I’m the youngest son of two very loving and generous parents, brother to six beautiful ladies and four handsome guys. I’m the youngest man in this soccer team of 11, but I have two younger sisters. My mother made all the boys in the family take turns, with the girls, preparing dinner for the entire family during the week. Where I’m from, it is considered a thing only women do. But not in my mother’s house.
Everything the girls did we did: we cooked, we wash dishes, we did laundry. Growing up, it was important to talk to my parents and older siblings in a way that was polite and respectful. So, Mama and Papa was acceptable, nothing else. I called Marcus – “Boy Marcus” – Florence – “Sister Florence” anything else was not necessarily disrespectful, but a little impolite. Older people, outside our home were politely called – Mr. or Mrs – uncle or aunt – sir or madam, never by their first name.
Now, you may argue – “different strokes for different folks” and I’m totally cool with that, but in my home there are three things my children will never do:
They will never call me by my first name.
Unless I give them permission to. I understand that some parents prefer being called by their first name. I am fine with that, but I hope for the right reasons. If parents think that labels like “mom” and “dad” are too associated with preconceived stereotypes and inhibit the development of true understanding in the parent/child dynamic, or because they don’t want to feel old or be associated with their own parents, than, allowing my children to call me by my first name will never happen. I am not their buddy, I am their parent. I don’t want to win the ‘cool factor’ or the ‘popularity contest,’ I’m their parent. And it certainly doesn’t make me feel old. It is unacceptable for my girls to get up one day, because they turned 17 or 19, to start calling me by my first name, not now not even when they are 150 years old.
They will never raise their voice or speak disrespectfully to me either at home or in the public square.
Parenting is a full-time job. We have a solemn obligation to “train up our children in the way they should go.” What that means is, as parents, we need to set the example in the home for the kids to follow. If we don’t want them to raise their voice on us disrespectfully, are we doing that to them or to our spouse? We should never be afraid to discipline or correct certain behavior in them, never forgetting fairness and godliness. We should never allow our kids to hang out with other kids who are disrespectful to their parents. Because if they are, that is going to rub off on them. We must have a hands on supervision over what they watch on tv and what they are doing online. This is a full-time job!
They will never hit me
I’m a big man and my girls are tiny. I’m not worried about getting hurt. But the idea of a child raising his/her hand on a parent is in and of itself sickening. My girls, by the way, are the sweetest kids in the world, and we have an awesome relationship. They will never do any such thing. But this kind of behavior doesn’t happen overnight. No child ever, just gets up one day and decides to hit his/her parents.
Kids will most likely smoke or drink if their parents do. I know, it is a poor excuse, but kids whose parents are abusive, physically and verbally are most likely to become abusive. Even after you’ve done everything in you power to raise your children to be polite and law-abiding citizens, some kids are just going to be bad. Don’t get me wrong, I know that there are exceptions, and miracles sometimes do come out of horrible places. But it is imperative for us, as parents, to do our best to train up our children in the way they should go, because with that comes a promise – “when they are old they will not depart from it.”