It tough being a parent. I don’t care how “good” your kids are or how well you did with them, there is always something that comes up that between a parent and child that causes the parent to age visibly. You know you’ve seen it happen, even if it hasn’t happened to you.
Take for instance the parents of Abby Sunderland and Jessica Watson. These parents are expressing absolute faith in their children and the lessons they grew up with. Sure in this age of technology, they are never really alone, even when they are in the midst of the ocean, but no amount of preparation can prevent to natural worries of a parent, even the previous experience of Abby’s brother Zac traveling the in a boat alone safely, is not going to prevent the Sunderland’s from worrying about a second child repeating the process.
Even without extensive studies and observation, parents realize each child is different from the other. They may try to keep things “even”, but preventing one form going to prom at a younger age than the other is just an outward expression of their need to control. It’s strange how people often reign in the very thing they are afraid of. No amount of adjustment in cultural teachings will change the fact that girls need more protection as well, even if it’s only from themselves.
That’s what parents do, you know. They teach us how to care for ourself. That’s more than just how to cloth and feed ourselves. It’s more even than how we fit into the culture around us. It is through our parents that we learn who we are.
Understanding that being and adult means being capable of choosing your behaviors independent of your past (if you abuse your child and use your abusive childhood as your excuse, you are still an irresponsible child), as we develop into adults, we reflect the picture of ourselves that our parents have shown us. As young children we are usually open to all experiences until something happens to cause us to establish boundaries. These things happen from infancy, and cannot be contained. The reason emotional experimentations on human infants is considered immoral is because of the fragile psychology we have. Every factor is considered within a child’s psyche independent of the adult intention.
Even the youngest of children respond to specific individuals in specific ways, as well as to isolation. You don’t have to understand psychology to have a purposeful impact on a child’s psyche. As a pre-school teacher and Taunta, I have had the privilege of years of observation. I am a terrible scientist, however, because I cannot keep from affecting variables, especially when I can see potential for significant immediate impact.
That is likely why I cannot help the accolades for the parents of Abby Sunderland and Jessica Watson. In an age when parents seem to fall into extremes, they have sent their daughters out into the world alone, not because of neglect or inability to direct them any longer, but with a confidence and sensibility that can only be taught through example. At the same time it’s not as though these parents have sent their children off to conquer the world without understanding the balance of consequences, like we have seen with a few heiresses and child-stars. There is a delicate balance between the two where responsibility and compassion dwell, that seems to be exemplified in these young people who, not only are successfully traveling in extreme circumstances, but are making sensible choices. How many “adults” would choose to interrupt their set plan without expressing disgust and anger over having to do so? Most of the examples I have seen have people pushing forward so as to “stay on track” in spite of potential consequences. Every time there is a recall, you have to ask yourself, how many people knew before it became public?
Society does not usually set a good example for our children. That’s why it is so important for us to work harder at it. This means allof us, not just the parents. My Aunts, Uncles and cousins had nearly as much of an impact as the individuals in my home each day. I have an impact on the children I interact with, as do you. Loving a child is the easiest, and the hardest thing we can do. But it’s also the most important.