There’s been a lot of talk about race relations lately, and here in Atlanta, you can’t turn on the television without being reminded of how unfairly certain segments of the population feel they’re being treated. Right or wrong, it’s a fact of life and one that I doubt we’ll ever see settled in my lifetime.
Regardless, there appears to be no end to the number of "experts" who have an opinion on what this group should do, or what that group should get as recompense, but it seems to me that society is overlooking perhaps THE most valuable resource we have when it comes to equality and living together peacefully — Parents.
Most notably, parents of similarly-aged, same sex children.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about here, the next time you’re out in public around families, I invite you to pull up a chair and watch the wonderment that is an intelligent parent successfully negotiating toys, snacks and general sharing with two little boys or girls:
Parent: "Here Mikey, here’s YOU a purple popsicle…"
Little Tommy: "But I wanted the purple popsicle!"
Parent: "Don’t worry Tommy, I have a purple popsicle for YOU too. See, you BOTH have a purple popsicle."
You could remove "popsicle" and insert any number of nouns here–car, toothbrush, goldfish, you name it–and the scenario would similarly play out. Now true, not every parent is adept at this sort of negotiating, but just about any parent who runs a house based on discipline AND love, could show some of our nation’s negotiators a thing or two.
However, there are times when a parent has to tell one child or the other a simple, "No." Maybe it’s because the child isn’t old enough, or mature enough for whatever it is his or her other sibling has, and that’s part of life too. Physically we may be all created equally, but we don’t mature equally and our life experiences don’t render us all equal at all moments of our lives. Just because a child thinks he’s ready for a slushy, doesn’t mean it won’t slip out of his little hands and end up a disasterous sticky mess on the floorboard of the car. And isn’t it better to just tell them "no" up-front rather than tan their hide later for something we shouldn’t have let them do in the first place?
There’s a lot of wisdom in good parenting. It’s a shame that such simple and straightforward dealing isn’t possible with adults. In many ways, petulant adults can be worse than kids when they don’t get their way. (And YES Lord, I realize you MAY be talking to me here too…)