The Madison County Record Dec. 13, 2013, 7:04am

It’s hard to be a good parent. You want to set the right example for your children, but there are so many examples that need to be set and it’s not always clear which one you should be setting at any given moment. Plus, when you least expect it, when you’re not even trying to set an example, they’re watching you and drawing (sometimes wrong) conclusions.

You want to teach your kids to be assertive when necessary, but not to make pests of themselves.

You want them to learn how to stand up for what’s right, not how to game the system.

You want to model integrity for them, not cupidity.

One of the most important things to teach them, and one of the hardest, is how to recognize when they’re deceiving themselves about the righteousness of their actions. It’s hard to teach because it’s hard to do.

Sometimes we start out thinking that we’re doing the right thing, only to have second thoughts later. Sometimes we’re not so sure about our actions at the outset, but our reservations weaken as we go along.

When we have serious misgivings about the priority of a given course, but pursue it anyway, what lesson do we teach our children?

That truth is relative? That the rules don’t apply to us? That everything we’ve taught them about right and wrong was a pretense?

When a father picks up his child at a daycare center in Granite City, then steps off the curb into a pothole and injures his foot, he should ask himself a few questions before filing a seemingly righteous lawsuit against the city:

  • “Is it fair-- or even remotely realistic-- that cold weather cities really be held liable for unavoidable potholes?”

  • “Did I possibly step in the pothole because I wasn’t paying sufficient attention?”

  • “Is this really the lesson that I want to teach my child?”

Kelly Timmons thinks he is being opportunistic, asking Granite City taxpayers to give him $50,000 plus over a pothole.

Justice? Accountability?

More like - “I want mine.”

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