The Rogue Speaks:
When I lived in Memphis, many years ago, I was good friends with a couple who lived down the street. The woman, Sarah, was sweet and pretty. She had quite a variety of rescued animals that she cared for in their spacious back yard. There were dogs, cats, and even a couple of goats, and a few rabbits. She devoted all her attention to her adopted animals.
The couple had three children--two girls and a boy. The older girl pretty much took care of the younger two, because Sarah was always busy with her pets. Her husband, a prominent doctor, did what he could to help out with the children, but he had a very busy practice, and was pretty much whipped by the time the weekend came around. It was a good thing that he made such a good living, because keeping all those animals was costing quite a bit.
One day, the husband had just had enough. He filed for divorce and got custody of his children. Several months after the divorce, I ran into him and the children at the local children's museum where I had taken my little granddaughter for the afternoon. While the children played on the dinosaur playground equipment, he and I sat on a bench and talked. I asked him what had pushed him over the edge. He was very quick with his response.
"Control," he replied. "Sarah really didn't want to deal with the children, or with me. She just wanted us to do what we were told, and no questions asked. She wanted to be in control, and her animals fit the bill. Dealing with them is, well, it's easier. Animals don't have opinions, don't talk back, and all they want is to be petted and fed. So it was all about control."
I could see where he was coming from with that response. Whenever Sarah "adopted" an animal that turned out to be hard to control, she simply found another home for it. She wanted her life to be "simple." She didn't want any conflict. "How nice for her," I thought to myself. She wanted her "pets" to adore her, no questions asked. And for the most part, they did.
But life is not really like that. As adults, we have responsibility to our progeny. They depend on us to show them just how to live in the real world. If we don't want to live in the real world, and if we always want things to only go our way, we are in serious trouble. Animals are, well, they are just animals. They do not need to know how to complete their homework, drive a car, learn a trade, or graduate from college. They just live to be fed and petted.
Our children want and deserve much more from us. They deserve to learn the rules of life. They deserve to be loved and valued above any animal. They need to be encouraged to become the best and smartest, and most successful person they can be. Of course, if they fight you on this, and are determined to live their lives the way they want to, without any guidance from you, at least you have given them the option.
Feed and pet your cat or dog or your goat, rabbit, pig, or whatever. And for sure, love them. Take them for their shots annually, and don't let them play in traffic. Protect them. As for your children, put them first in all aspects of your life, give them the best that you can possibly give, so they grow up to be upstanding, responsible citizens of the planet--adults who love, study, and learn, and have the desire to achieve far beyond any expectations that you may have had for them.
Are you familiar with the work of Philip Larkin, a british poet? Here is the first stanza of a poem that particularly speaks to me:
"They [mess] you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had,
And leave some special ones for you..."
If you would like to read the rest of this poem, please click on this link:
I wish I had been a better parent to my children. If I could go back in time, and could have heeded the words I have written here in hindsight....
That concludes my offering for Alphabe-Thursday. I may skip next week, so I'll see you next year!!!!!