There’s “no such thing as a stupid question”often times rings true. But when it comes to the individual asking the question; I reserve the right to determine their level of stupidity. Carry on that is all…
Compassion! Take a moment to recognize you are not the only person having a hard day. There is always someone having a worse day than you. Have compassion. Carry on that is all…
Steam rises from the hood as a faint wail can be heard off in the distance. Sound is muffled, vision distorted he doesn’t understand the images placed before his eyes. A kaleidoscope of colors passing through a spiderweb prism is all he can associate. Looking to his right he finds a pair of shoes. Not just any shoes but the Sketchers he bought his girlfriend for her 16th birthday. Why? He wonders. Why are they there on the seat of my car and how are they standing on their toes. The improbability of shoes standing on their toes is more than his mind can process. He shakes his head trying to clear the cobwebs but the alcohol in his system wont let it happen. So he stares at the pink Sketchers in disbelief.
The pink Sketchers he bought his girlfriend on her 16th birthday are in fact not standing on their toes. They are still connected to her feet, feet that lead to her legs, legs that stretch through the windshield of his 2004 Nissan where she lay motionless on the hood. Dying. The girl he loves is dying on the very hood that steam now rises from while a faint wail can be heard in the distance.
She cant seem to make it stop. She doesn’t remember taking a nap, but now that she has found peaceful slumber she only wishes for what ever is dripping on her face to quit! She dreams of water or syrup sliding across her eyes. Swatting at the sticky substance she is not sure whether its real or part of her warm comfortable dream. Then she feels it, starting out as a low uncomfortable burning, her dream translates it into fire. Surrounding her, leaving her trapped yet somehow she knows better, fighting resisting the dream. Her eyes finally opened by the rush of adrenaline surging through her system, brought forward by the searing pain across her face. The sticky substance now identified is blood! She screams then screams again, taking in all the air her lungs will allow. Her seat is covered in blood, the dashboard is covered in blood, her clothes are covered in blood. Wait a minute; she thinks to herself. Calm down and relax; is all she can say. Her dads voice ringing in her ears for all the times she felt panicked and he calmed her down with those four little words. Honey just “calm down and relax”. She remembers getting in the car with her friend, they were headed to a friend’s house for a study group.. Wait her friend! He was driving them! She slowly turns to the left and its then her world is changed forever!
She now knows where the blood is from, oh sure some is from the head wound that burns across her scalp. But the majority is from him. He lies motionless against the door pillar, color gone from his face, lips barren and dry, a sandy glaze across the whites of his eyes he breathes no more. Still, lifeless, anything but the laughing energetic young man he was a mere 5 minutes ago. She screams for him to wake, he doesn’t budge. She slaps his face praying for a reaction! Anything! Anger and fear rip through her as she comes to realize he will never wake up, never move again, the charming, smart, dorky boy she had known since 5th grade was gone forever. She lays against him crying. Not knowing what to do or where to go, she cries.
The faint wail off in the distance is not a wounded animal, it doesn’t come from a piece of machinery or a child who has just been punished it comes from a shadow, a silhouette, an anomaly spread out on the pavement 25 yards away. It twitches and writhes this anomaly of disproportion. The top half in a serious battle with the bottom half. A losing battle from what can be gathered at first sight. This shadow seems to be swimming on pavement, for it surrounded by liquid. A red lake that ripples with the breeze it appears to be flowing to the lowest level it can reach. Moving closer we see the shadow, the anomaly is wearing softball gear. A bat off to the right a cleat off to the left stuck in the center of what appears to be a childs water-color. Smeared across hot black asphalt lay various shades of red. She doesn’t know why she is face down and can’t move her lower half. She doesn’t understand why she is vomiting non stop. She feels a “fight or flight” reaction that she can’t control. Like a trapped animal she howls, claws and fights against the chains that bind her to this place. An abdomen that wont flex, a pair of legs grotesquely deformed, rotated and broken, she fights. She has fought her whole life against those who said she couldn’t. She has fought her whole life to achieve her small successes in school , at home and on the field of play, now she fights purely for her life. She cannot move anymore yet she still fights..
