Lacey Smith

Our responsiblity to parent

In Uncategorized on August 24, 2012 at 3:33 pm

I’ve had this post sitting in my drafts for well over a month, too chicken to post it.

However, I was thinking this week about the news story that inspired it and wondering whatever happened to the people involved.

The story – a horrific video of a school bus monitor being bullied brutally that surfaced last June.

(If you haven’t seen the video, you can watch it on YouTube here. A warning: the video and language are disturbing.)

I was wondering what happened not only to the bus monitor, but to the kids. I’d love to find out that the kids involved were properly parented and now they look back and have deep regret for what they did and have changed because of it.

Unfortunately, some of the parents involved seemed to excuse their kids’ behavior, taking an almost “kids will be kids” attitude.

Truth is, these kind of comments, brutal language, etc., were sadly common when I was in school. Equally common were parents excusing their children’s behavior. Both have only gotten worse in the years since.

Although the story is “old news” the problem must not be relegated to the archives. It is an ongoing issue.

What happened to this woman is awful. There are a lot of people who were guilty by silence. Although there were only a few children who actively bullied the bus monitor, there were many who sat by and watched (especially – where was the bus driver during this?).

It takes a very strong child to stand up to a group of bullies and open themselves up to bullying as well. Our schools don’t teach this kind of strength. It has to be taught in the home.

Unfortunately, there is no way anymore to send our children to public schools without exposing them to a toxic environment.

I’ve written many times that our schools are broken and offered suggestions on how to fix them. However, this post is not about broken schools or bullying.

Our children are exposed to this culture in schools not just because the schools are broken but also because our parenting is broken.

What I say next I realize both has the opportunity to offend and hurt feelings. It is not my intention to do so and I will say it as gently as I know how.

If we have chosen to have children, we have also chosen the responsibility of parenting. Both mother and father need to be actively and intentionally involved in their children’s lives.

This requires more than showing up at concerts and sporting events, picking up your kids from football practice or dropping them at ballet and packing them a lunch for school every day.

This requires more even than going to church as a family every Sunday, having dinner together every night and having a parent around to meet the school bus every afternoon.

There is an ideal standard.

This requires a mother who does not work outside the home (including not having a “work from home” job) and is available for her children, actively involved in their schooling, knows their friends and teaches them throughout the day. The ideal also requires a father who financially provides for a family’s basic needs and, hopefully, some of their wants, but who leaves his work at work and comes home to lead his family, invest in his children, engages them and provides spiritual and moral direction for them.

Both mother and father work together as an equal partnership to create a moral, principled, safe home for children to grow up in.

Unfortunately, there are far too many parents who abdicate this responsibility.

Too many women go back to work as soon as their children are “old enough”. Frequently this means school aged.

Sometimes these women pick jobs in the schools or with enough flexibility to be home when their kids are. However, they have separated themselves from their role as mothers and from their children, allowing the public schools to bandage scraped knees, resolve playground fights and teach not only “educational” concepts but morals. They have abdicated to the schools (and consequently the State), the role of mother.

Too many fathers disconnect from their children as well. They never leave work, or their work never leaves them.

They miss out on valuable opportunities to lead and teach their family because they are too busy working, watching the TV or playing video games. Fathers sometimes become the disciplinarians, but without also showing their love and approval. They also have abdicated to the schools the role of father.

Even during the summer time, when kids are out of school, some parents send their kids to daycare or summer camps, not even taking advantage of the time with their children when they could.

When parents are not parents, it leaves a void in a child’s life that IS going to be filled by something else. Most likely, this void will be filled by the schools and their friends. The values that parents would give their kids are instead imparted by the teachers, schools and their friends.

In the end, parents who do not parent cause a breakdown in society and a generation of children who feel entitled, have questionable morals and are reliant on the State.

Now, I don’t live in a bubble. I hardly feel qualified to speak about parenting as I am just beginning to parent. But principles do not vary, no matter my experience.

If you have a misbehaving child it may not be poor parenting. Also, if you cannot meet the ideal – if mom has to work to feed and house her family or dad works long hours to provide for basic needs – my heart goes out to you.

Many struggle with this. My husband and I wonder if it’s possible for us to meet the ideal when our baby comes as he cannot work full time while he’s in school and he has many years of school ahead.

BUT if you are a mother working to provide luxuries – new clothes, a large house, cable TV, cell phones for your children – or a father who is a workaholic, disconnected or absent, you need to stop it now. It is not worth what you are sacrificing. You chose to have children. Your cannot now choose not to be a parent without long-reaching and tragic consequences.

Your child will be better off dirt poor with involved parents than financially well-off with absent parents.

Our society needs parents. Parents need to quit abdicating to the public schools (in fact, parents who send their children to public school not only make their own job harder but need to be even more involved with their children than home schooled children).

It does not “take a village.” It takes two very involved parents. Fortunately many good parents have a village to help, but nothing can replace parents.

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  1. Thanks! I agree wholeheartedly! Everyone should be striving for this type of family life!

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