Monday, August 20, 2012

As The Cycle Continues

I'm in awe of most parents.  Like, I admire the work that most of them put into raising their children into the becoming the best possible adults.  Even when things don't ultimately go the way they planned for their kids and as hurtful as it may be, I still bow down to the work it takes to raise children. If you are a parent, that seems to be the most important job you'll ever have.

But the operative word was "most."  For as much as I love those parents, I am infuriated by the parents who basically do the absolute least and expect the most kudos. I don't want to offend but as I continue to watch some of the parents in my neighborhood, it weighs on my heart and my brain and I need to speak on it.

On an almost daily basis, when I walk home there are groups of people - men and women - hanging outside and their kids are playing with each other. Sounds good, right, seeing the parents outside spending that time with their kids? Eh, not so much.  These parents are often flat out drunk, smoking blunts and cursing up a storm in front of their own children.  This is at any given time on any given day.  They're hardly watching the kids, as sometimes they're all the way on my end of the block which is almost out of their vision and certainly where someone could easily snatch them.  It's almost like they know they have children but they'd prefer if they just went on and did their own thing.

Last week as I was walking to my building, this lady (she looked about mid-20s) must have been talking about her plans for the next day.  Her son said to her, "Ma, what day am I coming back again?" With an attitude she replied, "You coming back whenever I finish partying!"  I cut my eyes over real quick, saw her with her red Solo cup and a blunt while her son just went off to ride his bike. Maybe it wasn't a big deal to him that she responded like that because its something he's used to or maybe it wasn't even a big deal period but it was pretty telling. She was so dismissive and clear more concerned about her plans for the next night.

That example and so many others make me wonder if these parents on my block and others around the world are continuing a cycle or if they're starting one.  From the outside looking in (and I want to be clear that I'm on the outside looking in - been looking for about six years now), it would appear that these kids are growing up with an adult in the house but not a real parental figure. Almost all of them are very "forceful" in their tone and discipline so that the kids know who is in charge but what does it matter?  There don't seem to be any real examples being set. If that's the case, what are the children to go on as they grow into adulthood?  What positive examples will they be able to follow?  Sure, at some point all adults have to figure out their lives despite what they were shown as children but that is very hard. 

When you have kids, you take on that role and despite all of our numerous opinions, I'm sure that role doesn't include being drunk and smoking blunts in front of them on the regular nor does it include cursing them out all the time.  As I reflect on this, I just hope that all kids find positive role models at some point whether they or in or out of the home.

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