cultivate (kuhl - tuh - veyt)
v. 1) develop 2) nurture

graft (grahft)
n. 1) transplant 2) bud 3) union

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Flip-Side of the Same Ugly Coin

Last week I mentioned the single mom who cried "foul". Today it's time to talk about when to demand a timeout. While parental overreach is obnoxious, parental under-involvement is a measuring stick for societal failure. 

I'm sure some of you saw that New York City schools will be offering the Plan B emergency contraception to girls as young as 14 years old.* I guess the free condoms weren't proving helpful enough (what with the engineering degrees required to operate them). Did I mention no parental consent is required? Parents were notified of the change and there is an opt-out program. So. That's reassuring...

The big question mark for me is this: When did kids start trusting the "experts" (in this case, the government) more than their own parents? Have we (the parents) become so distant and untrustworthy that the school nurse (who typically knows our children for a mere four years maximum) is preferable for discussing important topics such as sex? We have become far too lackadaisical in our parenting. It's light years easier to entertain my children rather than patiently (and oftentimes painstakingly) discipline and instruct them, all the while doing my best to model righteous living. 

There is a general sense of familial degeneration in our society. I don't think that's news to anyone. A greater number of students are latch key kids, in foster care, coming from broken families and are spending more time with friends on social networks than those with whom they share a home. Parents have given up on the idyllic family dinners from Leave It To Beaver

This degeneration has paved the way for other authorities to become the parent. It's doing society no favors in the long run. We should get riled up at the thought of "experts" mentoring our children. We should be indignant when teachers, pediatricians and therapists impose their beliefs upon our children. Sports coaches need to stick to their game plans and leave the parenting to us. Don't get me wrong. There will always be a few kids who need someone besides their parents to step up and parent them. I know a family who has for all intent and purposes adopted a former student. Sometimes it is necessary, but it should be the exception, not the norm. I also recognize that parenting is exhausting and am by no means suggesting we not seek help and encouragement (as well as offer help and encouragement). However, I am suggesting we reclaim family dinners, put down the phones and turn off the telly.* It's past time we tune into our children and parent them in a way that leaves no room for doubt in their minds as to who loves them most and who is the most qualified expert to parent them. I may not have a fancy degree, but I should darn well know my kids better than the school nurse knows them.

If I've learned anything from this ugly coin it is this: I must be extremely proactive in this endeavor called "parenting", because there is a laundry list of experts lined up for my job. 

Stay Strong,

*If you so choose:
**No, I'm not British, but "telly" is just so fun to say. Also, I'm serious about that whole dinner bit. Takeout is fine! It's the time together that matters, not the food eaten. 


  1. Amen!! I hear so many parents saying that they want to give their kids all the things they never had. My opinion, I want my kids to KNOW that we love them. I feel like that gives assurance that they can come to us with anything, knowing they won't compromise our love and acceptance. Thats the kinda thing I want my kids to have that I didn't.

  2. Oh so very true! This familial degeneration goes back a few generations, I think. It has and still does hurt my heart when I hear people talk about how glad they are that their children are out of the house (at school or activities or even day care) so that they can *finally* get something *worthwhile* done. Sadly, I know grandparents who are glad to be distant from their grandchildren, too. Thanks for taking a strong stand!!!

  3. A lot of parents find it well nigh impossible to be the kind of parents you suggest for many reasons:

    1. They need two incomes. It's not easy to say "no" to your child who wants to play a sport or participate in a school activity because it's not in the budget.

    2. They had poor role models. We're on the second and third generation here of kids whose parents and grandparents were not the kind of parents you and Timothy are.

    3. There is increasing social pressure to entrust our kids to experts. In some cases, the government may begin legal proceedings against parents who get out of line.

    Certainly parents must take their share of the blame, but they are often facing a daunting array of challenges they are ill equipped to handle. So along with the help and encouragement, perhaps a certain amount of activism is also in order.

  4. It may be hard to say "no" but if the sole purpose for a second income is to provide funds for activities, I take issue with that. I feel a whole other blog post coming on. :)
    The lack of role models and activism is exactly why I believe Christians need to step it up and work to equip families.
    As we continue to rely so heavily on the experts, we continue to lose more parental rights. We need to continue to fight back on this issue.


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