December 12, 2018

Column: One step forward and two steps back


The other day a realization hit me like a ton of bricks. Somewhere, I had taken the wrong turn in educating my children, and suddenly I felt like less of a father.

I was ashamed. I thought I was well on my way to teaching my children right from wrong, instilling strong moral values and helping them decide their individual directions in life.

I adore my children but I am a realist. Typically, I have no shame in admitting my children’s faults and weaknesses. Those faults and weaknesses, after all, are part of their personality. I now felt I understood parents who were unable to accept the faults of their children, parents who were blind to the actions of their little monsters.

Here I was faced with a moral dilemma of how to handle the situation. What would be the proper protocol to correct the issue that I, obviously, had self-created?

I found myself contemplating if reform school would suit the culprit. Could I curb their ways or was it already too late?

Maybe the kids weren’t the problem. Maybe it was I who needed to seek help. Perhaps therapy could be the solution on how to better handle situations like this.

Does my failure mean I will never have the opportunity to be an empty-nester?

As a father of four, the thought of being an empty-nester is what propels me through those trying times, when a father is likely to pull his hair out and cement his future as a prematurely bald man.

Whatever I needed to do, I had to move quickly. With my oldest child, Connor, already being 11 years old, I had to right the wrong before he sprang the coop. My oldest daughter, Marlena, 9, certainly would need some extra time for correction: she is a child of habit. Wild William, my free-spirited 6-year-old with a tendency to buck the system, would need additional work. He is the posterchild for going against the grain, and his reasoning, while different than my own, is solid and well thought out.

Oh, and my poor sweet Charlotte, while surely not the culprit this time, recently turned a year old, and now would be the best time to correct the error of my ways.

There I sat pondering my options, and wondering which of my children put the toilet paper roll on backwards.

If I have told them once, I have told them a thousand times, the toilet paper goes forward, not back!


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Nice Scott, I can relate to your article. As parents we just want our kids to be respectful, have good morals and goals they can work towards and achieve. The sky is the limit for our kids. All we can do is our best and in the end it is ultimately our children’s choice how they choose to live as adults. A wise friend once told me it takes kids until they are about 25 before they realize we were kids once also and we were right. Well said :)

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