Teach Your Children Better Than Well
I attribute this entry to “They Call Me Jane“, whose post had huge impact for me. She has a great perspective on the Tyler Clementi death last week.
I read her post and sat with it for awhile. Given some peace and quiet to think it over as a parent, it began to disturb me more and more.
I thought to myself, is there a parent in the world who held his child for the very first time and didn’t have a wave filled with emotions of “endless possibilities and bright futures” wash over them? No matter how messed up your own life might be, no matter what your problems were at the time? Whether it was a bitter-sweet wave or a heart gushing wave? Does it really matter if you are religious, atheist, republican, football fan, white, purple, alcoholic, first time parent or 18th time parent? Does it matter really what your idea of a bright future is or what possibilities you’d like them to reach for? What parent does not feel incredibly “hopeful” for their child?
Think of the most evil parent in the world. Pick your most infamous. Is it possible they didn’t feel that passion in some way? Even as chemically imbalanced as that parent may have been?
I can’t imagine…and hope I never HAVE to feel the amazing devastation of something as awful as your son jumping off the George Washington Bridge to escape the tormented feelings he was living with. That bright future and sea of possibilities…..lost in a river.
I can’t image either…and hope I never HAVE to feel the amazing devastation of being the parent of a child that saw nothing wrong with airing something so utterly personal and private to potentially millions of people. For my child to be the cause of so many people’s pain. For my child to rob other people of their bright future and possibilities…mine as well as his own.
Does this not scare you as a parent? You can have all the lifestyle awareness, racial and religious acceptance and socioeconimic equality you want….but it is worth ZERO if you don’t set good examples for your child.
Think of how you handle things like road rage. Seemingly harmless non-politically correct remarks and jokes. How do you handle invasion of privacy at home. How do you handle gossip? Do you bully your own child and chalk it up to parenting?
Here’s a perfect example: You hear a parent call their child “stupid”. Belittle him in front of onlookers. As an onlooker you are embarrased for the kid, but you say nothing and keep on walking. Do you not think that child will now go out in the world and think nothing of calling another child “stupid”. Once it’s out of his mouth…he now feels superior to the person he put down. He now feels better about himself in a very unhealthy way.
Did you get the point I am making?
It is so incredibly sad to think that had Tyler Clementi NOT jumped off the bridge, very few people (in the scheme of things) would have been exposed to his situation. Because he killed himself…….he has become an alarm clock to the world. WAKE the fuck up.
There isn’t a parent in the world who couldn’t change something about how they ‘parent’. Not even me..and I think I’m a pretty awesome mother.
Blah blah blah…open minded thinking, equality, awareness, this ribbon day, that ribbon day. It’s completely meaningless and ineffective if you don’t teach your children better than well.
Getting off my soap box now….