I occasionally wonder if I’ll ever have the emotional fortitude to be a parent.
Let’s face it: it’s difficult to raise kids. It’s even more difficult – skimming along the borders of the impossible – to raise good kids. And if there’s one motto I hold myself to in this life, it’s that anything worth doing is worth doing well. If I were to raise kids, I’d want to raise good kids, but that’s exactly where the challenge lies.
Babies are basically eating, drinking, pooping, wailing sirens that goes off at random hours, but usually during the time when you need sleep the most. Kids are little more than hairless, well-dressed chimps who wouldn’t hesitate to rip your face off if you don’t give them what they want. Pre-teens are distant celestial bodies about as easy to reach as Voyager 1; and teenagers are melodramatic, emotional wrecks who thinks that the whole world is against them. These creatures don’t even develop a proper conscience until they reach the age of 25.
I know, because I have been all of those things in the past 22 years of living.
(nevermind teachers – I wonder how did anyone ever put up with me)
As I sat myself down in a food court earlier today to have lunch, a family of three entered into the place, the third member being a crying kid who was probably upset that he didn’t get to go to McDonalds or something. My first instinct, of course, was to feel slightly annoyed at this – come on, leave your crying kids at home, the world is a stressful enough place without their help!
The mother tried, at first, to cover the kid’s mouth in an attempt to pacify him. But when that didn’t work, I waited to see what she would do – and it horrified me.
She slapped her kid across the face – viciously, three times. And she did it a few more times after that when her kid started crying even harder – doing all of this with a bored expression, like she was doing something as routine as washing the dishes.
At this, my annoyance towards the child turned into a disgusted anger towards the mother. Because you DO NOT hit your child in public; and you DO NOT hit your child when he is crying. It’s irresponsible, it’s embarrassing, and it’s frankly lazy parenting. And really – people who don’t intend to be good parents should not be parents to begin with.
As I’m halfway through my “I hope you never reproduce again” speech in my head, the boy’s father returns, having gotten his food, and just picks the child up into his arms, while the mother watched with an infuriating visage of indifference.
Within 10 seconds, the child stopped crying.
Let’s face it: forget about raising kids; it’s difficult to love people, to begin with. We’re all naturally tuned to look out for our own best interests, even if it means forsaking that of others – but this is easily overcome by the power of choice. I think that if each day, we made a promise to love a little more than we normally would, and hurt a little less than we would be naturally inclined to, we would end up with a much better world in our hands.
(I cannot help but feel like a new-age hippie when I talk about things like this)
As for me – maybe one day I’ll come around to have the emotional fortitude in order to be a good parent. But until then, I think I’ll just make it my goal to hurt a little less, and love a little more.