Not Your Children

January 12, 2009
By Carly Jackson, Sussex, WI

With flailing limbs, tightly shut eyes, a wide open mouth, and a red face, the screaming four-year-old boy is carried out of the grocery store. Lately, his mother is loath to take him out in public. The nefarious tantrums occurred regularly. The mother asks their neighbor and friend to scrutinize the child’s behavior, for her attempts to settle his anger were ineffectual. She doesn’t recall her two sons acting this way when they were four. Society tells us the parents are not doing their job. A 10-year-old cheats on his science test. Society tells us the parents are not doing their job. A teenage girl steals a diamond ring from her friend’s mother. Society tells us the parents are not doing their job.

An astute lyricist shared wisdom about the parent/child relationship, “They come through you, but they are not from you. And though they are with you, they belong not to you.” It’s a village’s duty to love and support a child. Nurturing the child to have strength and individuality is important. Expecting them to share their parent’s thoughts and views can cause a child to lose who they are. When a child solicits guidance, parents and neighbors step in telling them what’s right and what’s wrong.

We are on the earth to learn and experience. The right decision for the parent may not be the child’s path. “Your political views are vexatious,” mumbled the teenager, “I don’t agree with you and dad.” A child who has the strength to break away and be who they are means successful parenting. It means the village is doing their job.
We blame the parents for their children’s mistakes. We credit the parents for their children’s successes. A parent brings their child into the world. The child’s life belongs to them. An amicable settlement is not for the parents to be responsible. The child is responsible. Power to the world’s children.

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