Once upon a time when I was a young girl I remember going to one of my cousin’s house to visit with my family. We seemed to visit them quite often. I remember they had a nice house in a quaint little neighborhood. My sister and I would play with our cousins in the basement where there was an old piano or we would go to the school a block away and have fun on the playground. I remember they always had really cool toys; fun stuff that my sister and I didn’t have.
On one such visit I was so very intrigued by a jewelry box that played music and had a ballerina that twirled, that I took it. Stole the little twirling ballerina off the pedestal and stuck it in my pocket. I knew it was wrong and I had that feeling in my stomach that I shouldn’t have done it. Boy, did I find out how wrong it was and let me just say that feeling got even worse when my mother made me bring the ballerina back and apologize to my aunt and my cousin for taking it. The eighth commandment … “Thou shall not steal”. I still get goose bumps when I think about that learning moment. I hated my mother for making me do that.
Parents teach their kids morals and values at a very young age. I’m not sure at what age children test their boundaries and the authority of their parents. Maybe it is two years old when you tell them not to touch the stove because it’s hot and they look right at you with that shit-eating grin and touch it anyways. Being a parent is not easy. I always wanted to be a cool parent, not like my parents. I wanted my kids to like me. My parents didn’t let me do everything I wanted to do; they didn’t buy me everything I wanted, I didn’t even own a pair of Levi’s until I was a freshman in high school. They made me do chores and work for things I wanted. I do recall a pair of green striped Adidas© sneakers that I got for Christmas in the eighth grade. I loved those sneakers and had them for many years … in fact I think my son wore them out when he was ten years old. He’ll be 24 this year. I’m not sure how old I was when I realized my parents were cool. If parents are doing their job right their kids aren’t going to like them much.
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.
Lessons learned in childhood will last a lifetime. As our children grow up we hope that we have instilled in them our morals and standards by which we live. I have a hard time remembering what it was like to be that age when I didn’t like my parents. I say to my kids, “I was that age once too, been there, done that.” But I think I should just be able to tell them to do something, and they should listen to me and do what I say and that is that. End of story. I forget they have to test the waters just like I did. They will go through the exact same learning process as I did. Would life be easier if everyone just listened to their parents; if we could instill our wisdom in our kids, if our parents could instill their wisdom in us? Our parents are still telling us do this, do that, and we’re still trying to do it our own way. Do people ever really grow up and listen to their parents?
Live, learn, teach. We can only hope for the best for our children, as our parents hope for the best for us. Ultimately we are all held accountable for our own actions.