Just recently I was sitting in an airport and was jolted out of my seat by a guy screaming. I thought he was being attacked, but it turned out he was doing the attacking, his little daughter being the recipient. There has to be no greater shame put on a child than being openly berated and humiliated in front of hundreds of people. I had to count to ten--I was that close to ripping him a new one, but that would have made me no better than him. Now, I don't know what the kid did, nor do I know the history of the dad and his outburst, but it didn't look like the behaviour of a person who knows how to count to ten himself. We've all done it, parents that is, been up to our eyes in stress and let rip. I know I've had moments with my own in a public place where I'd hoped the ground would open and swallow me. There is a great part of Louis CK's act where he says ~
“I really think it's crazy that we hit our kids. It really is--here's the crazy part about it. Kids are the only people in the world that you're allowed to hit. Do you realize that? They're the most vulnerable, and they're the most destroyed by being hit. But it's totally okay to hit them. And they're the only ones! If you hit a dog they will put you in jail for that”
He is absolutely right. Watch any TV show, movie, YouTube clip, and people are pretty much more offended and outraged by animal cruelty than the plight of disadvantaged kids all across the world. What is happening to us? Don't get me wrong. I am privileged to know great parents that inspire me to be the best dad I can be, but holy moly, there are some awful people too--parents who treat their kids as their own personal stress ball. I heard a great sermon this summer in Appleton, WI, and the pastor, Brian Dainsberg, was preaching about parenting to the hearts of kids. That line stuck with me, parent to their hearts. Kids' hearts are the purest places I know-full of wonder, joy, and happiness. Remember when you were little and your mom made your favourite dish, or your dad told you how he was proud of you? Man, that unbridled joy still resonates with us 'cause let's face it, we spend our lives looking for approval. If the ones who brought us into the world and are supposed to protect us and love us more than anyone else, the ones that guide and anchor us, if they don't love us back the same way....... it's too hard to even write the thought.
I believe in getting inside the world of my kids and adapting to how they feel, not how I feel. I want to adjust my life to theirs and get involved in their lives. I am not a big football fan but I sure love having a kick-around with my boy. If I am consistent in setting boundaries for them, then they will respect my rules and decisions without me ever having to discipline them harshly. Kids are our future and to quote Maria Montessori ~
Children are human beings to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of their innocence and of the greater possibilities of their future.”