Sunday, 3 June 2012

Responsible parenting.

There are times when being a responsible parent leaves little to be desired.

While you have to admire the sheer self-centredness of people like the 19 year old who was so upset that her partner was arrested for drunk driving with her baby in the car she got stoned then drove home at midnight, forgetting her baby was strapped into his travel seat on TOP of the car. All credit to her, she noticed the baby was missing when she got home. The jubilee weekend will see pubs across the country welcoming families to join in the festivities. A small number of these families will get totally drunk and will lose forget about their children, other than maybe grabbing a couple of packets of crisps for them to keep them quiet. They will enjoy the weekend.

It was difficult to keep keep these in mind today when I found myself at a pelican crossing in torrential rain. Ever since he has been old enough to walk I have been showing him that you press the button and wait for the green man before you cross. We got caught out today in the rain. It was only a 5 minute walk to the shop so, while my son was in full rain gear including hood, cap and brolly, I was in a thin jacket and hoody. The rain, rather predictably, started when we were half way to the store. By the time we got to the crossing I was soaked, cold and miserable, and my three year old rain excitedly to press the button to cross the road.

There was not a single car in site, there hadn't been all the way up the road. Most people were too sensible to be out in the weather, or if they had ventured out they were in a pub getting drunk with their loved ones. It was sorely tempting to cross the road with him and ignore what I had taught him. It was easy to think about all the drunk families who, in all likelihood, would suffer no ill consequences from their irresponsibility, other than years from now the probability their children will be emulating them.

With these thoughts I looked at him and the temptation went away. I might be teaching him how to cross a road, but being a parent teaches me anew about responsibility everyday.

He didn't choose to come into this world, and the unwritten contract parents sign is to love, protect and nurture our children. Getting rained on is a small price to pay to help him grow up the right way.

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