(NewsNation) — As the father of a young son and daughter, I’m constantly thinking about what type of country my children are going to inherit. Something I saw yesterday has me really concerned about the impact that our talk, our actions, our overall behavior have on the next generation, because, well, many of us might be numb to the toxicity of the current environment that may exact a much greater toll on America’s youth than we think about.
Last night, I took my 10-year-old son to the U.S. Open. We’re both big tennis fans, and we enjoy going out to the tournament every year as a bonus. My son got to see one of his favorite players, 27-year-old Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios.
My son loves his flashy attire and powerful, exciting style, so he was excited to see him in person last night. While my son enjoys watching tennis, he doesn’t follow the sport that closely, so he wasn’t overly familiar with Kyrgios and his penchant for throwing tantrums on the court.
So maybe we should have been a little more prepared for Kyrgios to be on his worst behavior. We left before the match ended, but we watched the highlights when we got home after Kyrgios lost a thrilling five-set match.
My son was truly taken aback watching the Australian star completely melt down.
It’s jarring to see that kind of outburst, and it’s especially jarring for a 10-year-old. I could see my son was truly shocked and watching him react like that to Kyrgios, to his tantrum, it occurred to me these types of outbursts are hardly confined to the tennis court.
They become pervasive in our politics, from the people who are supposed to be our leaders. Foul language, acting out, all around infantile behavior.
What we have to remember is that our children are in the stands. They’re watching all of this every day.
They’re seeing what are supposed to be our political leaders stomp their feet and lash out about everything. What messages are the next generation of senators and future presidents taking from this outrageous conduct?
Just like us adults, our children are soon to become desensitized to the boorish behavior of our leaders. Then, what? Are we doomed to electing another generation of racket throwers to high office?
Kyrgios got fined $18,500 for his outbursts, to some degree holding him accountable.
But our political leaders are not being held accountable. In fact, in our current primary system, they are being encouraged by the extremists to act out, to be angry and outrageous. If you don’t break your racket politically, you may lose the match.
Watching your child see that sort of boorish behavior is an important reminder. But at least he was shocked. I’ll be much more concerned when he’s not.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author, and not of NewsNation.