Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Older I Get the More I Think

The older I get the more I think that the most important subjects we should be taught in school are parenting and how to manage money. 

I saw a very young couple yesterday with a tiny baby in a local restaurant. It came to me as I watched them how inexperienced in life they were. I wondered what kind of parents the couple would be imitating as they raised the little girl.
Will they use corporal punishment when she misbehaves? Will he be a loving father who listens to her childish concerns? Will they be overprotective or neglectful? Will they read to her and will they teach her how to love a pet and share with her sisters and brothers? Will she always feel safe?

Reading an article today on Thirteen Things A High School Coach
Won't Tell You, number seven touched me. The coach says parents should not go over and over every play of the game in which their child plays. Just tell the child you enjoyed watching him/her play. He said he once found a girl in an almost dark gym after a game shooting baskets. She said she was waiting as long as possible to go home in hopes that her father would be in bed and she wouldn't have to talk to him about the game. 
Some parents take winning far more seriously than the kids, and have no idea how much pressure they put on their children. In the structured life of today's children, they seldom get to play just for fun. 

My mother and father raised seven kids. They certainly had no special training and they made mistakes. But I have heard horrendous stories of parenting and abuse, cold and uncaring mothers, addiction and dysfunction, from people who are now grandmothers and grandfathers, and they have never forgotten their upbringing. 

I find it odd that the most important job we have as human beings is to care for and raise our young if we have any, but no one prepares us for that challenge. 
My mother used to say about children who had negligent parents, "They just grew up like Topsy." I don't know where that saying came from, but it meant that the kids had no one looking after them. They were on their own most of the time.

Some hospitals try to fill in the gap with young mothers by teaching parenting classes, but I wonder how many take advantage of them. And sadly, fathers need parenting classes as much or more than mothers. 

My mother had patented her parenting skills by the time I came along, number six, and I am forever grateful she learned from a good and kind father, William Henry Robison, as well as a loving mother, Malula Jones Robison.

My father 's methods were harsh and his temper often short due to stress and strain of making a living for all of us. His mind was not on two little girls, my sister and me, but on his sons who were older and worked with him on the farm each day. Those four boys, when they were young, endured whippings with a belt on many occasions, but they never seemed to resent him.

Having been a teacher of little children, it was easy to see what kind of parenting was done in their home. When a small boy came to school with bruises and each time he explained them he told a different story, I knew, and it saddened me.
One little girl developed emotional problems about halfway through the school year and sat in my lap each morning and cried. She told me that her mother, she and her brother knelt beside their beds at night for hours and prayed for her father to come back home. The child had taken on the responsibility of her father's leaving and blamed herself because he had not come back after all the praying.

When we have no money management skills we can lose our homes, but when we have no parenting skills, we can lose our children in many different ways, the worst being that they will perpetuate our mistakes for generations to come.


DJan said...

I was the oldest of six, and my mother once long ago apologized to me for the mistakes they made with me, since they got better as time went on. You are right; it's a huge responsibility and some people really shouldn't be parents.

Ellen said...

Very insightful post, Glenda. I've sometimes thought that people nurture their plants more than they nurture their children.