The Truth About Raising Kids
You, Me, Raising Kids and The Truth
Today I’m going to give you the truth about raising kids.
First though, I am going to give you some backstory on what inspired me to put these extremely valuable and insightful thoughts down on paper:
This past Friday, I made a special criminal court appearance in the Tempe Municipal Court (for a client’s case, not mine). Driving into ASU country, I felt like I had gone home. A sense of lightness washed over me as I parked my car and felt the morning chill settle on my skin. I gulped the fall in through my lungs and bonded with the ASU kids as we walked together, with intention, towards our respective destinations.
From where I was walking on 5th Street, I stopped to look at the dorm in which I once lived. Manzanita Hall. Co-ed. Triangular windows. Half the size of my hometown.
Back in the day, the kids called it “fifteen floors of whores.” (That didn’t apply to me, of course.)
Just as I was fondly reminiscing about the days and nights spent in “Manzy,” I was jolted awake by my assistant, Elaine, calling. My client was waiting for me in the courthouse. I was almost late. Where was I?!
Ugggggh. I was irritated. “Chill out. I will be there! Geez!” I reluctantly got moving again, schlepping my bag through the metal detectors into the gates of college hell.
You won’t believe the horrors I witnessed in that courtroom. I left feeling shellshocked and out of breath. It was nothing like I had ever experienced…
…even when I had gone to court one time as an ASU student when the tags on my truck expired. I remember the judge being really nice to me.
The judge in court on Friday…not so nice.
What I Saw in College Hell
After a few minutes of sitting and watching the kids who were appearing in front of her, I fully understood the judge’s cranky disposition.
The whole time I was there, one question reverberated in my head: “WHAT in the world has happened to the youth of today?”
Even before I became a Phoenix family law attorney, I think I had the common sense NOT to show up in certain places (like church, class AND court) looking a certain way. Why would ANYONE think it’s OK to show up to a court date with your whole behind hanging out of your pants, giving everyone, including THE JUDGE, a view of your skivvies? Really, dude?
And since when did kids have enough nerve to try and talk a CRIMINAL JUDGE into the fact that being a pothead (who was obviously high IN COURT) was “better” for productivity? And why is it that a kid would think it is OK to talk to a judge using phrases like
“Yeah, nah, and huh?”
By the time I had seen 7 or 8 of these morons address the court, I was in full judgment mode, ripping each of them to shreds for their clothes, speech and overall performance. I thought to myself, “If I end up raising kids like this, I will shoot myself.” I also wondered if I (and my friends) had been “that bad” when in college.
What’s Up With Parents Raising Kids Like These?
I considered the parents of all these kids. What were they like? Did they have any idea what was going on? Were they bad parents? What mistakes did they make to raise kids like this?
As I thought more, though, I came to the conclusion these parents had done something right. They thought it was important enough to send their kids to college. When the judge asked who was paying for school, the answer was always the same: “My parents.” If the parents were successful and productive enough in life to be able to afford the costs of a higher education, certainly they weren’t bad parents at all.
What happened, then? Where in the childrearing process did the respect lie down and die? Is the obedience and productivity gone forever? Are these our future leaders? Is this what I have to look forward to? Will my daughter end up marrying one of these delinquents?
I was freaking out!!!
“The Breakfast Club” Helped Me See the Light
After a few days, some meditation, a lot of coffee this morning and catching a clip of “The Breakfast Club” on TV this weekend, I have the answer.
Here it is…
It’s all good.
At that age, I was just like these kids (but in my own way). The reality is, when they “come of age,” most kids are testing boundaries, challenging authority and finding themselves. No kid is perfect, and in each one, there is a little “badness”:
I recovered from mine. In reality, most kids will. The key for those who do “grow out of the phase” is that they have involved parents who are there through thick and thin.
The truth of the matter is…even at 70+ years old and with children aged 37, 41 and 43, my parents are STILL raising kids. At times, we are still “bad.” We still fight. We sometimes make horrible decisions.
In many cases, because of our parents, we finally do get our heads out of our you-know-wheres…
And Now…”The Truth” About Raising Kids
The truth about raising kids is that you can only do the best you can.
This means teaching, guiding, leading by example and most importantly, loving them. Speak beautiful dreams for your children out loud. Tell them they are limitless. Then give them the freedom to fly out of that nest when the time comes.
They will test the boundaries of “natural law.” They will try and defy gravity. They will crash and burn. They will get injured. They will experience pain.
This is why they (and we) are all here. To experience. All of it.
Then be there for them when they fail, when they are ashamed and when they are at their lowest.
They need you when they are 2. They will need you when they are 20. They will need you forever.
And that, my friend, is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about raising kids.
Sending you my wishes for a week in which you honor everything you are doing right in raising your kids.
All my best,