The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Saturday, December 06, 2008


Are We Teaching Our Children or Are They Teaching Us?

“Can we go to Baskin-Robbins?” This is by now the all-too familiar rallying cry of the afternoon pick-up. Neither rain, snow, sleet, nor hail can keep my two children from their appointed rounds.

Baskin-Robbins it is.

“The usual?” Ben (we’re on a first name basis) inquires, his smile as bright as the fluorescent lights.

“You know us so well,” I reply, returning the grin, and handing the goodies to my children. Music crescendos, zoom to happy faces. A Norman Rockwell moment.

And, then, my daughter speaks: “Mom, I don’t think I should eat this. It might make me fat.”

My stomach drops, the blood rushes to my head. Are we here already? She’s 9-years old and weighs less than my right thigh, for God’s sake. And so it goes.

Pardon the pun, but children today are fed -- both directly and indirectly -- a steady diet of information that they are frankly just not prepared to process. Yes, they are well traveled, well spoken, well behaved. . . but at what price?

In encouraging “adult” behavior (whatever that means) aren’t we in fact denying our children the right to be kids? Isn’t it supposed to be a natural progression, learning how to be “big?”

Almost every single thing a child does these days is observed and evaluated by the very people they are most eager to please: us. Playdates, sporting events, recitals, religious ceremonies. . . everything is played out under the watchful eye of ol’ Mom and Dad. . . and then, of course, videotaped so that each detail can be deconstructed at will.

Adding insult to injury is the adult obsession with staying youthful. Perfection has become the standard. In essence, the message is that both fifty and fifteen are the new thirty.

How can we teach them to respect their elders when we clearly don’t respect ourselves? Where is the grace in collagen-inflated lips?

The dignity in a canvas-tight face?

We can turn off the TV and the stereo; put away the newspapers and magazines; disconnect the wireless but still. . . a child’s kryptonite-proof superpower of quiet observation will confound us all.

Clearly, this is overly simplistic and naïve, but perhaps by being honest with our children and exhibiting the behavior that we are so quick to demand, they might have a fighting chance of making it through the years ahead without drugs or tattoos or branding or whatever the outré statement of the moment may be.

“Excuse me, Ben, would you please throw in a pralines and cream ice cream cone for me?”

I’m nothing if not a role model.

By Leissa Jackmauh

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I loved this!!
I agree with all of your comments. Yet every generation learns from their children. The themes vary, but their are universal truths that rransend generations.
Today is Pearl Harbor Day. My entire life was transformed by that one action of the Japanese. The age of radio developed the imagination and one could create their own image as the listened. You could image yourself as Ciderella regardless of your color or size as you listen. Now everything in image and one may try to match themselves to the image when it is impossible. Every generation faces the same problem " finding their own uniqueness and thinking for themselves rather accepting the statis quo of the crowd, the media.
Our current obsession with food, diet, ideal size, may just create the problelm. There are more im-portant issues, more creative pursuits. Enjoying an ice cream cone should not be clouded, and stressful. Take Joy, Ruth Scott
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