Raising Them Right

Parenting is such a mixed experience, filled generally with equal measures of joy, worry, pride and fear. Some time long ago little lives were entrusted to generally confused, but eager, parents who had to learn how to raise children on the fly. Indeed, it has been remarked by a wit that children are better at making adults out of their parents than parents are in making adults out of their children. It is not yet clear how successful my children have been in this effort .

Although parents play an important part in child rearing, we all learn too soon that too much of children rearing is a competition and struggle between parents and the popular culture for the attention of children.

As much as we would protect our charges, real life often interferes on parenting in unexpected ways. Children are blessed with different talents and parents have to adapt to these needs. Thought children complain about things not being fair, in order to do justice to your children they have to be treated differently. As life further intrudes, we have to guide children through stress, illness, and sometimes tragedy.

Through it all, thoughtful and anxious parents are continually concerned whether they made the right decisions on behalf of their children. Did we send them to the right schools? Did we help them choose their friends properly? Have they received the appropriate spiritual instruction? Have we nurtured the right values? What kind of people have our children become?

Fortunately, everyone now and then, in an unexpected moment and in unexpected ways, we get small reassuring window into our children’s lives. I walked by my daughter’s room while she was typing up an assignment on her computer while watching television. OK. OK. I know perhaps allowing a television and computer in your daughter’s room is irresponsible. Mark me down two points as a parent. I will beat my chest twice chanting, “Mea culpa. Mea culpa. Mea culpa.” But what was she watching? Was it some show on the WWB network designed to convince young girls that they all need to be model-thin and sexually promiscuous? No, she was watching the sixth game of American League Championship Series between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.

What more could a father want than a daughter with discerning tastes in television viewing habits and a deep and abiding commitment to root against the New York Yankees? It warms one’s heart to realize that my daughter has grown into such a fine young lady.

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