The writer of this article was once a child. However, I vividly remember various aspects of being reared by my mother. I recall certain scenes as if I am still living them. I recall them as if I am still in the midst of what I am recalling. Time plays tricks on us in this way. Therefore, we must always remember that the child comes first. Therefore, it is extremely important for parents to provide happy memories for their children. When looking back on one’s perspective childhood, the eventual adult must be able to feel the love. I constantly say to myself, I can convey to my son only half the love that my mother conveyed to me, my son would grow up feeling extremely loved.
The PTA or Parent Teacher Association has echoed in my consciousness for as long as I can remember. As a child there was this type of fear of the PTA because you did not want your mother to know that you were not doing well in school or acting up in school. From this vantage point as parent, I feel ambitious toward to PTA. This means I want to be a full participant. I want to know all my child’s teachers. I want my child’s teachers to know me. I want to assist my child with homework. I want to supplement homework with additional information. I believe it is imperative to fill in gaps in in the curriculum. My mother loved me. Yet, her formal educational level did not transcend elementary school. There were some things she did not know. She would stress the importance of education and performing better each grading period. What I recall is sitting at a table at home being frustrated because I did not understand my lessons. It was not until I reached adulthood that I began to understand that while my mother would stress the importance of learning, she was not able to actually show me the way. I should be able to sit at the table with my child. In my situation it would simply be a matter of will.
Disciple is another major concern of parenting. Our kids are all little angels. However, even angels need discipline from time to time. The question arises as to what constitutes discipline. I remember the “swich”. I use to have to go and get my own “swich” from a bush or small tree. I remember the “whooping.” Today it may be known as a whipping. I recall my mother apologizing for whipping me when I had done nothing wrong. She would simply state that this one was far all the times I got away with something with which I was not supposed to get away. Back in the day discipline was also carried out in the school. My high school principle had what he called the “Board of Education.” My fourth grade teacher had a leather strap that she nick named “Sally Mae.” Some argue that corporal punishment within the Black community has a direct link to enslavement. Herein lie many conflicts between Child Protective Services and a cultural legacy of corporal punishment. The Bible says “spare the rod and spoil the child.” The Bible also says “train up a child in the way they should go; and when they are old they will not depart from it.” For many years I have assessed parenting from a spectator’s vantage point. Now I approach it as a practitioner. I look back on my own corporal punishment. I have no negative memories. However, I am in a quandary about myself as a parent and the use of corporal punishment. Can timeouts and playtime denials truly take the place of the spanking?
When a child is born they are so close to you. You want to hold them 24/7 and never let them go. Many have told me that children grow up fast. These moments of infancy are fleeting. The toddler is little more than a brief dance. The hard lesson that I have learned is that from the moment the child is born, it is incumbent upon the parent to teach the child how to be independent. This means that no matter how close I want my child to be to me, I must always teach them how to be away from me. This reality first hit me when I had to drop my son off at day care and he cried wanting to get back in my arms. I felt like crying also when I got back to the car. It is a crucial balancing act to teach a child how to go away from you while at the same time giving them all the love you can muster. I also noticed that when my son, his mother, and I left the hospital; we were not given a “How to Parent Manual.”