Maggie Makes Four!

This journal started off documenting the adoption of our youngest daughter. It now follows the twist and turns of our lives as we raise these two amazing little creatures into the best women they can become.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Good Kids??

There's a little girl in La Nina's class who is always late. I mean everyday and not a few minutes. Like a half hour or more. She's also never been to preschool and it's totally obvious in class, because she's the only one who struggled using scissors, identifying letters, sitting still in circle time, etc. And a couple of the Moms stand around at pick up and say, "So & so, was late again! It's such a shame. " But what they mean is " Oh, that poor kid. She's doomed to drop out of school, get pregnant young and lead a miserable life." They'll deny their innuendo, but it's there, trust me.

In my neighborhood, there are two teenage boys who are headed down very bad paths. Rumor has it one was already arrested and the other, who is younger, is hanging with a tough crowd. Both of these kids come from affluent families, not super wealthy, but those kids never wanted for much. They did well in school and sports for a long time, then all of a sudden, fell apart. And the other parents say, "Oh, those boys had everything. Things were too easy for them. That's the problem." And what they mean is, "Those two were spoiled with material possessions and lax parenting, and now they are doomed to be drug addicts and thieves."

And what I marvel at is that on both ends of the spectrum, kids struggle. The kids with very little struggle. The kids with too much struggle. And the rest of us walk a tightrope somewhere in the middle. We obsess over providing our kids the perfect diet, perfect school, perfect activity, perfect toys...I could go on. We provide for our kids, but Heaven forbid we provide too much and then we obsess over what is "too much."

So, I'm sitting here tonight wondering, where is that middleground? Does it mean that we set arbitrary rules around material possessions, such as no iPods until 10, no cell phones until 12 and no computers until 14 and that guarantees kids will turn out ok? Does it mean that Moms who really want to or really need to work stay home and the kids go without "things" because "things" don't matter and people who don't have "things" are better off? Does it mean we force fit kids into a school that isn't right for that child, just because it's good?

The truth on this is so muddled. Yet all of us seem to have an opinion. I've seen kids who've been given everything turn into wonderful people. And I've seen people who felt deprived turn into pretty horrible people. And in the end, I'm not sure that a lot of love and luck weren't the biggest influencers of all. If there's any truth in all of it, it's this: parents all love to point the finger, myself included sometimes. When in fact, we're all just doing the best we can to raise good kids.


  • At 6:04 AM , Blogger Johnny said...

    I've been on a jury panel that sentenced a 19 year old and a 17 year old to 20+ years in jail. One had a set of supportive, resigned parents/sister sitting in the front pew. The other had no one for them. In the end, you wonder where things turned sour for them.

    Everyone's worry.


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