He has shaken the cobwebs and moved beyond the pink Sketchers. Trembling with fear he opens the car door and stands up to survey the origin of steam rising off the front of his car. He cannot believe what lays before his still blurry eyes. Two vehicles are heavily damaged, the front end on his car is folded up like a piece of paper, his girlfriend lay on the hood. Bleeding. Unconscious. It appears he has struck another car in the driver’s door. A portion of the drivers head lays split open on the center post of the car. It appears another occupant, most likely a female is crying and shaking the driver looking for a response. As he walks around the front of his car, pulling out his cell phone he see’s a bloody pile of clothing fighting against itself on the street off in the distance. It also appears to be a female and she has a bat, glove and is missing her shoes??
What has he done? How did this happen? It was only minutes ago he was at a party, laughing, drinking and having a good time with his girlfriend. What is he going to tell his parents? What is he going to tell her parents? This can’t be happening he is going to college in 6 weeks! What does this mean for his future? It was only a couple of drinks right? He tells himself he is fine and there is no way the cops will ever know..
He makes the call to 911…
Every 15 minutes a person is involved in an alcohol related accident. This is the premise of the Every 15 Minutes program held at high schools across the country prior to Senior Prom and Graduation. Every 15 Minutes is a two-day program focusing on high school juniors and seniors. The program challenges them to think about drinking, driving, personal safety and the responsibility of making the right decisions. The program also focuses on the impact these choices make on family, friends and the community.
The story I wrote above was about our scenario today April 26th 2012. It is an re-enactment or compilation of many accidents I have responded to over the years. For as the Every 15 Minutes program has an impact on the children and their families. Drinking and driving has an impact on all first responders. The firefighters, the police officers, the ambulance crews and the hospital personnel who fight for your child or family members life. People who are advocates for their survival. These are images I carry with me always. Images I can’t erase or just forget! People whose lives were changed forever from one poorly made decision. I remember them all and share them with you so you will remember to never get behind the wheel of a car after you have been drinking.
Dont drink and drive.
All pictures are of high school actors who volunteered to help raise awareness to teenage drinking and driving. I am very proud to be a part of the Every 15 Minutes program and the lasting effect it has on our participants, their family members and the audience that witnesses the event.
I am packing my bags and I’m hitting the bricks! Dagwood sandwich in one hand, knap sack in the other,”we” are headed on an adventure of great proportions. Oops I let the cat out of the bag, by saying “we” didn’t I? Well it seems my eldest son wanted more than to just file paperwork at the local police station to fulfill his “public service” requirements for graduation from high school. So he and I headed off on a spiritual journey. An expedition hopefully filled with emotional growth and worldly knowledge. Not a vacation mind you but an actual trip filled with hard work, dedication and compassion for others. So we answered the call, meeting up with 8 other people from our church, partaking in some fundraising and away we go!!!
Along the way it will be a true conquest to overcome the need for electronics, video games, ringing cell phones, packed schedules and school. A much-needed reality check from todays society filled with not so real “reality” television blaring in your face 24/7.
Where can we go to find such isolation you ask??
Yep, that’s right as in “hot as Haiti” the wonderful little grief-stricken country on the tip of the Dominican Republic. You remember Haiti don’t you? A massive 7.0 earthquake ripped the country apart in 2010 leaving 316,000 dead, 300,000 injured and more than a million residents homeless; devastating the country’s infrastructure and crushing any commerce or trade to sustain economic stability. Well its 2012 and it appears that half a million Haitians still remain homeless living on the streets or in tent camps. financial aid is at a stalemate with only portions of promised funding actually being delivered to its intended recipients. Government corruption is rampant and the Haitian citizens are truly suffering.
Thanks to the wonderful air carrier American Airlines , my son and I are heading into Port Au Prince with a United Methodist Church group, sponsored by UMCOR or the United Methodist Committee On Relief. Leaving in June we will spend 10 lovely days and nights soaked in radiant sun just north of the equator. This not so all expense paid vacation will provide us ample time to dig, shuttle rubble, and carry heavy objects from one place to another. Want to lose weight while in Haiti? No problem with an average 80% humidity while entrenched in 90+ degree weather, those pounds will melt right off. I am surprised Guthy-Renker hasn’t figured out how to bottle it up and sell it to the masses on late night T.V. yet.
