My daughter, Pebbles, is four years old and still believes (*ahem…knows) that her daddy, me, is the STRONGEST MAN IN THE WORLD. Who am I to tell her otherwise. A couple days after she said this, I saw yet another fight among players in an NBA game while watching ESPN. What do these two events have in common? To me, the correlation is simple: to my four year old, I AM her role model, and I am trying my best to be the right example for her. It is important to me to continue to be that role model for her. Pro players, whether they are a good role model or not, should not be your child’s role model. To me, this is just parents being lazy, like having the TV babysit your own children (which I know I do at times).
I shouldn’t be so hard on professional athletes, they ARE just children. They are someone else’s child. Why would I expect them to be able to set an example for my kids when they are only children themselves. I’m 30, and I still worry about being the right example for my kids as they grow, so why would I want them to loom up to someone else’s child who doesn’t have any stake in the successes or failures of my kids? I value education as a third-generation college grad and a 2nd-generation post-grad, but these kids come out of college with barely more credits than if they went to a community college and someone hands them a multimillion dollar bonus check.
I wish I could say that it is an age thing and that they will grow wiser with age, but Brett Favre dismissed that argument this past year. Who, in their right mind, send a picture of their old, greying, receding-hairlined, loose-skinned JOHNSON to a beautiful young woman and think that is all it takes? So, maybe i shouldn’t pick on pro players, because their profession is to play, so I shouldn’t expect too much out of a business that does not encourage it’s employees to act with character and integrity.
I’m not even going to talk about musicians or actors, because that is too easy, so I’ll mention politicians. [sigh] Now that I think about them, they upset me as well. Here is a group of delinquents who shoot a whole in my previously mentioned notions of education as a value and proves that it doesn’t provide for better role models. Politicians, are notoriously just as bad. And why is this? What makes celebrities so out of touch with reality? And why would we want our children to look to them for examples? They typically come from two different backgrounds; one is in the business of producing revenue and entertainment, and the other is in the business of governing the land.
What bothers me most about politicians is that what I feel towards them doesn’t come from watching tripe news or doing research, but from personal experience. I was fortunate enough to witness first-hand how a politician become blinded to the reality around them in an attempt to “stand for values” and win voter approval across several value sets. What comes of a person whose business is to be a people-pleaser but they don’t realize it?
All this to come back to my original question: who is your child’s role model? And why would you let someone else steal that level of influence in their life from you?
Join in the discussion…
This post will show the way my head works; I find obvious and obscure correlations and connections between things. Much like my parenting tips as Sports Analogies post (which were obvious), I like to find ways to relate anything to anything else. It is one of my strengths as a Special Education teacher, and I like to see the wheels begin to turn as skillA relates to activityB. It is also what made me an above-average used car salesman (yeah, I was one once).
I was thinking about roles of those in authority and how we as parents teach these roles to our kids. One way or another (it took me a while, and I don’t really remember how) I started thinking about military tactics and parenting tactics. Then I began thinking about the different roles soldiers play in war, and how it relates to the type of parenting we do at times. The following list is what I came up with:
BOMBER PILOT: Heavy-handed disciplinarian, when you’re around. Your kids know your name, but refer to you as The Hammer. You swoop in at the end of the day to dole out punishments with harsh precision because the ground forces (see GRUNTS) called for reinforcements. May be the style of the executive parent, or you will see this in a single-income home. “Wait ’til your father/mother gets home.”
BUFFALO SOLDIER: Parents who succeed despite everything. Socio-economic status, community environment, single parent, divorce, traumatic event, etc do now deter this parent from giving their child ALL they can. They are the exception to the rule, and do not conform to the statistics. Their child may be the first in their family to go to college.
ENTRENCHED SOLDIER: Stuck in a stalemate. Unable to see what’s coming. Unwilling to give ground. Shooting blindly at issues that do not relate to what their kids are dealing with. Feel as if they are going nowhere, but are afraid to try something new.
GRUNTS: Put in the hard work of parenthood. They are the first to get up and have everything ready in the morning, and the last to sleep at night once everyone is fed, clean, and happy. Some Stay-At-Home parents may feel like this, or like they are trying to take the beach at Normandy every morning.
KAMIKAZEE PILOTS: Parents who seem to sacrifice their own life and happiness to be parents. Abandon all for the title and status of parent. They forget personal hobbies, or interests, and their whole identity becomes that of So-and-So’s parent.
THE SABOTEUR: Parents who either knowingly or unwittingly undermine their child’s ability to be successful. A parent who is an enabler. Some kids who receive special education services may not have internal disabilities, but disabling parents.
THE SNIPER: A master of working behind the scenes. They recognize possible issues before they arise, plan to have themselves in a position to have it in their sights, and deals with the issue quickly so that it doesn’t grow out of proportion, or seem like an issue at all.
TUSKEGEE AIRMEN: when a child has an extended household devote to their success through life. This may be actual family members assuming partial responsibility of raising the kids, or friends and community members making sure all kids show respect and are safe.
So, this is what came out of my head. Are there any I missed?
I am doing my best to want to set a time to meet with my mother. I should want the opportunity to rebuild a new relationship with her on my own terms, but I’m not. Is it because the hurts are too deep? No. Is it because the betrayal is unforgivable? No. Is it because I’m waiting for an apology or for her to know how much she hurt me? No. Then why? The answer to this is easy: I’m happy. I’m happy, and it took removing her from my life to achieve it. So, then the question becomes, “Why would I risk letting her back into my life?”
I found an old journal entry from the week after my 23rd birthday, when I was only one month into not speaking to my mom.
Journal Entry from 7 years ago:I received a card from my mother saying exactly what is wrong in our relationship. She said simply, “We’ll never let go.” To me, that is the problem. They are not allowing me to do what all men are supposed to do; leave his mother and his father, and cleave to his wife. They do not realize that love doesn’t hold tight, love lets go. Love is not selfish, love lets us go and learn who we are. Love doesn’t dictate to us who we are or should be. Love isn’t boastful, but they chose to take all the responsibility for the good in my life. They want to tell me what my struggles are and are not. They want me to be their little boy forever. I get no credit for growing to where I am. The people who should see my growth don’t.The call me childish and they call me immature. If I am immature and not a man, then define maturity and what it means to be a man! […] If we want to hold the past over someone, theirs is the marked past that needs to be confronted, dealt with, and accepted. Their disrespect for my future wife is their way of choosing not to be a part of our lives. I won’t be around someone, or ask my future wife to be around someone who will not respect us.
It reminded me of what I was feeling and thinking at the time. Seven years and one month since that entry and I’ve only seen my mother twice in person. However, we’ve been exchanging texts for the last month about meeting up again.
I wish this was some kind of accomplishment, but the person texting me sounds like the same person I removed from my life sever years ago. Do I really want to open Pandora’s Box hoping that the world doesn’t end this time? A main hesitation is that I don’t want to meet with her without a plan for what I want to say. However, the more I think about it, the more I realize that I have nothing to say to her. So where does that leave me.
I am in the middle of the longest conversation I’ve have with my mother I the last 5 years. It’s been longer, I’m sure, but I’m giving a conservative estimate. This conversation, however, has only consisted of less than 10 texts back and forth. That’s how little I’ve been able to, or had to say. Thank goodness fir the march or time, I think I can actually remain calm and unemotional (or at best, keep my emotions in check). I’m curious to see what comes of this exchange between us, but I’m not holding my breath.
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