Why Don’t Parents Give a Crap Anymore?
It’s absurd to me.
One of my most treasured memories of my sainted father is lying next to him almost every night as we read books together. I can remember his booming voice reading me Dr. Seuss’ “The Foot Book” at 3, “Pilgrim’s Progress” at 6 and “The Screwtape Letters” at 10. I would go on to read those books myself shortly after we had finished them together.
Maybe I was just lucky. My private school education afforded me not only chances others don’t get, but also constant long car rides with my father. Having a man with a master’s degree explain the current events on NPR seems a lot more fruitful than being on a school bus next to the kid who recently captured his 123rd Pokemon.
My dad could identify most classical music within a few measures and knew ever song from the 50’s by heart. I am 100% confident that my father would never had let me listen to a song like “Teenage Dream” no matter how much he might’ve secretly appreciated other things about Katy Perry.
Another memory, from a few months after my father had died, sticks out to me. I was standing in a community bank opening my very own college checking account–which may or may not still be open, what’s the compounded interest on 10 dollars of leftover plasma donation money?
As I stood in line, somewhere between the 3rd and 4th circles of hell, a young girl asked her father what that “big thing” on the wall was. The dad, who had been studying his checkbook, bent down and explained what a clock was, how it worked, and how to tell time. A few minutes later, the little girl got to the front of the line and correctly told the teller exactly what time it was.
How many times have you seen a situation start out exactly like that, but end with a parent hushing their child or simply pretending he or she doesn’t exist?
How can children get to preschool or (worse) kindergarten without being able to read simple words, tell time, spell their name, identify colors, tie their shoes, etc? Moreover, when did it become the teacher’s fault when that same kid is behind months and years later?
I’m not a perfect parent and I’m blessed to be married to one, so this advice is just as much for me as it is for the nameless masses out there: parents, take the time to be parents. Teach your child something new today. If nothing else, teach them that they’re worth your time.