While in Haiti we will be treated to luxurious accommodations including but not limited too; One room out buildings with army cots, an open air solar shower, built-in charcoal kitchen, and wooden sided latrine. Want to go on an excursion while you there? No problem just grab your interpreter and head out into the streets to meet the locals! Dont worry, they are glad to see you ( as volunteers are the only true economy source) so be respectful, take it all in and just avoid eye contact with U.N. police officers at all costs.
All kidding aside. We cant wait to go! My wife volunteered last year and came home with amazing stories of families torn apart, entire families killed, strangers raising children they found after the quake and some of the kindest most resilient, generous people she had ever met. They live in a world where they are truly on their own. The streets are lined with garbage, rubble remains everywhere, mass tent cities are still operating, and Cholera is still rampant, all though latest statistics from UMCOR show those numbers are dropping. The Haitian people want and need our help. The churches are the only true center of social and economic stability for these people. We are honored to a part of this rebuilding effort.
I also think this will be an incredible growing experience for my son. Surrounded by all the creature comforts a kid could possibly have, we hope this will further ground an already fairly centered kid just a little more. When we are finished I hope this will help him understand why people risk their lives daily to make it into the United States hoping to create a better life for themselves and thier families.
Not that long ago I had the pleasure of meeting a gentlemen during jury duty who resided from Haiti. He risked everything and fled the country 20+ years ago hoping for a better life in America. To this day he works very hard at his job, sending half his income home so his family may survive. He is a pillar in his community and a regular at the local United Methodist Church, where he leads committees, sings in the choir and prays daily for “his people” back home. During the earthquake he lost 6 of his 8 siblings along with his parents. He wishes daily he could go home to visit the remaining family members but is terrified they (the government) will recognize him and hold him back in country. In his words this would not only mean incarceration but as the major contributor to their well being, the loss of a very good income for his family. So he remains in a country he has learned to love, adopted as his own and stays by himself so others may prosper.
So be prepared people! For while my son and I are in Haiti with our team, I will be blogging about our experiences! The highs, the lows, the weight loss, the crying, the need for beer and my soft, fluffy, imperialist bed! Along the way we hope to learn a culture, to make new friends and if only for a very short moment in time help out with the good attitudes and strong hands god gave us.
Parenting is an art, a finely crafted piece of art that is created over a lifetime. A sculpture to be more precise. In the end you pray that a masterpiece will emerge so you may stand back, dust the particles from your clothing, pat yourself on the back and proclaim with pride to the world; this I have created!
But lately I feel as though my parenting “tools” are a little dull. I have taken good care of them mind you. Giving them a little “tune-up” when needed, sharpening them as appropriate, honing my skills as to not damage the final product. Yet no matter what I’ve learned from teachers, or the pearls I have gleaned from other befuddled artists (parents), I have hit the wall, I am stuck, my muse is dead and creativity has left the building.
My daughter has lost all resemblance of control! I try, and I try but no matter what I do it doesn’t seem to make any difference! Really! No difference at all. What is a father to do? How is a mother to cope? There is the right way and the wrong way to handle behavioral issues in todays “touchy feely” society right? In this situation I think it might be time to break a few rules….
It would seem our daughter has taken to being defiant. Now before you all start giggling and waving your magic parental wands around spreading glitter and good tidings for all us failures to indulge upon. “That was the nice way of you telling me to shut up and get over it, all girls are difficult.” Let me explain myself. My daughter has taken to closing her fists, furrowing her brow and dropping to the ground in a spastic fit, complete with waterworks that would make the Hotel Bellagio envious. It doesn’t matter where we are, it could be in the middle of church after asking her to politely sit up and pay attention. Or in the grocery store around isle number 3. You know isle number 3? The isle with chips, cookies and candy, all of which she is trying to put in the cart. Today isn’t going exactly as SHE had planned, YOU can’t seem to get her over to her friend’s house after school? Put in the ear plugs sister because the screaming will now ensue! Screaming that would make a deaf person cringe! It reaches a pitch that even dogs run and hide from! She definitely has a career in the movies doing horror scream voice overs! Now mind you we never cave into this screaming. We know it’s about taking her parents hostage, but it sure seems like the easy way out sometimes.
