Our three daughters have attended for the most part, private schools.
We have often found this a mixed blessing.
While private education usually offers a wealth of academic excellence, oftentimes it lacks emphasis on the importance and understanding of temperance, along with human responsibility and moral judgment, all of which operate and necessary ingredients in creating a successful life.
The children who taunted the grandmother school bus monitor, Karen Klein, behaved horribly and should be punished.
But just as the American public and the employers of such persons as Don Imus and Roland Martin, both celebrities of the American news media, have not called these men into account for their rude and heartless statements, the disparaging remarks they made of other human beings, so too the officials overseeing the school these children attend have not held the students accountable for their remarks.
It is fine for the grandmother to forgive the children.
But forgiveness does not absolve those in charge and neither us, the citizens of this country from exacting consequences that urge those who misbehave to reflect upon their careless actions that they might in the future act and speak with more forethought and concern.
Often we do not hold our children to task because of the guilt we feel for these children’s behavior.
Society often demonstrates lenience upon African-American children of poverty-stricken areas and who act inappropriately only to exact death sentence upon these same minors when adults and having continued down the trail of established wrong behavior.
We respond similarly to children of Asian and Hispanic immigrants because certain ones in the majority white judicial system want to absolve themselves of the guilt they experience regarding our diverse and hypocritical attitudes regarding immigration and the laws that are almost biased against the immigrants and their families.
The questions of who stays vs. whom we should deport forever plagues us.
And then there are our garden variety parents who come in all ethnicities, races and genders and perhaps sexual orientations–those of us whose marriages, one ever existed, have crumbled leaving the children of that union wondering how they will make it from one moment to the next as we the other casualties struggle to create a new place for ourselves in society as a single parent.
I do not believe that everyone should marry.
Nor do I believe that adults should only conceive children when married.
I do believe that raising and nurturing any child into a healthy, empathetic, loving, responsible and caring adult requires the presence of two adults working towards the united goal of parenting that child.
To paraphrase a former guest on my blog talk radio show, Book Talk, Creativity and Family Matters, author and child psychiatrist, Preethram Grandhi, “Human development involves three lines of development–intellectual, instinctual and psychological. While the three address separate and distinct areas of function in human living, their functions overlap. Problems in the intellectual growth of a child inevitable affect psychological growth. Underneath the two former exists instincts. Like the march of the penguins in Antarctica, certain growth points exist in the life of a child. The child, to gain the skills necessary for functioning and thriving in the world as an adult must make these leaps in growth. They do this only with the parents assistance. Parents may do whatever we choose, live and work as single parents, divorce, etc. Yet it remains our responsibility to help our children, our offspring, those children in our and who have been placed in our care, to make these leaps in growth that present themselves at the appointed times in all human beings.”
Preethram Grandhi is the author of A Circle of Souls, and with Balasa Prasad, co-author of The Turning Point: Conquering Stress with Courage, Clarity and Confidence
We would do well to remember that not only is the home the first laboratory of a child’s learning, the place of investigation wherein remembrances of the experiences she or he undergoes will remain with her or him the rest of their lives.
Our job as parents is to assist our children in their efforts to embark upon what can be termed their March of the Penguins, that of entering life, and like the emperor penguins of the Antarctic, completing repeated journeys across the icescape of their living in the larger process of becoming full productive citizens who hold empathy and caring for themselves, that translates into mercy, concern and caring for others with whom they live and work.
Tags: Balasa Prasad, Book Talk, bullied school bus monitor, child and adolescent psychiatrist, Circle of Souls, Clarity and Confidence, Conquering Stress with Courage, Creativity and Family Matters, Don Imus, emperor penguins, Karen Klein, march of the penguins, Preethram Grandhi, Roland S. Martin, The Turning Point