Thoughts on Parenting

I am mindful today of violence and destruction.

On the one hand we have a 7.8Mw earthquake that has taken more than 4000 lives and destroyed Nepalese cultural artifacts dating back hundreds of years. On the other we have whatever the hell is going on in Baltimore. The events in Baltimore are more tragic to my thinking.

I am mindful of the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” I am also mindful of the words of Rev. Jamal Bryant yesterday: “This is not what the family asked for, today of all days. For us to come out of the burial and walk into this is absolutely inexcusable.”

I get the protests and everything that drives the protests, and I’ve spoken about the violence of modern police tactics – that’s on us – but that is separate from the gangs who routinely take advantage of the protest environment to loot and pillage and destroy the community resources. To my mind, that is also largely on us.

I kind of liked that mom who picked her son out of the crowd and followed him home smacking him upside the head the whole way. We can talk about her violence, but we cannot argue against her ownership of the problem and her commitment to deal with it.

I was an absentee parent. I’m not proud of that, but there it is. My choices meant that others were left to raise, to nurture, to influence my children. That has been the norm for the past 50 or 60 or 70 years? How long have we been talking about the disaffected kids these days? Could there be at least a correlation?

Who was raising my kids? How was their day in school? What were they eating? Who were they playing with? Where were they going? What were they doing there? What were their hopes, their dreams? What are their values? Where did we go wrong?

How do we fix this?

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