Before I go any further you need to understand, 80% of the time she is a sweet, giving, kind little girl who truly cares about everyone and everything. A virtual princess. It’s the other 20% I am concerned about. I have tried everything, from explaining my rationale, to sitting her on a timeout for screaming over the top of me while I am talking with her. Placing her inside her room and closing the door for a specified amount of time. Allowing her to cool off and collect herself without the pressure of others staring. Nothing was working. Scream, scream, scream! So much so on a camping trip we actually thought she sounded like a wounded animal. Afraid she would draw a hungry creature into our camp we moved her out of the tent and into the trailer!
Is this the answer?
I was sure I had the answer! It was unconventional mind you, not from the standard book of parenting this concept of mine. But I tried it once and it worked! I was so shocked at the outcome, dismayed by how idiotic and simplistic it was to carry out. We all sat in wonderment at how something so simple held so much power during a moment of lost control. Not only did it stifle the screaming, but we grew closer as family from this one simple moment. It bonded us together as a unified front against misbehavior across the board. We all sat slack-jawed in awe as a silence fell upon us after 20 minutes of pure screeching, fingers on the chalk board torture. The others knowing to never ever scream because the same response was inevitable.
Picture six of us in a car traveling through the mountains. The trees, the cool mountain air, deer off in the distance. It is perfect serenity, with the exception of one 6-year-old female screaming at the top of her lungs because she didn’t get something she wanted. The other three have their ears covered and the littlest is crying. Mom and I are at wit’s end when I lean over and turn up the radio with my right hand. My left hand slyly depresses all four buttons allowing the windows to roll down and as if on cue, we all start singing whats on the radio! Singing at the top of our lungs! The louder she screamed the louder we sang! It was off key, it was obnoxious, some of us didn’t know the words! Who cared! We sang loud, we sang proud and we sang as a family! Within about thirty seconds she realized she couldn’t top 5 other voices equally if not greater in decibel than she could produce. After a while with a few songs so badly butchered she eventually smiled and joined in our little band of misfits! After a couple of songs, silence fell over the vehicle and peace once again returned to our lives with the exception of an occasional giggle. Windows rolled back up, stereo turned back down, life is back to normal.
A problem still remains.
Unfortunately this only works in the car! When it comes to the store, by the pool, during church, the middle of class or any other moment that silence and order has reigned king the screaming begins. It’s then, this tactic falls flat on its face and here’s why….
She is not seat belted in the car, forced to endure our wildly out of tune crooning. There is something lost in translation while at the park I lean over my daughter and break into a rendition of “Girls just wanna have fun” from my Pandora 80’s radio station! The louder I sing the more deranged I look to anyone passing by which leads to other passing children screaming “stranger danger, stranger danger”then running away! While singing at the top of my lungs during a screaming fit, I am instantly deemed “that dad” by the other moms in the vicinity. This leads to unwanted pointing and under the breath mumbling when ever I walk by during after school pick-up. After singing at least two songs, people start to think we are sidewalk artists and throw dollar bills at our feet! Although this does pad my beer fund it leaves me feeling a fraud, for even a penny is just sheer pity for the caterwauling that comes from my pipes. Out in the open the father is easy prey for the hungry child, even though the father is far more cunning from experience the child knows that sheer youth will outlast the will of the elderly.
I know this is a phase she will transition out of, and yes it is embarrassing when it happens. I am sure it is just as embarrassing for her as it is for us as her parents. It always leaves you feeling like a “bad” parent, who must have done something horribly wrong to have a child behave in this fashion. But in the end she is just testing our will, giving us a “run for our money”, hoping to find the limits then push beyond them just a bit, developing herself in the process.
The sculpting continues….
When opening the doughnut box on the counter at work one should not find a lone half eaten doughnut. To the person who is responsible for this travesty of pastry. You are a jerk! Just eat the damn thing and throw away the box, so the rest of us may go about our day without hope! Carry on that is all..
Take a moment to make someones day. Hold a door, pick up a dropped object, say please and thank you. Go that extra mile that leaves someone else smiling as you walk away. No recognition, not because you have too, but because it’s who you are and you know in your heart it will pay forward.
