WHERE HAVE ALL THE GOOD PARENTS GONE?
Legit question, right?
I only ask because I watched some amazing parenting this past weekend, and it just appalls me to see so many others doing such a shitty job of it. Poor manners, inappropriate public behaviors, terrible attitudes, rotten language and lack of respect for authority. Honestly, people. Why did you bother having children?
Too often I look at these people and think to myself “because you were too stupid to use birth control.” Or they listened to a “religious authority” and were told it was wrong to do so.
On that one: are you shitting me? You’re taking family planning advice from some dude that took a vow of celibacy? A dude who belongs to an organization so corrupt that it has spent decades protecting child molesters from prosecution in an effort to cover its own ass?
Parenting takes time and work. A little patience doesn’t hurt, either. It also takes a desire to just do it.
My friends Bill and Holly have exactly that.
This past weekend, they escaped the icy clutches of Indiana and headed out to the Arizona north country. I met up with them for a day of fun and frolic, most of which came from their three amazing daughters. They had triplets eight years ago, and that certainly isn’t an easy thing. Most people are lucky to find the energy and stamina to keep up with their first child. My friends pulled the lever and it came up jackpot.
Let’s be blunt- if you saw some parents out in public with triplets, you’d probably guess that those were a couple of overwhelmed adults, and that their children would be horrific brats. Most of us would do anything to avoid sitting near them on an airplane, I am certain. But that isn’t the case with Bill and Holly.
These kids? Amazingly well-behaved. They’re polite, inquisitive, and most of all, supportive. They have that special rapport that twins and triplets have, and even though they each have wildly differing personalities, their ability to function as a unit is impressive. Take what happened at lunch, for instance.
We were actually seated at two different tables- adults at one, the kids at the one next to us, about six feet away. Already, that’s a recipe for disaster for a lot of parents. Three kids without an adult sitting there could be an omen for a lot of restaurants- call your insurance agent! But not these three. Their parents have put in the time and effort to teach the girls right and wrong as it pertains to public behavior. They sat there quietly, drawing and coloring, waiting for their food to arrive.
Then, the potential for disaster struck.
A bee landed on one of the girls’ sarsaparilla bottles. But did she freak out and cause a scene? Nope. Instead, the group dynamic kicked in. One of the other sisters took her straw out of her bottle, reached across the table with it, and enticed the bee onto it. Then she got up from the table, slowly walked the bee and straw away from the table, and gently placed it on the ground away from the three of them. No yelling, screaming, or wailing.
I was flabbergasted.
Yet I wasn’t wholly surprised, either. The trio have amazing, committed parents that put in the time and effort to impart proper behavior and values to their kids.
Now I realize that not every kid that acts like an asshole is the product of shitty parenting. There are plenty of mitigating factors that lead kids down the wrong road and thwart the best efforts of their parents to raise them right. Environmental issues, body chemistry issues, simple lapses in judgment… shit happens, and I feel a great swell of sympathy for those parents that have to deal with it.
But let’s also be honest- there are plenty of people that should have never spawned. People that had kids for the wrong reason, people that never really wanted children… we see them all the time. Those people? I don’t feel sorry for them. I feel angry for them, and I feel sad for the rest of us.
Because it is ultimately the rest of us who pay the price. Whether it’s the simple disruption of a meal, or a criminal act against us, we pay for it. Time, tax dollars, patience- there’s a cost to society as pertains to bad parenting.
Folks, here is a simple fact you can take to the bank: planet Earth has plenty of fucking people. We aren’t exactly hurting for population. Growth is continuing at an exponential rate, and resources aren’t keeping up with them. We’re no longer an agrarian society, so you don’t need to knock out kids in order to have free labor to tend the crops. In short, there is absolutely zero reason to have a child unless you really, really want to be a parent. And I mean really want it. You’re ready to give up freedom, you think your genetic code deserves to continue into future generations… whatever. You’re committed to making the time and effort to do the job right.
If not… for fuck’s sake, don’t do it.
Wear a condom (or two). Take the pill. Get a vasectomy. Embrace abortion. OR: don’t fuck anyone at all. Whatever it takes, just be smart about it. The rest of us don’t need the grief caused by your mistakes.