October 30, 2006

We Are Too Busy

A Parent Asks Mac About "Not Enough Time"
Dear Mac,
We are having a terrible time with our thirteen-year-old son. We feel that he is being "led astray" by a group of his friends who just seem to lack any kind of direction from their families. They stay out late, never seem to be required to do homework and they all seem to be lacking on guidance from their parents. We fear that our son might be doing drugs with them even though we have not caught him yet.
We would love to take your advice and start a Parenting with Dignity class but we just do not have the time? Do you have any other suggestions for what we might do. Do you have any suggestions for something that we might do that is less time consuming?
Are there not any laws that govern what families can allow their children to do?
Concerened Parents
Mac's Answer

Dear Concerned Parents,

The longer that I work in this field of Parent Education the more militant I become about the need for effective parenting. As I travel around the country I hear parents everywhere tell me that they are doing everything in their power to raise their kids “right” but that it is the “other kids” that lead their kids astray. “Peer pressure got to my kid,” they say. And then in the next breath they tell me why they are too busy to have anything to do with a parenting class.

Let me just say (and I hope I am not offending you) that to view the boundaries of your HOME as being limited to the boundaries of your house is a fatal error! The boundaries of your HOME stretch around everywhere your kids travel in a given day, week, month, year, or their lifetime. If you are not willing to reach out and attempt to exert an influence on that whole environment then you must, by definition, accept what it gives you!
Columbine High School Paid a Heavy Price for Not Having Time
The people in Littleton Colorado who had kids at Columbine High School really could not complain about what happened to their children at their school because they had not acted to create an environment of respect and dignity for all kids. I am aware that I sound very harsh in saying that. I do not mean to attempt to point a finger of guilt. I am just trying to state a fact that you must not ignore when you say that you do not have time to start a class.
Those families went into their own respective homes and shut their doors and said, “ it is not my problem.” Or more likely, they said, “I am too busy to worry about other people’s kids. I have too much going in my life to worry about other families and what other people’s kids are doing. I have a list of the things I am doing with my own kids so I can’t be bothered.” Believe me, they were bothered and it was no minor inconvenience!

One thing that is the absolute truth is that it is not possible to say “I am too busy” and then expect that all other families will teach their kids to respect the rights of others and that all kids will be equally instructed in moral and ethical behavior. The only way that you can insure that is to meet with the other parents and come to some general agreement about the kind of things that your community is going to collectively teach to the kids of your community.
Involving Government Is Not a Solution
Government can’t solve family problems with laws. Neither can money or state agencies. The only solution to the behavior of children is the parents themselves and their actions.

This is not rocket science. It is very simple. Go get a Mormon family, a Catholic family, a Jewish family, a Hindu family, a Buddhist family, an agnostic family, an atheist family, a Muslim family, and a couple of families who have never given a thought to their spiritual orientation and put the parents from each family in a room together. Throw into the mix differing colors of skin and differing cultural backgrounds and even some different languages. Then ask that diverse group to discuss what they want for their children and they will very quickly come to almost total agreement. They will all want honesty, integrity, diligence, hard work, respect for self and others, happiness, dignity, respect for diversity, a sense of spiritual identity and spiritual bearing (even though it may be a different definition of spirit) , pride in family, home, community, and so on. The key is to get them all in one room to meet each other in small groups and come to the agreement that all are going to act together as a community to teach some common values. It is the piece that is missing from modern American society.
Saying, "I'm Too Busy," Is an Acceptance of Failure

To say you are to busy to do it is to say that you accept the way the community is! Sending your children out to grow, develop, and learn in a community like that is turning your children out into some pretty dangerous territory. I do not believe that we can afford to let this go to chance.

All we are asking of you and other parents like you is that you give the issue of parent education in your community the same amount of time that you give to brushing your teeth. (If you brush your teeth twice a day you spend roughly an hour a week brushing your teeth.) Entering or sponsoring a Parenting with Dignity class is not an admission that you are doing anything wrong or that you are a bad parent. Rather it is a recognition that a community as a whole is much more effective at teaching moral, ethical, and spiritual behavior if they do it together rather than in isolated little houses.
Our Nation Is at War!

I hope that I do not offend you with my direct challenge but traveling the nation has really made me see that we are at war in this nation… and I am not talking about terrorism. There is a force much stronger than terrorism at work in this world. We must fight it with everything we have or it will destroy us much more certainly than terrorism.
The Only Solution Is To Act as a Whole Community
We are at war over the ideas that live in our kids’ heads. We, as the adult population of this nation, have a moral obligation to our children to instruct them. We cannot afford to say that we are too busy to do that. We cannot afford to go into our homes and close the doors and say that we will teach our own kids and ignore what is happening outside of our doors. What is happening outside our doors will affect our own kids probably as much as what we do inside of our own houses. There is no short-cut. We must act collectively in our communities. To do otherwise is to accept what is out there; gangs, drugs, promiscuous sex, violence, intimidation, disrespect, hatred, inappropriate public behavior and more!

Our program is totally worthless without volunteer effort from caring people like you. We cannot do this on our own. Athletes are continually being bombarded with the obligation to be role models but what about the rest of us? Are we not obligated to act upon our own behalf for the instruction of our community’s kids?

Please join us. Please order a copy of our Parenting with Dignity Curriculum and get startedin your community.
Mac Bledsoe

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