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What's up with Cincinnati parents?
September 14, 2010 - Betsy Bethel
Remember a couple years ago, there was the mother, a school administrator in Clermont County, who forgot her daughter was asleep in the back seat of the car and left her there throughout the work day? It was August. The 2-year-old died of heat stroke.
This week, I've read two stories that also made me shake my head and prompted this post. Yesterday, it was the one about the 6-year-old boy who wasn't paying enough attention during football practice in Norwood, so his mom's boyfriend made him run a mile after practice and then dragged him by the face mask of his helmet. Thank God a policeman saw it and arrested the couple.
And today, I read about the mom in Cincinnati who was teaching her 2-year-old daughter how to smoke marijuana. How did the authorities find out? A video on Mom's cell phone captured the "lesson."
I know I can't pick on Cincinnati alone — crazy, angry and ignorant parents are everywhere, including right here in the Ohio Valley.
What do these stories have in common, though, other than geography and abuse/neglect/endangerment of a child? If you ask me, it's stress. The Clermont County mom was stressed out, running late, went to pick up doughnuts to please her staff and forgot to take the kid to the babysitter. The Norwood couple is so hell-bent on living vicariously through that 6-year-old kid, so stressed that he will not perform well and will make them look bad, that they thought the only way to get through to him was to rough him up. And the pot-smoking mom? Well, smoking relaxes her, right? So she's not so stressed out.
Maybe it's a stretch, but I think it goes to show how stress can ruin our lives. There's nothing wrong with a little stress — in fact, a little stress is good for us, gets our adrenaline pumping, spurs us to take necessary action. But too much stress can kill you or at the least cause you to make poor decisions, putting your life and the lives of your children and others at risk.
I once read a definition of stress that stuck with me. Stress, said the author of the book (can't remember the name of either), occurs when the lives we live are inconsistent with our values.
It's a good reminder, that when we believe one thing but our actions bely a totally different value, we cause ourselves stress. It's a simple theory, really. Be consistent, or as Horton the Elephant would suggest, mean what you say and say what you mean. That doesn't mean life will always be easy. But it does mean you'll be able to look not only at yourself in the mirror, but also look at your kids with confidence and contentment. No career or drug or sport alone can do that for you.
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