Dear President Obama,
I listened to the interview on Good Morning America regarding fatherhood, and you made some very good points. Judging from what we can see, Malia and Sasha are wonderful you women, so you and the First Lady must be doing a very good job.
I have to agree completely on one of the points you made about structure and setting limits, but most of all that ‘your child isn’t your friend, at least when they’re young’.
There are certain things that are not negotiable any more… parents have to make it very clear at an early age that going to college is a ‘must’. No if’s and’s or but’s about it. In order to compete in today’s world, as we know it, kids must go to college if they plan on being successful in the ‘business’ world. I’m not counting the kids that know they want to be a carpenter, contractor, or any of the necessary trades or in the service industry, that keep this country moving forward. But if you plan on being a doctor, lawyer, or Commander and Chief, you need a top-notch education.
Recently, scientists are discovering that a persons brain is not fully developed until their mid-twenties… in particular, the part of the brain that allows us to project long term consequences of our actions. That’s one of the reasons it’s so sad to see “kids” tried as adults at a younger and younger age. Of course we are shocked when a 14 year old murders somebody, and we rationalize that at that age they know the difference between right and wrong. That may be true, but do they know what the long-term consequences of their actions will mean for their entire future? I don’t think that even enters their young minds.
All this brings me to two of my grandchildren… don’t get me wrong, they are great kids, they have never done drugs, or engaged in illegal activities. They have always been well mannered and respectful of their teachers and other adults. They have friends and are generally well adjusted. The real problem is their parents… my son and daughter-in-law are excellent parents in every way except one. They let their ‘kids’ make adult decisions that are not in their best interests. For example: my grand daughter has a boyfriend that used to live in the Boston area, and about a year and a half ago she wanted him to come to stay around Christmas time. Unfortunately this guy is almost 29 (she was 18), he has a 6 year old boy that he does not support because he has no job. He was allowed to come and live at their house, and basically move in to my grand daughters bedroom. The parents didn’t like it but they were afraid she would move to Boston. Then they allowed my grandson to take his GED and drop out of high school because he was bored. The plan was to enroll in college right away so he could become a ‘video game programmer’ or something along those lines. No thoughts as to how much that was going to cost, and of course things are not going according to ‘the plan’.
Long story, short… you are not your kids ‘friend’, you are their parent and it is your responsibility to act in their ‘best interests’… even if they don’t like it. I can only pray that things turn out well for both of them because they are great kids… with not so great parents.
Your Gadfly Granny