Families…Are We Hurting or Helping our Children?

Through family we find ourselves as we give and receive support, making one another laugh, and holding one another up in times of despair. Family is important, however some of us are closer and have values that many don’t know of, or maybe only dream of having. No one can predict what a family will entail. I truly believe that it is all in how we are raised. I have values that were instilled in myself that I was fortunate enough to pass on to my two children. I had 6 wonderful role models. My parents and two sets of grand parents that loved me like nothing I ever imagined possible. I was raised to first respect myself and secondly to respect others. We had rules and chores. Today….life has changed and kids are not all as polite as we were and they are lazy. Many don’t appreciate what their parents do for them at all.

Why? Well, parents are too busy to take the time to give their kids the love and show them warmth. Today the day care raises too many children and material possessions and high paying salaries are what are most important to couples, or at least several of them. If you want to live high on the hog and let others raise your kids, why have them? What message does this send? I see kids being neglected, getting into trouble and sitting in front of a television for far too long with an X-Box or some other game for hours on end. Kids are overweight more today than in my era. When I grew up, you didn’t see overweight kids, there were no bullies (maybe a few) and parents did family things together with their kids.We took family vacations and I saw almost every state of the 50 in the USA. My father worked two jobs so that my mother could stay home and raise 3 children. We had to work for what we had, our parents gave us an allowance. Today kids get more in allowance money than I spend  each week for groceries. Hello? What is wrong with this picture?

 We were raised that if you wanted something “you” had to work hard for it, Nothing in life was free. My father used to always tell us that all the time. My siblings and I had to work for what we wanted or we didn’t get it. I didn’t see how differently things were until my daughter was in college in a sorority and I would go to visit her. Going into her sophomore year she was elected as a new members director and she had to live in the sorority house. She was on the go all the time and taking buses and getting rides to various places. I purchased a new vehicle for myself, and I gave her my Jeep Cherokee Laredo. I thought it looked pretty classy, and she was thrilled…until I pulled in next to the Hummers, BMWs, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, etc. What in the world happened? These kids were handed everything……will they learn how to do anything on their own if mommy and daddy pave their way through life? My guess is no, at least not for most. Sad, these are the kids that will lean on mom and dad for years to come not knowing how to take care of themselves, expecting their parents to “fix things” for them. I respect all parents who try….but honestly,….you’re hurting them, not helping them. When I got a good report card, I got a free hamburger at McDonald’s for doing so well, kids today get big gifts and trips. Oh to be young again? I wouldn’t trade my childhood days growing up on Nottingham for anything. Life was simple. I took a ride down memory lane last night after going out for ice cream and everything came pouring back….the love, my parents, grandparents, and the bonds that were formed in our house. I needed that,….sometimes we forget the smaller things in life until we have families of our own. I will forever love and respect my parents.

 Familybrings out the best and worst in each of us. As we yield to and serve others we learn to love them and ourselves in the process. Many of us could never approach this form of selflessness in any other way. There is something about a mother or a father, a son or a daughter. There is a connection there that binds us and asks more of us then we are normally willing to give. When we are true to ourselves and follow our feelings and share openly and honestly with our loved ones we remember why family is important. And we are well rewarded for our sacrifice as it enables us to better appreciate who we are.

 Our families hold the keys to understanding and appreciating ourselves. Who can relate better to us then our own brother or sister that shared so many experiences with us? Who can love us more selflessly then our own mother or father who sacrificed daily for so many years to raise us? The better we understand our parents and siblings the better we understand ourselves. This understanding is most completely achieved as we look to our family’s heritage with the help of our oldest living relatives. By discovering the customs, practices and traditions of our ancestors we uncover truths about our parents and ourselves. We find out how our grandparents treated our parents and so on from generation to generation. We discover the ambitions and fears of our forefathers along with their failures and triumphs. Yes we learn many lessons….some good, some not so good.  In the process of learning our family history we uncover our past, understand our present and shape our future.

 Family is important because we are important and we need a group of loyal supporters. It matters what we think and feel and nobody cares more about us than the members of our families – at least, that’s how it should be and it starts with us. The better we are to our spouses, children, parents or siblings etc. the more they will want to be better to us. When we can count on each other and lean on each other. That’s how  family works. If we waltz in on family when it’s good for us and run out when it’s bad for us then we’re not doing our part and will not find fulfillment there or elsewhere. Family does really matter….perhaps you were not a close family,….I can’t imagine that or how it must be for many people.

Love is the easiest gift to give….start spreading it. Love is free, from the heart, and something that cannot be bought or paid for. Next time your kid says they need a new car or a vacation with their friends or college tuition paid for give them a hug, a smack on the ass and tell them to get a job. They will thank you some day. Mine did. Tough Love? Now that’s a different story….Sometimes being a parent isn’t easy….neither is being awakened in the middle of the night to bail your child out of jail for something stupid that they did either….chances are, they aren’t worried too much because they know mom and dad will come to the rescue like they always do.

When you give give give, you aren’t teaching your children anything at all…you are hurting them. Let them learn and make mistakes on their own. You can’t baby them forever.

 I am fortunate enough to have raised two really great kids who like many were spoiled at times and it was our fault as parents. I admit it, and take responsibility. Although I gave my children whatever I could, being a single mother they also saw the struggling that occurred and financial burdens that I had to deal with and they never lost sight of reality. I suppose that over time I lost sight of the important things trying to keep up with the neighbors and family….the good news is…..and what I learned in the end though was that we were all suffering and we didn’t need the crap! The material things were just that…..”material things” or “stuff.”

 Guess what? Stuff doesn’t tuck us in at night and “stuff” has no feelings. I taught my kids value. They learned the value of a dollar, how to clip coupons, wait for clearance sales, and buy one get one free was all we knew. Divorces are not good, but for us, we were the “triple three” the Musketeers and we survived! Our experience?…….it was an eye opener. I am grateful for the past 13 years and although I suffered through cancer and other painful experiences, all of them combined made me a better woman, a stronger woman, and I am proud to say that I am independent, can stand on my own two feet, am caring, giving and I love my family!

 Get in tune with “your” family….they are the only one you’ve got! Take the time,….make the time! What you do today are the memories that your children will pass on to their family tomorrow.


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