Friday, May 2, 2008

Parenting is a Full-Contact Sport

A little boy whose grandparent lives next door to my office comes in every single day- sometimes multiple times in a day. He is charming and absolutely adorable in a Andy Griffith/Mayberry kind of way-- red hair & freckles and all...

My problem is that he is only four years old, and roaming the neighborhood freely. I know many of us grew up in a time and place where Summer meant leaving the house after breakfast, only to return for lunch and then sundown. But, those days are GONE. Unless you've lived under a rock for the last thirty years, you would have to notice the rise in crime, violence, kidnapping, etc. My kids are so "aware" they freak out a little when I say "hi" to the "stranger" behind me in line at the supermarket.

So, where is this child's parents and/or grandparents? Do they not panic when he can't be found? Do they not have a fit when they see him with candy in his mouth and don't know where he got it? (I could kill my boss for that one. It only took one little ring-pop, and now the kid is like a cat who got fed...)

He seems to be taken care of. He doesn't seem malnourished or abused- just a little neglected. There's nothing that sends off enough signals to make me call Department of Children's Services, but I don't know what happens in his house.

My oldest child asked me the other day if I ever wished I didn't have them. Wow. That felt like the air being punched out of my chest. NO WAY would I ever wish for my kids to not "be"! Yes, I get frustrated, angry & a little neurotic sometimes. But NEVER have I wished them to be gone!

How can my children feel practically suffocated and loved "to death" while this poor boy next door gets nothing? I cherish my children like they are my very life's breath. I know of so many people who can't have children, who desperately want them.

Why is it fair for people to have kids just to have them? Or to add them to their collection of things? Or to complete their "set" of husband, home & family? Or because they had an "accident"?

We have to have a license to drive a car, get married, own a gun or even fish. You have to have a passport to go from one country to another. Why on earth are there not more qualifications required to be a parent???

There is no way that you can be an effective parent by hanging out on the sidelines of your kids' lives. You have to get in there and get dirty. Sometimes you have to throw a punch or intercept a pass.
Parenting is a full-contact sport. Anyone who thinks or behaves differently loses- big!

1 comment:

ThePrincessMommy said...

Tootrue!! I know lots of parents that don't even stay on the sidelines unless a play is going on! :-) Usually they hang out in the locker rooms until something happens . . . .