There have been so many times, over the many years, that I have looked at my own children and asked myself the age-old parental query, “Whose kids are these? ” They certainly had not learned that trait from either myself or their father. This of course usually applies to their negative traits. I smile as I write this. It really is difficult to see our own negative qualities. Really. Sometimes, we are even so bold as to blame the other parent for the recognized negative behavior. Just as readily, when a child does something good, (and this is when they are any age… it never ceases just because they are older), well then… both parents appear to believe that the ” good gene” certainly must be theirs. Now, I am smiling even more broadly.
In reality, studies show that a child’s attitude, behaviors (both positive and negative), and personality are fully developed by the age of ten. Actually, it might even be younger than that. Being a good parent, however, doesn’t always guarantee good kids. Personal experience both within my own home and my many years of classroom teaching, has allowed me to observe this. Does that mean that as parents we should no longer involve ourselves because what is going to happen… will happen anyway, regardless? Just the opposite. Children, teens, and even adults continue to learn from their parents. It has always been so. It appears that current young families need guidance more than ever before.
It is often difficult to watch our own off- springs’ negative choices, while staying true to ourselves and being positive role models for them. These negative choices often can begin at an early age. The most dedicated of parents often produce children who follow unhealthy and often destructive paths which benefit no one, even themselves. This produces a great deal of heartache for all involved. It is gut wrenching, but it is their choice. Being a parent is the hardest of jobs.
On the other hand, I have worked with so many people over the years who have had little or no parenting, yet realized the value of a life well lived. In spite of positive role models they have gone on on to be a great source of pride to their schools, communities, workplace, and families. What can be concluded from this?
Everyone has “parents” whether they have been… or still are actively involved in our lives… good or bad. However, we are what we choose for ourselves from a very early age, good and bad, and that’s pretty clear. We can give ourselves credit for good personal choices, but we must accept equal responsibility for choices that haven’t shown us in our best God-given abilities.
Here’s to all of us choosing well! Each day we get to choose a new path.