If you think it is hard to raise kids, wait until they are teenagers!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Parenting is hard, mostly because it is like building a sandcastle that you keep modeling with great care as you add more sand to the top, but you know that eventually you will have to leave the sandcastle at the beach when you go home and the waves will hit it at night, and there is no assurance that the sandcastle will stand against the force of the waves. 

I started reading a parenting book that was published many years ago where the author makes a few good points but sounds very strict in some areas and in the book he assures that his method is the one to produce great teenagers and adults. So I went online to find out how his own kids turned out and to my surprise his oldest three kids had a great deal of problems as teenagers growing up. Today he admits that his kids perceived that at home they were never good enough, so when they found a group of friends outside that accepted them the way they were, they pursued their approval instead of following what the parents had to say.

And that is every parent's nightmare! The thought that our child will get hit by the waves and not have enough strength on himself to stand still. That he will be taken away by any wave that reaches him, and he will not have the wisdom to say no to the things that may not benefit him.

Usually the turning point for many is when they go away for college. No parents in sight, plenty of cool friends to hang out with and life at its peak. And at that point the parents are seen as old fashioned, as boring and as out of touch with the real world. Not the role models they are looking for. 


Today, listening to a podcast about parenting I came to realize that maybe Hoboken is a good place to raise children. You see, Hoboken is the second city in the USA with more bars per square mile. At first thought most parents would think about getting out of here as soon as possible! But to live in Hoboken or NYC is like living inside college. Living inside college with my kids, and since they are small, so they have plenty of opportunities to learn from me on how to behave inside college! There will be no big city lights seducing them. The kids will also know plenty of people that made it to Broadway, or to Wall Street, or to the movies but they will also see the whole realistic picture of their lives, not just the dreamy vision the movies sell. 

The other point is that inside Hoboken you have the old, the young, the rich, the poor, a diversity of people all packed together. They can see the real world, they can learn to accept people different than themselves, they can learn to care for others as they interact with them. And they can see good role models too. Lots of young people that care. And personally important to me, many passionate christian young people that want to make a difference with their lives. The kind of people that will be essential for them as they grow up. When my hair is all white, and the skin is hanging down and my fashion taste is not as cool, they can look around and see cool yet good role models and hopefully want to follow that kind of role model. 

A lot of times what happens when kids are raised in a bubble is that when the bubble pops, they find out the the outside is in fact bright and not dark as their parents once told them, therefore, they think, my parents were lying, or out of touch with reality. Yes, the outside is bright, and sometimes very bright, but the lights are staged, the smoke is fake, and the cool young people will also become old someday, just like their parents.

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