Parents are Important

Dad, Mom and Me on my wedding day.

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” ~ Fredrick Douglas

“At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of the parents.” ~ Jane D. Hull

I’ve been thinking a lot about the developments in the Brett Kavanaugh hearings since my last post. I have more thoughts, not just about Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh’s situation, but about the #MeToo movement and relationships between men and women in general.

I’m not a parent, but I am a teacher and upon occasion, I’ve had parents say to me, “I want you to fix my child.” In my head I’d be thinking, “What! I see your child maybe six hours a week and you want me to fix them? You want me to do the job you are supposed to be doing?” And that attitude of some parents, I think, is a real problem in our society, on lots of different levels. Most assuredly it’s a problem when it comes to teaching children the best way to interact with their fellow students, and other human beings.

I don’t remember where I heard this analysis, but it has stuck with me. It may have been an actual study, but the writer, or person being interviewed said that in lots of families, in the evenings after dinner I presume, everyone scatters to their rooms, or personal spaces. They don’t interact with each other. Children are left to learn from the TV shows they watch, or games they play. These are not monitored, as evidenced by the children’s behavior in school. Often the children’s behavior is completely inappropriate. I think that’s tragic and I wonder, do those parents love their children? I’m sure the children feel their parent’s detachment and lack of involvement in their lives. How can they learn appropriate ways to interact with other people if they don’t learn it at home?

I have to say that I’ve been extremely lucky as a woman. I’ve never been violently assaulted sexually or otherwise. I have had minor incidences with men touching me inappropriately, or trying to get paid back with sexual favors at the end of date. And I think I have my parents to thank for the fact that I got myself out of those situations.

My parents thought it was their job to have the difficult discussions with us about drugs, alcohol, and sex. It was embarrassing but I’m so grateful that they warned me about what could happen to me. I remember one private conversation I had with my father telling me how boys think, and that it was okay for me to stand up for myself and say no in a clear and confident voice.

I think I escaped being raped or assaulted because my parents taught me that my body was mine. That I didn’t have to give in to anyone who wanted any kind of sexual relations with me. Maybe I exuded a kind of “keep your hands to yourself unless I say it’s okay” kind of attitude. If a boy or man crossed the line, I wasn’t afraid to report the incident to someone in authority and I was believed. I know I’m extremely lucky. My parents taught me and my siblings how to respect ourselves and other people. I’m grateful to them for that. I wish everyone could have parents like mine.

I don’t have any answers about how to untangle the messy relationships between men and women. It’s clear to me that there are men who have not been taught respect for women, and women who don’t know they can stand up for themselves. I wish we could send people to parenting school whether they are going to have children or not. If we did that it might help all of us learn things we should have learned from our parents particularly about the proper way to treat our fellow human beings. If the classes were backed up with scientific data, it might help prospective parents see just how important they were to their current or future children, and that would be a good thing.

Obviously, I have to do more thinking about this. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on this subject.

Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. Have a fabulous hump day.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news on the audiobook version Lucinda is working on. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

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