Children and young kids are different today! They have no respect; they don’t listen; they have smart mouths, tattoos, music that is horrible; they are into drugs and alcohol; and are much more susceptible to opiate addictions. They seem to be getting blamed for all our problems!
So I ask again: who is really at fault? The general answer is simple. We all are! Children are a product of our culture and our society. They tend to be like we are and what we allow them to get away with.
A lot of children start behind the 8 ball by where they were born, who their parents are and the limited choices they have. So who can help solve this? Good luck.
Some have a great chance. Is that just luck or providence?
My parents were poor. They had seven kids. We just danced on the poverty line, but Mom and Dad loved us, disciplined us, demanded and expected things of us. They were good parents who had their own faults and shortcomings, but because I felt their love and concern, I challenged myself to become better, to get an advanced education and all of my brothers and sisters have been successful in their own way. We were lucky and poor, but lucky because of parents.
There are a lot of young people who are starting with parents that have drug problems. They don’t love themselves or their children. Maybe we need to really look at how we can fix the parent concerns that we all know. There are no easy answers but to blame, be angry at or to even hate poor parents is not the answer. Instead, we need to ask ourselves, each other and them, “How can we help?”
One thing we can do is show examples of what good parenting really is. It’s not about giving children everything they want or about not disciplining them, but of making sure that mom and dad love and care for them.
The Power of Parenting
My neighbors Kristi and Nate have three young daughters: twins Reagan and McKinley are 6 years old and Kennedy is 4. They are beautiful, wonderful kids who have the same problems all youngsters have at that age. They can almost drive you crazy and test your patience every day, but they have special parents!! As their close neighbor, I watch and smile at the chaos and and at the patience exhibited by Kristi and Nate.
The morning after we returned from a recent two-week vacation, the three girls ran outside at 8:00 AM, yelling “Coach Buhson, will you and Miss Jennifer come and walk us to school?” The twins are new to kindergarten and their little sister is going to ‘college’ at the university-run preschool on campus down the block from our homes. “Let me check with Jennifer,” I answered. Of course Jennifer quickly agreed and the three girls, their mom, Jennifer and I headed down the street.
I asked if I could stay and go to class all morning with them; they said, “Oh no, Coach Buhson!” “But I need to work on my alphabet!” I replied. We laughed and enjoyed the walk. We dropped Kennedy off at preschool and then proceeded to skip and jump down the hill to the elementary school. It was a beautiful, sunny September day and we arrived several minutes early, all excited.
Then Kristi called us all to huddle up. We touched hands in the center. This caught Jennifer and me a little off guard, but the problems and concerns of the world dropped thousands of miles away as she crouched to eye-level with her daughters, looked in their eyes, said, “McKinley and Reagan, what are we going to do today?” They both said, “We’re going to find someone who needs a friend and be that friend.”
“Great,” said mom. “And what else?”
They both giggled and said, “Make Mrs. Allred’s [the teacher] job easier.” They looked at us and said, “Thank you for walking to school with us.”
Then we raised our clasped hands in the air and everyone shouted, “Team work makes the dream work!”
Reagan and McKinley smiled, showing a couple of lost front teeth, and ran gleefully toward school!
I feel great joy, trust and belief in the power of parenting. I even noticed a tear in Jennifer’s eyes. Maybe we can’t change the world – maybe we can. Find a neighbor, a friend, or someone who needs a friend, and walk their children to school.
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