“You are guardians of the hearth”

16 Mar 2012 01:40 pm | Category: Ethan, Life, Sharn

I’ve heard this many times before: “Don’t tell me what to do about my child. I’m his mother. I know best.” I’ll be the first to admit, that’s me. I get defensive when someone tells me how to discipline my child. I feel like it’s an attack on my parenting skills, like I haven’t been teaching my child correctly. I need to learn to accept criticisms and advice graciously. I may not agree with their advice, but I need to accept it graciously nonetheless. That’s because these couple of days, I’ve seen some parents that really need to be told off!

Eric has been out of town this week, so EJ and I have been going out a lot and having some fun, despite the dreary weather. Yesterday, I took him out to eat at this Chinese restaurant where they serve this chicken noodle dish that EJ really likes. At the table next to us was this family of three: parents and a little boy. The mom looked like she was past 50 and the boy was about 5-6 years old. I couldn’t see the dad, his back was to me. I felt so bad for the little boy. The mom did not give him a break! When mom was ordering food, little boy let out a whine and said he was hungry. Mom turned around and told him to stop whining. After she was done ordering, mom turned back to her son and started telling him off for interrupting her. She basically blamed the boy that now their food is going to come late because he interrupted her. Really?? Putting all the blame on your son?? The food at this restaurant is pretty quick about the food coming, but the boy isn’t gonna know that. His mom just told him it’s his fault the food is going to take a longer time to come because he interrupted her. Anyhow, after this, their food comes. The little boy, being polite, said a very loud “Thank you!” to the waiters who brought them their food. Shouldn’t you be proud of your well-mannered son? Not this mom. She told him off again for being so loud and for disturbing everyone else at the restaurant. Mind you, she herself was very loud in telling her son off for being loud. Then later, the little boy hurt himself on the hot water kettle and started crying. He was crying pretty loudly, it must definitely hurt! Wouldn’t you try and comfort your child and soothe him? Not this mom. All she did was shush him. She just kept shushing and shushing him, like she’s hoping her shushing will drown the sound of his cries. Finally, the dad (being quiet this whole time) asked his son if he was alright. I was just in total disbelief! This boy is going to have some serious mommy issues. Imagine that this is just a dinner, I wonder how bad it gets the rest of the time!

Today we went to the library to get some books and a DVD. We usually stop by the little play area so EJ can play with their kitchen set. When we got there, the toys were everywhere. Everything was dumped out and there was only one other child there with her mom. This other mom and her two kids were getting ready to leave. They stood up, dusted off their bums and just left. Seriously? Do they have a maid at the library who cleans up the toys for them? They just left all the toys on the floor! EJ, being the boy he is, runs towards the kitchen set, managing to avoid most of the toys on the floor, but eventually trips on one of them. So, of course, I clean up the toys on the floor. I don’t want my son tripping and busting his lip on some toy. Meanwhile, the first mom just sat there and didn’t lift a finger to help. After cleaning up, it was just me and this first mom. EJ is happily playing with his kitchen set. Then other parents come with their kids and the dumping of toys begin again. In our home, when you’re done with one toy, you put it away before playing with something else. Obviously, it doesn’t apply to these moms! They finish a puzzle with their kid and just left it there on the floor and went on to play something else! Really? There are signs all over the play area that tell parents/kids to clean up after themselves. Seriously, you don’t need to be told to clean up. That’s something you should do anyway. We teach by example. If you don’t do it, your kids are certainly not gonna do it. One of my pet peeves: Messes. Another one: Rude people! This little girl (about 6-7yo) told me to move this chair (that EJ was on) out of her way. Ok…. no “please”? no “thank you”?? Maybe we need to reintroduce the idiom “Mind you p’s and q’s” to society again. These are basic manners, people!

I think about all this classes that parents sign their kids up for: music, swimming, art, karate, soccer….. So what if your kid is top of the class or the fastest swimmer or draws the best art pieces. If we don’t teach them to respect their peers, how functional are they in society? That’s why we have all this bullying problems. Bullying = Dysfunctional. Dharun Ravi deserves his guilty verdict. His defense lawyers said he was just a stupid college student who did something stupid. Of course he his, and look at the result of his stupidity. Another kid committed suicide and he’s looking at up to ten years in prison. If he only knew the value of respecting others, I don’t think this would happen. This is a far-fetched analogy to picking up their toys and saying “please” and “thank you”, but respect for others has to start somewhere.

This is from February’s Visiting Teaching message: “You are the guardians of the hearth,” said President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) as he introduced “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” in the general Relief Society meeting in 1995. “You are the bearers of the children. You are they who nurture them and establish within them the habits of their lives. No other work reaches so close to divinity as does the nurturing of the sons and daughters of God.”1 …. Barbara Thompson, now second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, was in the Salt Lake Tabernacle when President Hinckley first read the proclamation. “That was a great occasion,” she remembers. “I felt the significance of the message. I also found myself thinking, ‘This is a great guide for parents. It is also a big responsibility for parents.’ I thought for a moment that it really didn’t pertain too much to me since I wasn’t married and didn’t have any children. But almost as quickly I thought, ‘But it does pertain to me. I am a member of a family. I am a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a cousin, a niece, and a granddaughter. I do have responsibilities—and blessings—because I am a member of a family. Even if I were the only living member of my family, I am still a member of God’s family, and I have a responsibility to help strengthen other families.’”

So next time, when someone tells me what to do about my kid, I should hear what they have to say and not get defensive. We’re not perfect. I’m not perfect and I’m sure I need all the help I can get, whether I want to admit it or not!

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