I’ve realized in the past few weeks that I am, in all honesty, an unbelievable failure as a parent. But then I realized something even more disturbing; I never even had a fighting chance.
From Day One of being parents, we have raised our children to value acceptance. No, not “tolerance”. I hate that word. Acceptance. Race. religion, orientation, none of that means anything when forming opinions. Who you are, how you treat others, that’s how we decide whether we want to include you in our circle. We wanted our kids to understand that the basis of our world ultimately being successful is peace.
We also taught them to be true to themselves. Their hearts and souls are beautiful, worthy of respect, and the only thing they’ve got that’s truly theirs. Value that spirit, and let it guide you; you won’t ever be led astray.
Success: no matter how you define it in your own mind, the way to get there is to work hard. Your work ethic reflects your integrity, and both should remain clear.
So why, then, is the world smacking my kids in the face?
I tell my kids that only through acceptance of others can we truly find peace in our time. They see a Supreme Court Justice making remarks like these.
I tell my kids that violence is only appropriate in defense of one’s self or another. They see a baby murdered in cold blood for no reason.
I tell my kids they can change the world. They see students in a peaceful demonstration pepper sprayed by a man in combat gear.
I tell my kids they can achieve anything they want to with dedication and integrity. They see billion dollar bank bail-outs while entrepreneurs file for bankruptcy.
I tell my kids that the world respects a woman with confidence in herself. They see a leading university prepared to expel a rape survivor for speaking about her ordeal, choosing to ignore the criminal act of rape, and treat is as an “honor” violation instead.
My question becomes, “What the hell have I done?”
If I urge my kids to get a degree, so they can have the financial stability that their father and I never had in the early years, am I undoing what I’ve tried to do all this time? What if my kids aren’t cut out for a corporate, 9 to 5 kind of life? Are they failures? Of course not. But how can I ever be assured that they will be able to pay their bills, save for their own futures, care for their own families, and do the things they want to do? I don’t ever want my kids to face the financial struggles that even now, their father and I handle. I feel like if I try to encourage them to seek that stability, that I’m also telling them to sell out their hopes, their dreams, their choices, for someone else’s idea of reality.
I don’t want my kids to lose sight of their path.
I tend to be pretty optimistic most of the time. But when I read the news and then look into the accusing eyes of my disillusioned children, I’m just not sure what to tell them.