I was ranting about something or other that drove me crazy about a new mother, or her kids, or a whole world of entitled people—something that has continued to bother me lately—when a co-worker asked me:
“Yeah, but why do you care?”
That stumped me for a little while. OK maybe a few seconds-before I spoke, and then I don’t know if the co-worker understood where I was coming from. Sometimes I’m pretty opinionated (OK most of the time). But, I’d like to ask: “If things don’t seem to be working out with a method that they are using, why can’t they see that? Why can’t they change how they do things? And, why are they afraid to ask for help? Do they not know that they need help?
Why does it take everyone so long to admit that it’s just not working?
My co-worker then stated, “You don’t know what their lives are like. They’re working or they’re single parents. They have too much on their plate. They’re busy.”
So I thought about it some more as to why I cared about other peoples’ lives. I care because it affects my life. For example, when I go to events for my child, I see chaos. No one has a good time because these other parents’ kids are screaming, or running around, and no one is doing anything about it. They don’t feel they have to. They don’t watch their little star on the stage. They’re too busy letting the siblings wreak havoc. These parents are on their phone, talking to their friends (rather loudly), texting, tweeting. They are not paying attention. And, they don’t see anything wrong with this…… Sigh. Maybe it’s just me? The same holds true for shopping, eating out at restaurants, and going to movies, or any other public event. What happened to discipline? What happened to ground rules? Why are we so busy making friends with our children and not enforcing some rules?
So I say: “We gotta look at why we are so busy all the time.
Are we such media consumers that we forget to look up and see what’s going on with our kids and our families? Are we so immersed in media and electronics that we can’t focus and contemplate a thought for more than a few seconds? Are we well-informed by the media, or are we allowing ourselves to be hypnotized by mass market opinions? Or, is media simply another distraction?
How can we learn to think about things deeply once again? How can we teach our kids how to sit and be calm with so much noise and distraction? How can we learn to trust that we are good parents?
Here are a few ideas I’m working on:
Learn to trust each other and the decisions you make.
Learn to take some time and actively listen to what others have to say without inserting an opinion or interrupting each other.
Learn to value life differences, and that doesn’t just mean age.
Learn to value each child you have. Give each one of them a special time with you. Leave the siblings at home or with a babysitter so you can focus on each one on an individual basis.
Learn when it’s time to trust teenagers. Hopefully, you’ve taught them well and can begin to give them more privacy as they get older. But, they have to earn that trust by right action.
I’m still not an advocate of having media in every room. We don’t give our kid a cell phone. We limit the time one each media device and it always comes after homework and chores.
It’s up to us to be the best parent, and mentor, that we know how. And if we don’t know something, we can’t be afraid to go out and learn a new way. We can’t sit back and let things just happen. We have to make it happen!
My advice: Get outside, go for a hike, sit under a tree and think about your life and your kids’ lives!