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The most important job in the world

Bill Fox

Bill Fox

By Bill Fox/Columnist

Being a parent is a job many of us have, yet few of us had any training for.

We learn how to do this from assimilating what our parents did for us. Fortunately, many of us had good parents, but some were lacking any real role models, thus the need for “parenting courses” in schools.

I am convinced our schools need to have mandatory courses in Grades 9 and 10 on parenting that every student must take. We need excellent teachers to teach these courses, which would include housekeeping, cooking, finances, and parenting itself.

As I walk into places like the Oshawa Centre, I see young boys of perhaps six or seven with outlandish colourful haircuts, and I wonder did the parents or their sons decide on that style of hair? I also see youngsters having hissy fits to get their parents to let them have their way.

The other day, I witnessed in the food court a young child of about three or four being asked what they would like for lunch. So many choices. In my opinion, some parents are asking their children questions which never should be asked. The parents should be guiding their children into healthy and proper decisions. Perhaps the child could be given a choice of one or two nutritious lunches. I’m making a real assumption here, but would you ask your child what kind or colour hair they would like? I think it’s more reasonable to tell them, but perhaps giving them a choice of two options in regards to hair, long or short, is acceptable.

Trying to keep their children happy, many parents make mistakes which may have severe ramifications in future years. Do not try to be like your children.

Again, recently in a doctor’s waiting room, I saw a young mother on the floor playing with their toddler. You are their parents, not their brother or sister. Teach them to love and respect you as parents. I don’t think the “buddy-buddy” relationship is healthy or helpful for a child. If a child never hears the word “no” about the friends they keep, the clothes they wear, or hairstyles they have, where will they be as young adults if they have been given no direction?

It is important also to teach children responsibility. I am always disappointed when I see families in which the parents do everything for their kids including the cooking, dishes, cleaning up, etc., while the child sits in front of the TV or computer.

This is not right, as all children need to do chores. Children should learn at an early age that nothing comes without effort. One has to work and earn what they receive in this world.

If a child is given everything they want, they will not learn the value of anything.

Once in my school, the guest speaker at an assembly was to be an 80-year-old priest. I would say that probably 20 per cent of the students either skipped or had notes to be excused from the assembly. The priest was Father Dan Egan aka “The Junkie Priest.” He had been a parish priest who later devoted himself tirelessly to rehabilitating drug addicts.

One Sunday, a detective related how there was a huge drug problem in Egan’s parish. Egan was in disbelief. So the detective offered to have Egan present when a raid would be taking place in a nearby warehouse, suspected of storing marijuana.

Egan was taken into the warehouse after it was secured and was astonished to see bales and bales of marijuana. On further analysis by the police it was found the marijuana was not pure, as it had been diluted with horse manure to double the size of the profits.

Egan asked us to imagine two young people smoking this stuff, and saying, “Man, this is good sh*t.”

Exactly what they were ingesting.

Sadly students whose parents wrote notes excusing them from the assembly missed this important life lesson but perhaps were taught another lesson about manipulating their parents.

You may comment at bdfox@rogers.com.

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