Whether we go to church or not, we have all come to know that the Bible does not ask of us to be perfect and that we have all fallen short of God’s Glory. It is a little bit ironic, among other things, when we justify bad parenting by saying nobody is perfect or show me one perfect parent. The choice is not between perfect parent and crappy, horrible, irresponsible parent.
As parents we have a complete responsibility towards our children and that is to ensure that firstly, they are loved and wanted since they did not ask to be here. Then we have to provide for them the things and situations that will allow them to evolve into responsible and caring adults, at least until they reach the age of majority which is eighteen years according to the statutory requirement.
Children can do without a lot as long as they are loved, cared for and acknowledged so it is not enough to say there was no money, so better could not have been done. Children know more than we like to admit and they absolutely know whether or not we did our best with what we had.
We cannot raise our children in fear by beating the crap out of them, ridiculing them, play one against the other, devoid of encouragement and generally make the child a stranger in the family and then say oh well, nobody is perfect. That is bull crap!!! Sure, nobody is perfect but it doesn’t mean everybody gets a pass.
So when does the responsibility begin? It begins the moment we make a decision to have sex, and remember we can say “NO” after which it becomes rape.
Sadly, in our day no one thought it was prudent to give us the ‘birds and the bees’ speech (some of us) and the acceptable justification (or unacceptable depending on your perspective) has always been that it makes parents or would-be parents, uncomfortable. People should not be uncomfortable to talk about such an important topic which gives rise to much pain and suffering to children for whom no preparation had been made.
Sure many of us are able to recover and learn from the first experience but others of us never did and became nightmare parents which many children struggle to escape from their entire lives even as adults.
Growing up in dysfunction when all kinds of abuse were the order of the day, we should love our children enough to not want them to have the same cruddy experience. Even if we do not know how, just doing the opposite of what was done to us could give our children a better experience. And if there is no opposite, just don’t do it. Don’t do anything that would be demeaning, soul shattering, annihilate self-worth … just don’t do it to your children. Don’t do it!!!
Saying all of that, God gives us forgiveness which my favourite explanation is, and I am loosely quoting Oprah who is my favourite unofficial mentor, forgiveness is accepting that the past could not have been different … something like that and she probably got it from someone else which might not matter too much as long as we get it and I think I did.
But don’t wait on these parents to ask for forgiveness … they might not and the great thing is they don’t need to because they have not evolved enough yet to know what they did was wrong or mature enough to accept culpability, but you the aggrieved child need to accept that the past could not have been different and move on if you must. Great if you can continue to associate with those who have caused you the greatest hurt, but if you can’t then moving on might be best for your sanity.
Whatever else we are, when we have been the very best parents that we could be, our children know and they give it back to us unconditionally.
Children know more than we credit them for, even the smallest of the lot.