I know I’m going to get flack for this post; I’m ready for it. I give full disclosure that I’m not a parent, and I won’t pretend that I am one or know a damn thing about rearing a child. But I DO know a thing or two about the real world.
So as I’m checking out at Target I hear two parents talking about their little daughter (who was nowhere to be found). They are discussing how they are so proud she placed 10th in her recent riding competition. How nice and lovely for their daughter.
Considering the line is down-the-aisle-long, I get to spend more quality time listening to these parents gloat to each other about their only child. Come to find out, she placed 10…out of 10…in this riding show. The mom even quips that had there been 11, the daughter would not have placed at all. Adding to this little party is that both parents have their arms filled-to-the-hilt with balloons, cards, a couple Barbies, and one of those Real-Life FurReal Buttercup ponies.
HOLD THE DAMN PHONE.
When did society lose sight of the concept of winning and losing? I’m not saying that you shouldn’t build up a child’s self-esteem by congratulating them when appropriate, but to hold a mini birthday party when he or she comes in last place really puts a bad taste in my mouth. There’s a reason it’s called a competition. It brings to life the concept of losing–something I think is completely lost on children today. No pun intended. Realizing the joy of winning is something that can never be fully grasped if you’ve never experienced loss. Am I right?
Flipping sides we have the family of 4 I encountered in Starbucks yesterday. There was a mom on her phone and her children were behaving so well–patiently waiting in line with their mom, following her as she prepped her drink, and then standing close by silently as SHE sat down to finish her phone call.
In the midst of the call one of the girls bent over to pick up a glove she had dropped, causing a customer to trip and spill a bit of their coffee. In a matter of seconds, the mom is off the phone, screaming at her daughter, and beating the living crap out of her behind IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STORE. I was floored…and I think the other customers were too. The man whose coffee was spilled told the mom it really was not a big deal, but the mother wasn’t having it and continued drill into her daughter the importance of being “present” and “aware”. Talk about an oxymoron to the mother who was just on her phone not giving a second thought to her three children.
The moral of this story:
Parenting scares the shit out of me. How do you marry the concepts of role model and disciplinarian? How do you know you’re acting/reacting in a way that is beneficial to learning? What about teaching kids the value of hard work, but also realizing the joys of life’s simple pleasures? Teaching loyalty, but that being selfless sometimes is good, too?
I give credit to all you moms (and dads!) out there that are forging the path as I type this. It’s one of the most under-valued jobs out there and I give credit to any parent who can wake up each day and know their purpose is instilling values in another human being (or beings). Cheers to YOU!