Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Failure of a Parent  

There’s a guy I know… He’s had a pretty successful life, he’s pretty well-off.

He had a kid.

For whatever reason, this guy chose to raise this kid in such a way that the kid never learned to be self-sufficient. Instead of teaching responsibility and being accountable, the lesson instilled over the years is that Daddy will take care of it.

Money’s not really an issue, so anytime a problem comes up, he writes a few checks and the problem goes away. Any time a complicated matter comes up that dollars alone won’t solve, he steps in and takes charge. Like an aegis from life, he shields the kid from anything that might be difficult or unpleasant.

Evidently not much of a believer in the real world or natural consequences, the guy just didn’t get that raising someone to be completely dependent on others and protected in every way results in a weak, fragile person devoid of coping skills or any semblance of competence.

To me, the ultimate goal of a parent is to bring a son or daughter up with the knowledge and confidence necessary to go out into the world and make a future for themselves. Teach them the value of work. Teach them the value of critical thinking. Teach them how to respect others, and to ask for it in return.

The sort of upbringing this guy seemed to believe in… well, there’s really only one outcome there – the kid is going to go on not knowing how to care for themselves in any real way, always looking for someone else to deal with the things that can happen over the course of a lifetime. An eternal victim, their vulnerability constantly reinforced by the parent that created it.

It’s sad for the kid since they live out their days woefully unprepared for the tribulations that are sure to come, but the real blame falls on the shoulders of the guy who failed to see the harm in what he’s done.

In fact, I’d say that he’s a complete and total failure as a parent, the sort of life he’s provided to his offspring a form of neglect. The easy way he's chosen to solve problems may have worked in the short run, but how will he ever find peace knowing his burden can never be laid down for fear that the kid will encounter something that Daddy's not around to fix?

He should be cripplingly embarrassed, and even more than that… he should be infinitely ashamed for utterly failing in the one thing a parent should do before all else.

What greater harm can a person do than to sabotage the life of their child?

What next?

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