Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Parenting--Not for Weinies

My wife Suzanne and I just got back from speaking at the annual MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) Convention in Dallas, Texas. It was a wonderful time of seeing over 4,000 young mothers get a break from the constant pressure of raising little tykes and receive some practical skills and advice for their marriages and for raising children. This year I was introduced to a woman I had never met and frankly I didn't even know who she was. Her name was Lynn Spears. When I met her I thought she was just another speaker and was not aware that she was Brittany and Jaimie Lynn Spears' mom.

But Lynn's topic really hit home with me. Among other things, Lynn was asked, "Some moms have a plan for raising their children, did you?" She responded, "I had a plan. A perfect little plan. But I couldn't control the outside influences my children were subjected to. Now all I can do is rely on my faith." Despite my initial, uninformed negative opinion of the kind of mother Lynn probably was, she struck me as just an average mom who had tried the best she could and is now shell-shocked by the things that have happened to her children.

When I was a young parent I self-righteously believed that parents were always responsible for how their children turned out. But as an older parent with adult children I now realize that we do the best we can and then our children make their own choices. Sometimes they make good choices and sometimes they make bad choices. Hopefully we provide a good foundation for them to make decisions from. Often our children get to a certain age and we have no control over them any more. One of those factors is the outside influences they are subjected to. Despite having been told by many pious church leaders that if you parent your children right, they will turn out right; I have observed that this is not always the case. I know great parents who have raised several children into excellent young adults only to have one or more stray along the way. Likewise, I have seen terrible parents whose children turned out wonderful. Go figure. I think perhaps those parents who's children turn out good are maybe luckier than they know. One man told me he believed that God had given him compliant daughters because God knew that he would not be able to deal with ones who rebelled.

Finally, over the years it has been my observation that Brittany Spears and many of the other young "pop tarts" are actually victims. Yes, they have fame and fortune but most are desperately unhappy with their lives. Brittany appears to have been used and abused by many men over the years who should know better. These girls frequently come from homes that are fatherless or have uninvolved fathers. As such they are eager for masculine attention and vulnerable to men in general. Agents, managers, the press and media, record executives, and other men have made billions of dollars off her by advising her and giving her poor advice. They did not have her best interests in mind nor did they protect her like authentic masculinity is supposed to--after all she really was just a child. Instead, they sold and raped her soul for their own profit. Hopefully someday, they will have to give an accounting to a being powerful enough to treat them as they have treated her.

1 comment:

Jeff Purkiss said...

Just today I was showing my photo "Brag Book" to a father of two very young daughters. He came across a photo of me with my then 15 year-old daughter (last year). We were in formal attire as we were attending a father/daughter dance. A little later as we continued to talk about family and faith, I pointed out that the father/daughter dance reinforces the dating relationship between a father and his daughter. I explained that when a father gives his daughter healthy attention, honor and respect, she is less likely to crave the attention of boys and young men. She is likely to develop stronger self-esteem and need less male peer attention.

I would also like to offer an option for parents of school-age children. Yes, the exposure to peer influence at school has created an often hostile environment. In this environment, the peer group often overshadows the parent's ability to have an effect on their kids' character and world-view. Home schooling has become a viable option for many. While this is not the venue to expand on the home school options, I recommend parents carefully look at this option.

Thanks again, Rick, for sharing.

Jeff