Carry on that is all…
The other night I rushed the family from our daughters softball game over to our CPA to sign our taxes. Driving like a madman, hoping to arrive in the nick of time to beat the deadline for an extension, we zipped through city streets like James Bond chasing down an adversary in his shiny Aston Martin. After awhile I found my jaw locked tighter than King Tutts tomb. My face so frozen like granite that one could bounce a quarter from my forehead. My shoulders squared off like a New York city parkbench. Tense I guess would be the theme I am going for here? I was just a little tense….
After partaking in the usual pleasantries, we inked our paperwork, then I slithered back into the car deflated, defeated and just plain old mentally exhausted. I found myself daydreaming of easier times, when I held no responsibilities other than waking up in the morning, carrying out a few chores, and feebly wandering my way through school. Yeah those were the good times alright! No responsibilities at all…….
It’s amazing how the old adage of “the grass is always greener on the other side” pops to mind right now. For as I wondered aimlessly through the bright and shiny portions of my past all I could see was the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow as opposed to the rock it was sitting upon. Yet when things aren’t going so well, amazingly I only find garbage when peering under that very same rock. Our mind has a way of sheltering us from past experiences during some recollections while reminding us of those very same experiences during more emotional times. Curious, so very curious…
Back to the beginning.
So while driving home during my “pot at the end of the rainbow” period I chose to think of all the things I miss about being a kid. Yep I was yearning for the old days! Off in the land of the Walltons, Fall Guy and Wendy Peffercorn! No responsibilities at all, just me and my crazy youth! Since I was in dream land I decided to take the quantum leap into the furthest reaches of my mind and come up with a list of all the things I missed about being a kid. When it was over I carefully narrowed them down to a fair resemblance of a top ten. Here they are…
10. Missile pops. Nothing was better on a summer’s day than a missile pop, didn’t matter where you were or how you got it. Melty, sticky, ice-cold and delicious! It was awesome! As an adult they just don’t taste the same…
9. Going barefoot. As a kid you could pretty much get away with being barefoot, whenever you wanted. As an adult now a days people just think you are weird. I still remember how good the grocery store floor felt under my bare feet as a kid. As an adult it’s just plain gross.
8. My A&A custom made, motocross racing bike. It was flat black with a little chrome and it was cool. That bike was the center of my universe. I took the whole thing apart down to the frame then put it back together, just to prove to myself that I could. I jumped everything I could on that bike. Rode it ten miles to town just so I could cruise around the plaza downtown. I loved it, loved it, loved it! Shed a tear when at thirty-five I sent the worn out old frame to the recyclers after cleaning up my parents place during their move to a new house.
7. Summertime. Being allowed to play from sun up till sundown. Running around our ranch, hanging out with horse trainers and their kids, building forts out of hay, generally just being a kid.
6. The fair: I saved money all year-long waiting for the fair. I showed sheep so I was at the fairgrounds from sun-up till sundown all week-long. The money wasnt for rides, or cotton candy or even to play those stupid carnival games. Oh no! The money I saved was for one thing and one thing only! CORNDOGS! I ate them for breakfast, lunch and dinner for a week straight! They were my drug of choice and baby I couldn’t get enough! Just the smell sent me into drooling fits of hunger! Even now, I just drooled a little on the keyboard.
5. Swim practice: This was a true love hate relationship which is why its number five. I loved swim practice, because everyday I was guaranteed to see my friends for a least an hour and a half. Plus being a young lad rolling into puberty it was always an hour of prepubescent giggles between my friends and I as we watched the cute girls walk by in their shimmering one piece swimsuits! The hate part revolved solely around the hard work encompassed in practice itself. It was long, grueling and tiring. Although I never complained when we practiced in the rain, I always found those practices to be the most interesting. Something strange about being wet in the pool while more water flows onto you from the clouds above.
4. Summer camp: Oh yeah, friends, swimming, hiking, snipe hunts, marshmallows and a week away from chores, my parents and my sister. Enough said….
