“The fight for you is all I’ve ever known…so come home.”
Okay, so it’s been predominantly an internal fight—but a fight’s a fight, right? Too much rhyming for the mood I’m in.
People don’t give kids enough credit. They think that because their brains aren’t working at full capacity, they can’t interpret the world around them; they can’t understand fully what an adult says to them; they can’t understand the difference between being treated well and being neglected. For those naïve parents out there reading right now, you’ve been dead wrong since Day 1. Your kids notice anything and everything.
Kurt Vonnegut made an excellent point about children in saying, “They aren’t moving hand-carved animals on and off a Noah’s Ark, believe me. They are spying on real grownups all the time, learning what they fight about, what they’re greedy for, how they satisfy their greed, why and how they lie, what makes them go crazy, the different ways they go crazy, and so on” (Mother Night, 265).
Do you really think that shutting a wooden door mutes the fighting? Do you think kids don’t pick up on your hateful eyes reflecting in the rearview mirror? Did you miss those things as a kid? Because that would be the only way you could think your children wouldn’t notice the same treatments. How do you think they developed facial expressions? They don’t just come from nowhere, it’s called mimicking, and every species from the idiotic fruit fly to the great blue whale learns from what they observe.
But I digress. A little.
What I don’t understand is how parents can expect their kids to grow up sane and well rounded when they themselves don’t show the kids two cents worth of respect growing up. If you blow your kid off when they’re eight years old, what do you expect them to do when their eighteen years old? If you yell at them for speaking their minds at ten years old, do you expect them to want to open their mouths at twenty? Logic would tell you, no. But somehow, you expect different results.
When you say you’ll call, you better make damn sure you call. And if you don’t, don’t expect the same courtesy in return. Because trust me, people are only as disrespectful as the person who disrespected them the most as a child. There’s a little food for thought. Instead of focusing on how you treat people on a day-to-day basis, let’s focus on how we treat our youth…because then maybe, just maybe, we can breed a generation of kids who won’t want to cut each other’s throats, drop bombs on complete strangers, and who have the guts to call their fathers when they can’t attend a holiday dinner without fearing a confrontation from a couple hundred miles away.
But I digress again. A little. At least we’re making progress on the frustration front.
Ooh, maybe that could be the new nickname for the “War on Terrorism”. Sidenote: Now that we’ve destroyed a country from their infrastructure, out, how does that not make us the terrorists…since that’s what we were ‘trying’ to prevent them from doing in the first place?
My point is, kids internalize everything about their surroundings. If their environment is nurturing, they most likely won’t turn out to be baby-killing animal torturers….to a certain degree. Of course each person has the capability to be a good or bad person, but in general the way they are raised dramatically affects how they turn out as an adult.
“Hopefully the hate subsides and love can begin…and maybe I’ll just dream out loud until then.”
So, now that we’ve covered the nature versus nurture argument (a little), let us turn to the affects of such treatment. It’s really quite simple.
If you’re not around, and you don’t care…don’t expect them to be around and to care once they’re capable of making their own decisions. You only have so much time to repair the pain and fear you’ve instilled in a child’s eyes…before they’re so far jaded by the world they don’t know who they can rely on.
If you have daughters, you better hope they find a man who can give them what you didn’t and protect them from all you let them encounter. And if you have sons, you better hope they somehow learn how to treat the women they’re meant to protect.
Subliminal message: If you don’t want to be a parent, don’t have sex. Just whack it at your earliest convenience. Lord knows we don’t need any more bad parents running around with their children on monkey-backpack leashes.
Wow, lots of skeletons in my closet I guess.