The Bushism of the day is this:
Presidents, whether things are good or bad, get the blame. I understand that." (Washington, D.C, May 11, 2001 -the quote for Saturday/Sunday January 6/7th)
Taking it from that comment, isn't that a bit like the job of parenting too?
I mean by that, as parents, does anyone set out from day one not to try to teach their child(ren) manners, various little skills, vocabulary, ways to help that chld learn basic skills, high-levels of learning later and just in general, ways to guide them through all the good, bad and sometimes what can also be the very ugly side that life can present to each of us?
I suppose there are some parents who are lacking so much in their own personal skill levels and abilities that for them to try to teach skills to their children that would allow for an improved life for the kids, is next to impossible to achieve even on the lowest level. But, for the most part, I do think the overwhelming majority of parents DO try to Teach their children at least the simplest of the basics - knowing right from wrong, "Do unto others as you would want done to you." THinks like that.
How successful any of us is at this task varies greatly too and sometimes, can cause a myriad of other problems for the person intended to be the learner as well as the self-appointed teacher too!
As an example here, let's take the situation which took place within my family Christmas Night. My son wrecked my car!
Now, what actions should I or could I have taken after the fact there?
Should I have, when he came into the house after the fact, just rushed up to him with open arms, hugging him, giving him a kiss on the cheek and a pat on the back and told him "Oh, I am so thankful you are not hurt."
Well, the fact of the matter is, all those emotions were going through my mind - yes, I was thankful he escaped uninjured and I know he was, even at the older, supposedly more mature age of 33, he was scared too and it is an instinct I suppose no matter how old your kids are, that you do want to give some type of comfort.
Or, should I have just launched into a major attack and had the whole family up all night listening to me lecture him on the error of his ways, his lousy use of common sense, no good judgement, no respect for others property - those any many other little things come to mind that I could probably still be yelling and preaching about to him. But, in the end, would it have done any good?
Should I have taken a belt and whipped the living daylights out of him? He's a lot taller than me, a lot stronger than me too for that matter - but would an action or reactio like that have cured and corrected the situation? Highly doubtful.
Did I speak to him about what he had done? Yes, indeed I did. And I prefaced it too by telling him I do NOT want to hear any of his "I'm so sorry Mom" hang-dog expressions of self-pity and all that because this resolve nothing and actually, would make him feel better about himself and his stupid actions. And yes, indeed, they were some stupid actions on his part that got all of us into this predicament too!
I did give him a lecture at the time - nothing long, drawn out - but a lecture all the same. And then, I told him I really do not want to discuss this anymore at this point in time. Maybe later, when I am calmer, when you are ready to acknowledge what you did, why and understand how stupid it was and makes no sense, but now - no, it would do nothing other than to keep my own blood pressure levels highly elevated!
But after one has a situation whehter it be like what we had or some other thing that upsets the entire apple cart within the family, inevitably, the questions crop up in your mind as to where did I go wrong over the years in trying to teach this kid to be a good, decent and responsible citizen - a loving (and very loved too) member of this immediate family as well as a large, caring extended family and in a circle that also includes many, many very close friends. Where the heck did I screw up, how could I have impressed on him better what is acceptable or unacceptable behavior?
I'm quite sure there are at least several - possibly many - who know me and know my kids and know and think they understand all the inner workings of our home too who will be johnny on the spot to tell me what I should have done years and years ago to "fetch him up right." And, if I were to base all my questions and answers I give myself according to Dr. Phi and his admonitions to child rearing, then no, I shouldn't have used many of the words that are a big part of my vocabulary but damn, sometimes just saying this is a mess you just created here has no impact whatsoever whereas when you raise your voice a tad (or more) and emphasize that "I am not putting up with this kind of S**t from you" maybe does get their attention a trifle better - at least at that point in time!
I can honestly sit back and say that I did try, very hard too, over the years to instill in my kids that there are somethings we must do that are absolute necessities. We must try to be the best possible employee for whoever it is that decides to give us an opportunity to earn a living - whether you absolutely love the job or despise it, doesn't give us the right to be a poor worker for whatever level of income you manage to receive from said job! Did that message sink in to my kids? Overall, I think I did get that across and for the most part, they understand that and agree with my theories there too!
Were they taught how to behave in public or in other people's homes? Well, I tried and when they were growing up - from the time they were toddlers till they were in elementary school, they often had to go with me into homes of others in this community while I tried to entice people into placing more orders through me of Avon's fine products. And, I will say this much for them, I could take them into some of the finest homes in the area and some that were pretty doggone disorganized too, but I never had to worry that they would be wandering around, playing touchy-feely with all kinds of knick knacks people might have set out and about in their home. I knew too they would sit by my side or my feet and quietly listen and allow me to show any new items, talk and joke with the customer and on occasion, if asked a question by the person whose home we were in, be expected to be able to give a suitable response - one that showed respect to the person the child was answering for openers!
If I were to try to do that job today, with my 3-year-old granddaughter, I would be a nervous wreck! Not because we aren't trying to teach her proper behavior but because she has some delays in her learning ability and getting her to obey, to keep her little fingers to herself, is a totally different circumstance than I dealt with when my kids were her age. In due time, I think we will achieve the goal of good, respectable behavior of her, but it is just taking a lot longer to do that with her at this point in time. Tantrums at times are a part of her behavior - something I didn't have to deal with in public with my kids - but because we can't always get her to comprehend what we want in the way of actions/reactions from her, it can create the appearance that she is not being disciplined at all at times, and that is not the case!
No matter how young or how old YOUR child(ren) may be, we, as parents, always worry, always want to see them act in the best possible manner and when on occasion, they don't seem to pay attention to things they were taught from the get-go, we do often put a lot of blame on ourselves. We also often give the standard lectures too that were doled out since the beginning of time "What the hell were you thinking?" for openers perhaps. Or, one of my favorites was always "Is there a brain inside that thing sitting atop your shoulders?" That one is one Dr. Phil probably would frown on as it does maybe give the kid a lower feeling of him/herself on the self-esteem totem pole. But heck, how else are you supposed to ask if the kid THINKS about anything being done before hand for possible consequences?
So for now, I'm still sitting here, thinking about all the events of this week and wondering how I should have handled this or that, how I could have raised this kid to be the perfect poster child so many of my friends seem to have been able to produce.
But then too, I stop and think hmmm - this or that person may THINK their child is the perfect little angel but I know that kid did this or does that and it may not be exactly kosher - especially if the parent knew or even acknowledged that the child has that behavior too!
Right now, I think I'll take and accept my son, both my daughters and my grandkids now too - just as they are - good, bad and sometimes, ugly - but still I love 'em! May not like what they do all the time, I may downright despise, hate what they do at times, but regardless, I always have, always will still love 'em!
Now, if I can get them to do the same for me, maybe all will be fine and dandy in the end!
You tell me!