As a young child many many many many moons ago, I was extremely impressionable. I learnt plenty by observing the adults around me. I absorbed quite a bit simply by watching other people. I'm assuming it's quite the same for a lot of people. Behaviour is something learned.
I can tell you now that I can identify habits, traits and behaviour that originate from me watching my parents. Some people tell me if I walk side by side with my dad, when people see us from behind, they can't tell us apart. Apart from the physical resemblance, the way we walk is even similar - I saw it myself from a few family get together videos.
I was doing the rounds in KLCC some days back, killing some time waiting for the traffic jam to die down and also because I really needed a new pair of golf gloves and also a new pair of shades. (Am NOT going to Perhentian without shades). So I was walking all over KLCC trying to find shades that would fit my budget and needs.
While taking the escalator up from the 2nd floor to the 3rd floor, I was standing almost shoulder to shoulder with this woman, who looked a little anxious, and a little angry all at the same time. She had this jerkiness in her movement which suggested agitation.
The moment the escalator ended at the 3rd floor (where the Signatures Foodcourt is) ... she steamed ahead and walked quickly around a corner. I wasn't very far behind her.
"Tiu!! Lei sie jo hui pin? Tei ng to ngo lok jo hui ka? *", she shouted in course Cantonese, quite loudly in the direction of a man carrying a young boy, probably 3 or 4 years old only. It was clear why she was worked up - she was separated from her partner and child.
The partner did not respond, he simply walked towards her, and handed the baby over to the woman, who quickly took the baby in her arms.
* Translation: "F#ck!! Where have you died to? Can't you see I went down already?"
Probably 10 other diners seated within earshot looked in the direction of the woman. And I was stunned for a short second too. I recovered quickly and simply moved on to the 3rd floor escalator on my way up to the 4th floor.
In the corners of my eye, I could see the family moving towards the escalator, heading down.
OK. I lived in rough areas of KL where foul language is like the air you breathe. I lived in places where course and foul language is a way of life. If I had to (and I don't have to very often), I can carry my own foul language laced conversation as well. But never in the presence of a child.
N. E. V. E. R
Children learn from us. They observe and gather their own thoughts based on what they see, hear, feel and experienced.
I tell my friends to put out their cigarette when in presence of their young children. I tell them to keep their language clean when their kids are in presence. I always ask a friend to stop swearing on the wheel when driving his young son to school. I once had an argument with a friend (after he put his daughter to sleep) about how he should not be throwing rubbish just out on the street (it sets a bad example - she'll think it's ok to litter).
It's bad enough we're all flawed. Don't let them be. Don't raise your kids this way. Show them good examples. Show them by example how to conduct themselves. Let them observe and learn good things from us instead.
I hope the woman I encountered at KLCC represents a minority - I hope that most parents will be level headed enough to realise that they play a major role in the positive development of their young ones.