Comment Of The Day
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Monday, July 6, 1998

Parental Oversight.

Now here's a topic. If you begin the discussion with the thought that it is first, last, and always our example that our children follow, then you already know that it's not what we say that they should do, it's what we do that they do. Now, that is a scary thought, is it not? Our children follow our example.

They start out innocent and willing enough. But how do they end up? It's up to us. It's true for single and double parents. It's what we say that they hear, but its what we do that they know.

How did we end up? Take a look and compare...

Do we argue too much? Watch too much television? Waste a lot of time? Drink? Smoke? Worse? Think about the opposite sex too much? Too little? Party too hardy? Don't read and kearn new things enough? Shirk responsibility?

Do you wonder what they are doing when you're not watching? Well, what are you doing when no one is watching?

Many times, when children get in trouble, and it can be anything from drinking at a party to something far, far more serious, their parents express surprise to the authorities. "We had no idea," is a constant comment. Another common response to official intervention is outrage and defensiveness. Sometimes parent take or threaten to take ven legal action to block punishment or to stop their child from getting a "police record." From cheating in school to even just getting a bad grade, parents tend to react vicariously as though it is an attack on them: their conduct, their intelligence, or their quality as parents. And guess what? It is. But, as if they really think that by erasing the evidence or the "record," and making everything "look good" they can erase the real problem; the noumenon, if you will.

In their frantic effort to maintain fiction as reality, it is truly as if they knew all along, it's not the children, it's really us, their parents.

I have been at parties where everyone is drinking way too much, and in the middle of the reverie, drunken parents call somewhere to check on their children, affirming "parental oversight."

It's as if they knew that their example might be spreading.

So, today, strive to be a truly good example, be a truly good parent. Especially when no one is looking. Remember, this is much easier said than done. And most days, far more is said than done in all regards, but especially in parental oversight. Like charity, parent oversight begins at home. The home where the kids are alone, but the home where you, Mom and Dad, live. In your hearts, in your heart of hearts. Do the right thing, not the easy thing. Put your own children first ahead of yourself, set the example you wish you had seen. Be the change, as Ghandi had it, that you want to see.

It's never too late to start loving well. The Chinese have a saying, The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is right now. That's exactly the same way you should look at good loving and good parenting. It's never too late to start doing the right thing. Never ever. Let your children be your guide.

See you. Next time?

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