As a parent... particularly, as a father, I take the safety and protection of my children as a most solemn obligation... just the suggestion that someone might ever consider harming my child will put a murderous look on my face.
How far would I go for my kids?
I'll tell you how far: Simply put, there is no place on the planet that could keep you safe if you ever harmed or even attempted or planned to harm one of my children. I'd
I think you know that this isn't hyperbole when it's coming from me.
Having said all of that, there is a wider question being asked here, isn't there? When we are asked, "How Far Would You go For Your Kids?", that could mean many things besides protecting our children from harm. Let's have a chat about parental ethics, shall we?
We all want our children to succeed, don't we? We all want them to achieve material success in life, don't we? We want them to be well educated, we want them to be secure in themselves, we want them to excel at sports and academics, and in everything, don't we?
Of course we do! We're parents!
But how do we do this? Do we help them achieve excellence, or do we do it for them?
Let's start here: How many of you, in order to maximize the kind of recognition your daughter will get at Girl Scouts, will haul boxes and boxes of cookies to your office/church/playgroup/pilates class/poker night and push those evil things on your friends? You'd do that, wouldn't you? No harm done, right?... I mean EVERYbody loves Thin Mints and those friggin' Do-Si-Does, right?
How many of you know people that spend endless hours online getting information for their high school-aged child, so he or she will get a good grade on their book report?, or worse, do the report for them?
Those of you with younger children might know moms or dads who practically demand that their bright child be labelled as "gifted" when they are in the 2nd grade (As if that is going to get this kid into freakin' Harvard)
I am the coach of my daughter's soccer team, and in our recreational league, the teams are restricted to only one practice per week. I happen to know that at least one of the coaches is holding extra practices on the side... is "winning" that important? Is that what we want to teach our kids? that winning is so important that it is better to cheat and win than it is to work hard, and do your best, and take pride in your results, within the rules?
Have you ever been in the mall or a store and seen some poorly behaved child knock over a stack of books or something, and the parent doesn't bat an eyelash until they see your glare, and then says, anemically, "oh, pick that up, honey?
How about the crackpots that actually get in fights with other parents at school sporting events, or at little league?
I actually know parents who, not bothering to make a child actually READ the @#*%&%$$#% book, actually bought the child the cliff notes instead so the kid could do the report on time.
One woman I know actually called her son at college every morning to make sure he went to class.
I could go on and on. It's so sad.
So haw far would you go for your kids? In my little corner of the world, I have seen some really ugly things regarding parental crazies who even help their kids avoid the consequences of breaking the law.
I work for a federal law enforcement agency, and I know all of the local cops and State Troopers in our area (especially since our community is full to the brim with cops from numerous agencies), I am almost certain that if my child were speeding and got a ticket, she could invoke my name, and probably get out of it... but that would be a big mistake. I don't roll like that. You speed, you take your chances. You get a ticket?, I guess you'll slow down next time, won't you?
Look, I'm all about protecting my kids, but there have to be limits don't there? Do I really want to protect them when they do something wrong at school? What will that teach them? I don't want them to win so badly that I'll teach them that cheating at sports is OK as long as they don't get caught. I don't want them to excel at school, to the point that I will do their schoolwork for them in order to protect their GPA?
Do you know what that kind of crap does to kids? It produces adults to whom the rules mean nothing. It produces adults that believe cheating on their taxes is a victimless crime. It produces people that like Michael Vick and Alberto Gonzales, and Larry Craig, that believe that their place in life affords them protection from breaking the law.
I'll give an example of how bad it can be: We know of a family in which a 17 year old son was involved in the theft of several handguns from the home of a deceased FBI agent. After the theft, this kid and his friends spent a lot of time playing playing tough guy with these guns. Now these kids weren't planning any violent crimes, they weren't robbing or shooting anyone, they were "nice" kids from the suburbs. One day, the group was playing the "I'll shoot you" game, not having checked to see if the guns were loaded. See where I am going here?
One kid shoots the other kid in the face and kills him.
I'll leave out all of the drama, but the killer, for that is what he is, intentional or not, never spent a day behind bars. His parents, who had the cash to do it, hired an expensive attorney, made sure the kid could cop a plea, do some community service, and walk away as if it never happened.
As appalled as some of the parents in the area were, I heard at least one of the neighborhood dads say: "He just made a mistake"
A 17 year old shoots and 18 year old in the face, and kills him, and it's a mistake.
Where I come from, it's called a crime.
The parents immediately enrolled the
This was about 5 years ago... since then, that NICE kid who just "made a mistake" has committed several other crimes, and is now incarcerated.... which he should have been in the first place... perhaps if his parents hadn't coddled him, and let him pay the price for his actions, he would have learned something and done better, and stayed out of jail later on.
How far would I go for my kids? Not that far.
I'll confess to the Girl Scout cookie thing. I asked some of the guys if they wanted any, but that's about as far as it goes.
Sure, I'll protect my kids, but there is a difference between protecting them to keep them safe, and sheltering them from their own misdeeds.
This post was part of a Blog Blast sponsored by the Parent Blogger Network, and in conjunction with the new Harper Collins Books release, "Dangerous Admissions", which deals with the issue of how far parents will go to help their kids get what they want.