I never thought parenting would be easy, but I sure didn’t think it would make me want to shake the living hell out of one of my kids. I say that because sometimes it seems that they lack the common sense I hope for them to have. I also say that because they often say something snotty to me when I ask them what I consider to be a simple question, or because when I try sharing something with them by way of what I’ve learned during my brief fifty years on this earth, they get major attitude. I mean, hey! I have some serious experience under my belt, that happens to be quite varied and not of the common variety for a man of my education and status.
Nevertheless, shaking the hell out of one of them, my little one in particular is how I felt one morning while dropping her off at the bus stop before school. I wanted to, but didn’t. But I really wanted to. Even if I had I’m not sure she would have listened anyway. I mean this child has got more fire than spit, and when she spits, whoever is in range had better run. I suppose the main reason I didn’t shake her – besides not wanting to be brought up on child abuse charges – was that for a long time, I’ve been trying to avoid being my parents (well at least my Mom). I didn’t smack or threaten her with a spanking, and I didn’t push the point of what I was trying to get across because I didn’t want her to have a bad day in school.
Instead I retreated. I let her revel in her smirkiness. I let her win. Yes I was hurt, and yes I was a bit put off that this creature whose picture I look at think how angelic to me, was becoming a demon, but like I said I let it ride, kissed her goodbye when she said, “Bye, Baba. The bus is here,” and drove myself to work a little heartbroken and dejected.
I’m proud of my kids, as any parent would be, and especially proud that my youngest has a strong will and personality. With that said, I sincerely hope that she will use that strong will for good and continue to make me proud. I hope that when restraint is necessary, that she will see the value of losing one battle so that a greater one can be fought. I know that I will not get a call from a teacher telling me that she has mouthed off to them, because even though I showed restraint on this day, she and I know that my wife and I have raised her better than that, and to be honest, I think she knows that daddy would probably be put in shackles if she messed up in that way. When I was a kid, the goal was to never embarrass your family. The goal was to never make them feel less than by your tomfoolery. Somehow, that code has fallen by the wayside and kids today don’t care if they embarrass themselves, their family or anyone else for that matter.
Now I don’t know all of the particulars of the young woman in South Carolina who was manhandled by the school security officer. However, I do know that all of the truth is not known to the rest of the world, and that much of what was shown, is skewed. I also know that because we are human, we do things that are both good and bad to and for each other. I know that what you do in one particular instance can make or break you, and that whatever you do, makes you a candidate for having to deal with the consequences.
People think that they are without fault because they are liberal, conservative, black, white, latino or whatever, you are not without fault. Your title or whatever you call yourself doesn’t save you from the stupidity that you sometimes do, or save you from the stupidity that others may sometimes perpetrate against you. You are human and you will falter, and you will excel. So maybe this time I was right to resign myself from shaking the hell out of my child, or maybe I wasn’t. Only time will tell, and I hope that through all of my parenting moments I have made her aware that sometimes looking weak is the greatest show of strength.