Saturday, June 23, 2007

Parenting: The Not So Simple Life

"Children today are tyrants. They contradict their parents, gobble their food, and tyrannize their teachers."


I love Berkeley sometimes. You can find the most bizarre forms of free of speech. Isn't it wonderful? I spotted this "Free Paris" display last week, while on my travels, and just had to share it. I wonder if the person who put it up was wanting to see the heiress go free because they feel she has served enough time, or if they feel like she has been jerked around by justice a little bit. I have no way of knowing what the thought process was in making this appeal, but I do know how I feel about the whole mess.

I think when she is released on Monday, it needs to be the end of it. I think she has done her time, per the law as it is on the books, and enough is enough. I would like to see something positive come out of it for this girl. I am hoping she will emerge a more mature, and thoughtful human being, and I for one, am willing to give her that chance. So many folks want to hate a celebrity who gets into trouble like this, and those folks always seem to want the book of justice to be thrown at them, seemingly as a punishment not just for their legal misdeeds, but for their lot in life as well. You know... I just don't get it. We all have to play the cards we are dealt. It's not always fair, but it is up to ourselves to make it work, and what they guy next to us has or doesn't have is really none of our business. Drunk driving on the other hand is our business. Punishing Paris Hilton doesn't make the laws on drunk driving tougher. It's up to each of us to demand tougher laws. It's our responsibility.

"No one writes about my charity work, they'd rather write about me dancing on a table, which I have never done."

-Paris Hilton

I wondered sometimes when I saw Paris Hilton in the media how her parents, Rick and Kathy Hilton, must have felt to see their daughter engaged in all sorts of immature and sometimes dangerous behavior. A lot of folks feel that Paris's behavior is their fault somehow. Well, perhaps, but it is difficult for me to blame the parents of a 26 year old woman, for her sins. It's so strange, I was just two years older then Paris is now when I got married. I felt like such a grown up, and yet I had a little more maturing to go. As life goes along, we all learn lessons. Sometimes harsh lessons. One day you wake up, and the whole world will have changed. Like the day when a close friend or maybe even a parent passes away, and suddenly you realize... life isn't forever. Everything can change in a heartbeat.

"When people you don't even know hate you, that's when you know you're the best."

-Paris Hilton

Sometimes, I am so aware of the fact I never had children. I would have loved to have had a child, but I never really felt like I would make a good parent. I didn't want to bring a child into the world because I was lonely or because it was what was expected of me. I used to have a doctor, who asked me on every office visit, "why I don't you have any children." I would sigh, and tell her yet again, the time wasn't right, or because it was my choice not to have children. She would shake her head in disapproval, and go on with whatever reason I had scheduled an appointment with her. I had no desire to tell her I was pregnant once, and lost the baby early on. I hadn't even known I was pregnant. It was just over. I never regretted trying again, but sometimes I wonder what it would have been like to see a little me or a little Alan tiptoeing about the house, however, based on my own experience with my parents, I just didn't feel I would make a good parent.

My heart went out to that couple I heard about yesterday, who regretfully signed the consent forms, for their 16 year-old daughter to marry her 40-year old track coach. Sheesh... that guy needs some serious therapy. Yet at the same time, I will never understand why they caved. That young girl seems to have come from an average, middle class background. She seemed to have two loving parents, who had tried their best to raise their daughter right. By all appearances she was a good kid, who got good grades, and had a bright future in front of her. Her downfall seems to have been meeting that track coach, who in my opinion, corrupted her relationship with her parents.

Her parents signed the consent forms, because they felt they had not option left, after asking repeatedly for help from the the school, the school board, and the law. In the this case, the parents tried all they could to stop her from making that mistake, with little or no help from the proper channels. It's discouraging to be sure. I am sorry for what all of them are going through. It's situations like that one, and the Paris Hilton situation also, when I know I made the right decision not becoming a parent. I don't think I could take seeing my child go through that much pain, and wonder how much was my fault. Hopefully when both of these young women, who are from such different lots in life, get to the other side of the mistakes they have made, folks will offer them another chance at life... and going forward. Hopefully their families will be there to love and support them. One thing is for sure, we need tougher laws in this country for so many crimes, especially ones that directly affect our children.

Coach 40, Weds 16-Year Old Girl (ABC News)

How To Harness A Headstrong Teen (ABC News)

"Free Paris"
Berkeley, California
June 22, 2007

1 comment:

Suzanne R said...

If I had known before I started having my children how dysfunctional the family I had been raised in had been, and consequently how ill-equipped I was for parenting my own kids, I might well not have had them. As it was, I stumbled and bumbled my way through and got lucky, as they have turned
out very well, considering my lack of parenting skills (although I feel that I did a much better job than my own parents did raising me and my siblings).

I believe that it's best not to have children if a person is self-aware enough to know that there are good reasons why they hadn't ought to -- my son J.D. also has made that choice, and I think he's wise to stay childless if he truly doesn't feel that he wants to be a parent. Fortunately, his wife is in synch with this decision. (There was a time when I wasn't, but it's their business, not mine.)

I appreciate your thoughts and I feel I can also benefit from your experiences and insights.