Dick Hunt's Blog

January 2, 2010

Parents Are Like The Training Wheels On A Bike

Filed under: Current — Dick Hunt's Blog @ 4:17 pm

Parents Are Like The Training  Wheels On A Bike
by Dick Hunt,  June 3rd, 2008

When I was young I didnt have a bike.  But I did have parents, who included all of us children in the whole  Family Ranching operation.  On a busy, 24/7/365 basis, we were occupied very fully, according to our age, strength and abilities.  Our parents not only taught us well, they illustrated what they taught with their own behaviour.  We had neither the inclination nor the temptation to go  off the acceptable track.
Our parents were always clear in their directions and the reasons for their guidance.  On the rare occasions when we failed to measure up, we were disciplined, being made aware that there were consequences for misbehaviour. A commonly heard criticism of the current application of Justice is that misbehaviour does not result in appropriate punishment.  My parents punished me because I needed to be made aware that I had earned my application of  applied justice.  And I cannot recall any time when I resented them for their attention to my needs for firm guidance. I simply came to accept that they knew what was best for me and that they loved me.
On one occasion I was punished for setting a bad example for my younger brother.  I had been running across a small pond in the spring of the year on thin ice, which bore my weight as long as I kept up my speed.  Billy tried it and went too slow,  going through the ice and getting soaked in icy cold water.  My Father, who had seen the whole picture rightly applied punishment to the seat of progress.  Billy was whisked off to the house for towelling down and dry clothes, none the worse for wear.
But that is not the kind of world we live in now. It is obviously much more difficult for both parents and children to navigate the snares of evil than when I was a boy.  Privacy for many families is seriously depleated by the cluster housing of all but a small percentage of families in the developed world.  And yet there are people living in adjacent dwellings who never get beyond a hasty nod when passing on the street.   Unless they have children who are under the influence of other children who may not be so well taught and disciplined and in the interest of pleasing their peers, they try all sorts of things that can seriously harm them.
When children are using their bikes with training wheels on them, they are keen to advance in their skill to enable them to get Dad to free them up and take off the trainers. The result may be some tumbles but that is often the way  we learn.  Children advance in mobility and can get farther away from home.  Then they tax the patience of the parents who worry about their safety and try to keep them close. They  go out with other children.  The parents set a time when they must be home. They stretch the limits. How much freedom can they handle?  Peer pressure is awesome  and it is hard to say no and be called “chicken”, or whatever the in word is today.
Only now, in the culture which says anything goes and the law often  says we must not be restrained, the dangers  are greatly mutiplied.  Immorality is counted as being old fashioned, the boundaries of behaviour are stretched. Then comes the legislation which says the parents must not lift a finger to punish their children.  There have been cases when parents have been reported for spanking  and children have been taken away from them.  I was spanked a few times in my life and it did me a lot of good. I spanked our own children but very rarely indeed and only for  wilful disobedience.  I am sure  that as a result they appreciate the difference between right and wrong. My father said that if he heard that we had been physically punished at school for good reason, he would punish us again when we got home.
I have recently read in a list of  ways seniors could stretch the budget, that when we go a  public washroom  we  should take home  with us some extra toilet paper and paper towels to save ourselves money.  That is a symptom of the faulty morality that pervades our society and encouurages dishonesty and bad behaviour in our children.  When I entered the armed forces during the war, I never had trouble with discipline for I had learned from my parents that honesty is the best policy and good behaviour is the best way of life.  They taught me that we should be prepared to go the second mile to help others and not to cut corners and take the easy way out.  I am grateful in large measure for their love and guidance.  Oh, and speaking of religious training, that was all a part of it and  it all fit together beautifully.   I enjoy a Faith based morality.

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