During the course of the week, our local paper posed a question in its parent blog: should you ever discipline someone else's children? Some of the answers posted surprised me.
There were the standard, "Oh, don't you even THINK of speaking to my children" retorts. Of course, I find those who say such nonsensical things are usually the parents of the hooligans in desperate need of a good spanking. Nevertheless, it brought to mind what a different environment my children are growing up compared to my days of yore.
Even though I vowed I'd never say it to my children, here we go...
WHEN I WAS YOUR AGE if we were reprimanded in school we sure as heck didn't run home to tell Mom and Dad how mean the teacher was to us, because we'd get in trouble AGAIN for acting up in class.
WHEN I WAS YOUR AGE everyone was allowed to reprimand us. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, the neighbors, bus drivers, strangers in the market, the dog...you name it. We behaved ourselves because to be scolded by someone other than our parents was literally the kiss of death.
WHEN I WAS YOUR AGE we played outside. With all the kids in the neighborhood. In a huge kickball game. And late in the afternoon we were bored. But we were never allowed inside in front of the television to be bored. Out of this boredom came the most imaginative past times ever.
WHEN I WAS YOUR AGE I had a summer job at age 13. And kept up my chores at home. We didn't spend the summer in camps or chauffeured around from activity to activity (see previous mention of boredom.)
WHEN I WAS YOUR AGE I saw my extended family every Sunday without fail. It was family day. Our cousins blended into one big brother/sister unit and every week we picked up right where we left off the week before. We convened at my grandparents home for lunch and at some point during the Sunday summer afternoon the neighbors would join us on the lawn. These people (for the most part) witnessed my childhood and are still part of my life.
I make sure my children know what the rules of our family and my beliefs are. However, I am grateful for the blessing of the women in their lives who also share their values as well. This community of love surrounding my children provides a loving and nurturing environment to learn there are different strokes for different folks as well as some universal truths that are not just the ramblings of their crazy mother's mind.
As we take time to celebrate Mothers everywhere today, I would like to thank all women who impact children in any way whatsoever. One does not have to give birth to a child to love them; nor does one need to know them intimately to care for them. In looking out and caring for one another we create a more peaceful and loving environment for all of us to belong.
Happy Mother's Day!