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The Coffee Shop => The Gallery => Topic started by: Spell Chick on October 14, 2008, 09:13:07 PM

Title: Who's Job Is It?
Post by: Spell Chick on October 14, 2008, 09:13:07 PM
Bringing children up in today's society is treacherous. Discipline is looked on askance and then when children behave outrageously, the unwashed masses want to know what went wrong. Well, what went wrong is the parents did not teach the child how to be in the world.

Discipline is not hitting or even spanking. Discipline is teaching a child how to control the primal urges so we can live in society. As very young people, only concerned with the ego, they need to be taught we live closely in community and must restrain our wants because they impede the other person's needs.

Discipline is showing a child that unsocial behaviors have consequences. Acting inappropriately causes untoward events. Discipline is also teaching the child what the appropriate behaviors would be and giving them the space to incorporate that lesson into their own idea of how to be in the world.

So when the big brother swats the little brother, a mother might separate them and discuss other options to the big guy while letting him sit still for a while and think it through and offering solace to the little guy and perhaps find out just exactly what set the assault into motion and if necessary, teaching how to not be provocative.

These are not easy lessons to learn and usually take many instances of teaching and separation to incorporate them into one's life choices. It is a job lasting for years. Babies are nothing but ego. Toddlers know there is 'other' but don't really care about it. What the self wants is paramount and the only concern when choosing behaviors.

Slowly, almost imperceptibly, the young child is taught the rules of society. It is the work of years to make an entirely ego-based baby into a functioning adult. There are glimmers of hope spread out teasingly during the years. A small child shares nicely. The magic words are spoken without prompting. Words are used instead of fists. Self-sacrifices are offered to the younger, the weaker, the underdog.

All this work, years of labor, is the job a parent takes on when electing to have a child. There is more to raising babies into responsible adults than merely buying groceries, clothes, providing housing, and carting their ungrateful butts to school. It is more than wiping runny noses and attending games or recitals. It is, in the most important part, teaching the offspring how to behave in the world.

The world will not accept those who don't learn this lesson. The world shuns them, dismisses them, or locks them away in prisons. A child must learn to live within society.

As a grandparent, what is my job? It is the parents who teach discipline, self-mastery, the right way to behave. So what is left?

I think, perhaps, it my job to teach forgiveness. To teach a child that making a mistake means it must be corrected, but the child is loved, cherished, and will rise above the mistake. The child, the precious child, is forgiven. Not because of the child, but because the world cannot demand perfection. The world can only demand effort towards perfection. Perfect doesn't exist.

Aiden banged the chair against the wall. Joe told him to stop. Aiden banged again. Joe looked at the paint chipped away. Aiden looked at the white spot on the blue wall. The spot that wasn't there just moments ago.

In all honesty. If Joey had made a hole in my wall when he was five, I would have been angry. I would have pointed out the hole and how I had just told him to stop and now look. Look. At. The. Mess. I told you. That's what I would have done. That is what Joe did.

And Aiden was remorseful. Tears welled up in his eyes. He's five. He had no idea walls would crumble when struck. Walls are solid. Walls don't just fall apart. Except, he learned, they do. His daddy was mad. He looked at me. Tears ready to spill.

And, instead of being the parent and the disciplinarian, I had a different lesson to teach. One of forgiveness. The wall can be fixed. The culprit was unaware, even though warned, that disaster was near. Next time, he would listen to wiser people. But right now, he needed forgiveness.

The world will not abide willful malfeasance. But the world will grant forgiveness for small errors and hope you learned your lesson. And Nana will, too. Because she loves you. (Daddy forgave, too, but his was a different lesson to teach. And he still had his mother to confront.)
Title: Re: Who's Job Is It?
Post by: marye on October 20, 2008, 09:33:45 PM
Nice essay, especially the personal part near the end.  I think it would be more interesting if there were personal examples liberally scattered throughout the first part.  When I started reading it, by the middle I was wondering if you had kids or were just lecturing.  By the time I got done I was smiling, relating, and warmed.  I hope you will visit my project Irreverent Stories for Modern Grandchildren at and contribute something you wrote for your grandkids--or start a story.  My other project, For Generations, will be submitted for voting soon so please visit.  My penname there is totallybatty.  I'm the mom of seven and grandmother of seven (so far).
Title: Re: Who's Job Is It?
Post by: Spell Chick on October 20, 2008, 10:20:03 PM
Thanks for the comment

It took me a while to find your work, but I finally did.
It is easier to follow if you put in the link (
Title: Re: Who's Job Is It?
Post by: marye on October 21, 2008, 12:50:43 AM
Thank you, I'll use it from now on.