Back in the day, parenting was a solemn duty to rear children who would one day make you proud. But this practice seems to be nearing some sort of event horizon. Sometimes, it feels that the child you raised is an unknown creature spawned from hell and then the following day, a perfect angel in disguise.
What’s with the multiple personalities? I think it’s a matter of growing up and gaining maturity at an exponential rate. When we were five years old, snot was allowed to be blown off our shirt collars. But today, it’s quickly tucked away in some probiotic-drenched and damp cloth thinly disguised as a tissue and discarded in the nearest bin covered in outlines of needles and other bodily waste containers. Ahhh, the days when spitting on the sidewalk was actually a manly deed.
Today, parenting seems to involve quite a number of people besides the parents. It starts with a group of people at a fun party and nine months later, voila, parenthood. Then the grandparents kick in on both sides to woo and coo over your child until it’s old enough to start opening cupboards and playing with your dangerous knife collection. Then a bus driver and bus monitor stop by to pick up your little loved ones and drop them off at a daycare, where institutionalized love and care take over while you and your colleagues slogged away for the money to support you and the kid(s). The daycare soon transforms into a school where a larger institution awaits to keep your kids’ minds sharp for the next decades. In that period, hundreds of people have access to your child’s life and contribute to their growth.
Take for example, a guy like Donald Trump, who apparently was driven pretty hard by his hard-working parents, especially his father, who was an institution in the real estate world and the main character in the Trump household. Then one day young Donald left home to become bigger and greater, and eventually becoming the President of the United States. I guess it’s safe to say that Trump the Elder would be pretty proud of his son, being commander-in-chief and all.
When I look at ourselves and the incredible support structure we have, like, why don’t we have a lot more people like Trump or Trudeau or astronaut Hadfield. Is it because our system, which substitutes for parents for most of our lives, has let us down? Or do we let ourselves down? Why is it that we can’t look at ourselves as probably being the most fortunate people on the planet incapable of producing neurosurgeons or those positive role models who are splashed all over the social media and television? Maybe it’s time to start grinding at the very basic element that seems to be lacking in our structure – strong parenting.
If we look at Trump today, you can see that he is a product of a strong parent in the way he acts towards the rest of the world. No, you can’t cross the border and play in my backyard. No, you can’t say those sacrilegious words in my home. No, you can’t have a piece of the American pie and eat it too unless you conform to my idea of what the perfect child looks like – a proud American with no affiliation to anything other than milk-textured skin. No chocolate milk in my household… sorry.
I think, that perhaps I could appreciate the hard-earned traditional value of strong parenting if it were acceptable to today’s concepts of child rearing. It just doesn’t apply to countries though, albeit Canada and the good old USA are just newcomers to the world of nation-building and in all intents and purposes, mere children compared to the longstanding statehoods of Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and the Americas. Maybe it’s our turn to say, “No! You can’t!” to Donald Trump.