I'm not a parent. I hope to be some day.
This morning as I rode in the dollar van towards the Utica Avenue train station--the driver had his radio tuned to Air America. I've noticed most of the Caribbean dollar van drivers seem extremely conscious of the political scope of this country and abroad. I always enjoy listening to the discussions that they have with their fellow passengers or just to hear the topics being discussed on the radio.
This morning's topic was about parenting. Specifically, it was about whether bad parents should be required to attend parenting classes by good parents. When you first hear a topic like this--you get sucked in. It sounds logical. Lets see what others think about it.
One caller said that bad parents would be concerned that if they attended such a class they would risk having their children taken away or having to deal with ACS. I though wow that's a valid concern.
Another caller said bad parents are a result of how restrictive this country is in terms of the ability of a parent to discipline a child without ACS being called. He said that back in the days parents were better parents because they didn't have such limits. I thought to myself well that sounds logical. Well the host tore into him. She said what he is doing is called revisionist history. She said there were bad parents 40 years ago. There are bad parents now. And that proof of this is the current crop of bad parents, that are proof that they were taught their bad ways by their bad parents (cyclical).
Another caller said that he noticed good parents are more involved. Again I thought okay, but what does he mean by involved. Well finally I was exercising a bit of caution before I agreed with what seemed like a logical statement. The two hosts both asked what does involved mean. So he goes on to say how he's involved in his child's academic and social life...well I'm sure he thought he was going to get a pat on the back. He goes on to say that bad parents are not involved. I'm mentally cringing at this point (due to the sweeping generalization). He was taken to task. The female host said to him that a good parent can have bad children (something he clearly hadn't considered). She said you could have a child that was "good" until they were 16 and then get caught up in the neighborhood or date a thug and then everything could go downhill. This I definitely agreed with. Parenting is a function of two environments, internal and external. Then you throw in this thing called the rebelliousness of youth and as the host said it is a crap shoot. Parenting is a crap shoot. I completely agreed.
I'll close this post with the final thought that I heard before I left the van. The female host said she has a sister that has children. The children were all good. They've had children that are now good. So she asked her sister for advice for raising her daughter, Cassie. Her sister says all you can do is show them love.
That's simple. Show them love.
It makes me think of parenting like taking care of a plant. You water it, nourish it, make sure it has light and hope that it thrives in its environment. You show it love and attention. Sometimes it might be lush and green. Other times it might look as though it will wither and die. Just never give up on it. That's what being a parent means to me, you'll never give up!