3. Hot Wheels: The sole reason for my fascination with all makes and models of automobiles to this day. British, Russian, Croatian, American, German, Bavarian, I love them all. If you have created or plan on creating an automobile I have either read about you, salivated over your creations or just plain envied you. I am the guy who can find at least one redeeming quality on even the worst made machine. I am always looking to understand the vision of a designer. I cherished American Muscle as a youth and still do to this day. I also am a big fan of German engineering and British ingenuity. But at the end of the day I owned more hot wheels as a kid that revolved around two cars and two cars only. The American made Corvette and the German-made Porsche. Go fast straight and hang on g-force in the turns. I love them both! I have owned a Corvette and can’t wait until the day comes when my cob-web filled bank account opens its doors allowing me the privilege of wrapping my poor fingers around the steering wheel of a 911. Preferably a GT2-RS. One can only dream.
2. Sunday night fried chicken dinners! We ate until we popped and it was always great. No one can have a bad day after eating moms fried chicken. It was fantastic. Heck, really its about more than fried chicken. It’s about being able to eat anything at anytime without worrying about cholesterol, fat content, how many grams of protein or what my total caloric intake was for the day. Take that BMI!
1. Playing basketball with my dad. I know it will never happen again. I know it was only for a very short period of time, yet it remains one of the things I miss most about being a kid. Just the two of us, no sister, no mom, just us, laughing and having a good time..
Now I am sure at least one of you out there is saying to themselves; What about the lack of responsibility as a child? With the lead in you gave isn’t that what you were searching for? In reality I had tons of responsibility. More than most kids I am sure. We lived on a working ranch and my day was pretty full with chores that revolved around the welfare and care of animals. I learned a lot about responsibility as a child and I am doing my best to pass those traits on to my children. Oh, I am sure my parents would argue I was lazy and self-centered. A chore shirker who had to be begged and harassed into completing his work. But at the end of the day, my chores were always done and I went to bed exhausted. Somedays I even took to counting the minutes until I could lay down upon my pillow and shut down the machine.
So in the end it has always been this way for me. I always had to be doing something as a kid, as an adult I am no different. Rush here or rush there, on time or late. It’s all the same. The grass truly isn’t greener, for all that I miss about being a kid pales in comparison to all the cool things I can participate in as an adult.
Betty’s Words of Wisdom for the Day: Giving from the heart allows your soul to shine.
Giving because you wish to be the center of attention will inevitably cast a dark shadow upon you that’s hard to disperse.
Think about it….
Carry on that is all……
Being a parent is without a doubt one of the highlights of my life, at times it has also held a few of the lowest points in my life. I never received a manual or “how to” book on raising children. But then who has? Everything we do as parents is a direct result of how we were reared by our parents. Some of it may even be attributed to a few of the television shows we watched. I prefered “Leave it Beaver”, in my fantasy family Ward Cleaver was my dad, Wally and the Beaver were my brothers. Yeah born a Cleaver how great would that have been?
Out of fantasy land and back to the real world!
I have been known to pick up and peruse the occasional parenting book written by one of Oprah’s top pick guru’s looking for answers. I have also been known to hold up the grocery store line a time or two while turning the pages on more than my fair share of “parenting” magazines. Then there are the times I have been patiently listening to the endless stream of unwarranted advice coming from the endless gaggle of distraught moms and dads purging their souls at church of school functions. And as referenced earlier I can’t leave out the wonderful advice given to me time and again by my parents. The same people who apparently live in a fantasy world when it comes to recalling exactly how I was raised. Yes that’s right in their eyes it was all snow cones, marshmallows and ponies for yours truly.
Yet with all this second and third-party knowledge floating in my head, for some reason (unbeknownst to me) it is still a day-to-day challenge ensuring my child is being raised properly. Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing many parent/child relationships grow and flourish; I have also seen the unpleasant side of the same relationship failing miserably. A relationship failing so badly one cant help but stand back and wonder what the heck happened? How on earth did this child grow to be in charge of the relationship? Why is this child demanding, disrespectful, and belligerent? The answer is simple; the parent opted to become the child’s friend.
When I was younger I would daydream about what my children would look like, how they would behave and most of all, I would wonder what kind of relationships we would have together. I thought about all the normal scenarios, like if it was a boy we would go hunting and fishing, play baseball together, camp in the backyard, go on bike rides and build a tree house! Work on cars in the driveway and farm equipment out back. Nothing a couple of MEN can’t handle, and nothing is better than working side by side with your son, your friend.
