfortable with. Your hands should remain as visible as possible. Police
officers are under the same economic and social stress that all Americans are,
and they do rightfully believe that people should automatically give them
respect. Being up front, non-confrontational, and keeping your hand movements
visible and to a minimum go a long way in keeping a police officer calm.
Again, a short list that most people can add to, and I hope
you do. Teach your children to respect the rule of law, the lawmakers, and the
law keepers. Most police officers are not the racist vigilantes that are in the
news recently, and truly do take their roles as peacekeepers seriously.
This is not to say that people should be afraid of the
police, or that they should accept the harassment and murder of our fellow
Americans without outrage. That is not healthy to teach our children either.
But it is important to increase the levels of peace and respect that we have in
our country. Respect for each other keeps us safe, peaceful, and civil…who
could think those are bad things?
Labels: behavior, Ferguson, Michael Brown, MO, police, Staten Island chokehold