I never want to get so grown and out-of-touch with life that I not know how to laugh and have fun. However, I still believe there is a time and place for everything. I was taught that you must be careful with what comes out of your mouth and when. I also know how important it is to show and have respect for yourself as well as others.
One of the problems, just one, is some parents today aren't teaching and applying discipline skills. Many parents are busy being best buddies with their kids rather than a good parent.
There are just certain things I will not do with my kids and certain conversations I will not engage in with my children. I will however always be open and frank about life and what's really going on; however, I will not take them to some of my inner-most and intimate places.
There can be a fine line between parent and child once a young person reaches the legal age of 17. I'm old school, so this is why I think this way. Plus, I was raised in the "projects" (public housing) by middle class-church goers. Whenever there was grown-folk talking, children had to remove themselves from the room or they were told (don't you see grown folk talking?) to leave.
I encourage you to have a life of fun, good times and good memories with your children; however, be extra careful about how far you let your hair down in front of them. You just might get things confused or twisted.
The phrase, "I don't play with children," is real to me. I almost always say what I mean and mean what I say, child or adult, and especially when talking to children. Know your limit; better yet make sure your children knows theirs.
It is your responsibility to help your children know their place, and it's your responsibility to help keep them there as long as you can. They need to know boundaries and feel loved.
I love children, I'm the proud father of four, two boys and two girls. I insist that when they leave the house everyday that they represent us well through their thoughts (attitude), behaviors (actions) and the way they dress, especially when its my money buying their clothes, and during the time they're living in my house.
I will never be embarrassed anywhere because I don't want to address poor social conduct. Just the other day I noticed a mother (age 35-40) with such an embarrassed look on her face as she an her male teen made their way back to the car across the parking lot. The young man could hardly walk, trying to keep his pants up/on. It was awful. I wanted so badly to say, he's your baby, and you probably bought those ridiculous clothes; he looked a "hot mess."
Finally, you can't be an effective parent if you weren't properly parented yourself. Giving materialistic "stuff" is NOT love and nurturing...its a false filler.
I will continue to demand the very same thing that my parents demanded of me. Respect. No Exceptions.
A Child's Place...a place designed by you!
Oz Nesbitt is a Rockdale County Commissioner. He can be reached at Oz.firstname.lastname@example.org.