If it was girl, she would be my little princess, the apple of my eye, and mom would dress her up in the cutest of clothes. I would be her protector, her daddy, the man who would melt at her smile all while cleaning my shotgun as her first date arrived. Now don’t get me wrong I also have plans to teach her about hunting and fishing, keeping her girly with a little tomboy thrown in for good measure. Of course this will prepare her mentally as she begins taking care of herself against those awful boys she’ll encounter, due to her stunning beauty. But at the end of the day, she will be my little angel and we will always be friends. Boy or girl, it didn’t matter, we will always be friends… Or will we???
What I have determined over time is this; I am not my child’s friend. I will never be my child’s friend. I am something way more in-depth, and incredibly more important than a friend. Whenever I hear an adult say “me and little insert name here are best friends”, I cringe and instantly think oh gosh you are so wrong, and inevitably when I finally have the opportunity to meet that child it is obvious who controls the relationship. (Hint: it’s not the parent). It really is sad to see a parent bowing to the will of a 6-year-old all in the name of friendship.
Maybe Ward Cleaver had it right?
Ward solved every problem with a calm cool disposition. He never wavered and was always fair in distribution of punishment. His children loved him and his wife adored him. Now I know this was Television. A writers idea of what family life should be. But did they really have it wrong? And why was Wards way of doing things so effective? Why?
I have thought about this long and hard coming to only one logical conclusion. He was not his childrens friend. I have also found my parenting style somewhat the same for I too am not my childs friend; I am my child’s parent. That’s right I said it! In this feel good, words hurt, everyone gets a trophy, nobody loses, you need to express yourself society I have chosen to not be my childs friend, but instead focus on being the best parent I can possibly become!
Now let that sink in for a moment.
So I know many of you are saying “that’s bunk”! Some of you may even ask yourself “is there a difference”? We’ll let me tell you fellow readers, I believe there certainly is a difference! To me (my opinion only) its like this….
Friends come and go, friends can be spoken to in anger then if all is not patched up, friends can be discarded like yesterdays trash, no longer being called a friend. Yet a new friend will take the old ones place in a matter of time. (And yes that statement is a generalization) A friend is just that, a friend an acquaintance. They travel through our lives like the wind, coming and going only to reappear when ever and where ever they choose. Don’t misunderstand what I am implying for a true friend can in fact be an important part of your life! Someone you may grow to rely on, someone who may be an important part of who you have become or may become. Someone who stands by your side for most of your life. We all have friends we have known since childhood, some we may even trust more than family members. When it comes to raising a child though, you need more than what friendship brings to the table. Your child needs strong, loving parents providing guidance in every facet of their life.
Heres the shocker! (once again my opinion)
Parenting means telling your child NO and meaning it, standing by it, never wavering. Parenting means letting them make mistakes, even though you can’t stand to see them fail. But fail they will and you will be right beside them, guiding them to an enlightened outcome. Parenting means punishing them when they have done wrong even though it’s an inconvenience for YOU! Yep that’s right, I can’t tell you how many times I have seen parents throw down the stern “this is how its gonna be” only to back pedal a few seconds later because it hurt their little ones feelings! Parenting means loving them unconditionally without question, regardless of what or who they have become. Parenting means sticking your nose in their business when they become teenagers, continuing to screen, observe and learn about every aspect of their lives and their friends lives as well. Parenting means teaching them the importance of a job well done along with the repercussions of a job unfinished or done poorly. Parenting means making mistakes yourself, recognizing those mistakes then apologizing afterwards. Even though you want to be perfect in your childs eyes they will respect you more for your imperfections and ability to rebound from those mistakes. Parenting means sometimes you need to cry when they cry and laugh when they laugh, even though you may not think what they were experiencing was worth crying or laughing over. Parenting means teaching them how to give and receive love unconditionally. Of course this is done by example. Good parenting will give them more emotional stability and knowledge about who they are than any parent/friendship. It will also give them the skills needed to grow, eventually becoming strong adults along with great friends themselves.
Parenting your child will always be one of the most challenging ventures undertaken. But in the long run its an investment well worth the risk.
I am very proud to say I’m a parent to my children.
Side note: I also believe once your children are adults you never stop being their parents. But because they are now adults, it is a little easier developing a more “friend like” relationship if you so choose.