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In Focus

Parents & The Roles They Play

by Bill Stephens, Metro News Photographer | Monday, 12 March 2018 | 5:30 a.m. CT | Early Morning Edition
CHICAGO, IL - This column was named In Focus as my primary background is photography. However, it is designed to bring into focus all of the grey areas in life and current society. Today, I am going to focus on parents.
We know parents. Some of us are parents. Some are biologically parents to us while others are not by blood, but by action and as a form of respect. We define parents in many different ways. In the beginning, before we were considered to be “civilized”, it was simply defined by biology; we mated and reproduced. These days a parent can have any number of titles.
Mom & Dad, Mom & Stepdad, Stepmom & Dad, Mom & Mom, Dad & Dad and of course some children are raised by Aunts, Uncles and Grandparents. Then there are the non-family parents- foster and adoptive parents. We also have our countries founding fathers. Well, one father, George Washington, and then a bunch of Uncles, 56 in all. And yes, there were Aunts involved; active women in the formation of our country even though none were signers of the document.

•The Curveball: Single Parenting, Moms & Dads•

While there are more single and/or divorced mom's than single and/or divorced dads, this responsibility is more than twice as hard, rearing, guiding, teaching and providing for the children alone with not much outside assistance.
All I can say is been there, done that and I would have preferred to have more help through it all. I can’t tell you how many times I had second guessed if I was doing it right or making the right decision. The most challenging was being a dad raising a daughter and travelling through the obstacle course of puberty.
Bottom line, we are all here for children to educate, love and ready them with the hopes that they will become productive members of society. For the first eighteen years, add nine months, especially for the mom's, we are all charged by nature and social responsibility to care and provide for our children.
By the time we all turn eighteen, we should have a pretty good idea of what direction we are going to take in life. At eighteen, we should have been exposed to enough of society to understand what is acceptable and what is forbidden. As the child becomes an adult, we are still a parent, however the job description does change a bit.

•Roles – Parental Promotion or Demotion?•

As parents, we become more of an advisor and friend or at least we hope to be and we continue to guide our children although with less force. By this point, the child as an adult is free to make decisions per the direction they wish their life to take. it’s called free will. Yes, we have all made bad decisions, stepped in it, as it were and yes our parents can be there to help you out, but sometimes it’s totally up to you. As a parent we have all made bad decisions and the old “learning from our mistakes”, can be a great tool to help our kids through theirs.
By this time you may be wondering – what is this all about? As we progress through middle age and beyond, we start to enter the time when we may lose our parents. Some are lost earlier than others. I lost my dad 21 years ago. I lost my lunch partner. We used to meet up at least a couple of times a month for lunch to just talk, bitch, commiserate about life and pick each other's brain. The day he passed I called him to meet for lunch, but he never answered the phone. He was already gone.
Of late, I have had two friends lose a parent. And while it is never easy, it will always seem like it just happened. I know what they are going through and the best advice I can give them is to remember the best times, even the bad times and all the times that they were there for you. Keep them alive in your stories to your children so they have a feel for their parents and grandparents that have passed on.

•Being Today's Modern Parent•

The news of late has not been the most pleasant, in fact it has made our society look horrible. Certain groups are trying to make changes that go against the very fabric of our country’s being. Let me state that I am not here to promote or object to any political agenda. I see people attacking our most treasured documents that laid out the blueprint for our country and also spelled out our basic rights.
This blueprint has not failed us for more than two centuries. However, over the last 30 years, I have witnessed the slow destruction of our education system, reducing knowledge of our country’s origins and basic rights. I have seen the government interfering in our rights as parents to teach respect, common sense and discipline to our children. Forcing changes on our education system that is “dumbing down” our newer generations to control their beliefs and ultimately votes.
And let's not forget them not allowing parents to teach respect, common sense and discipline to our children and relying only on the now flawed government education system and/our electronic society, violent video games, as well as omitting and even deleting the history of our country. The deletion of history has left us with generations of children and young adults that don’t have a clue where we came from or how we got here. If you don’t know what happened and when, you can’t understand how we got here.
The decline of our nation started when the government stepped in and dictated to parents how to correct and discipline our children. So how can we fix this?

•The Fix In Three Easy Steps•

First, we need to teach our children to respect authority, but still challenge it without violence or damaging property. We have reared our children to pass the blame onto others without them having to deal with the consequences of their actions. THIS NEEDS TO STOP!
These are our children and they should remain kids as long as possible – do not put adult responsibility on them. Remove their ability to choose. We need to make them understand we are the parent and there are things that they have no choice in.
Second, be a parent. Let the young people know what they are required to do and what is expected of them. Lay out the consequences – tell them, "NO." Tell them when they are wrong. Acknowledge them when they are right.
Third, teach your children to respect others and themselves. Teach them it is okay to fail as we all make mistakes and we should learn from them. Currently, we as parents have failed our children and this is what has failed in our society.
We have allowed our government to tamper with the very fabric of our parental rights to raise law abiding, God-fearing and respectful members of society. It’s time to take back our rights and our children! Our government was designed to protect us without interfering in states or individual rights.
The Bill of Rights is a list of limits on government power. In the Bill of Rights and amendments to the U.S. Constitution, there were originally seventeen listed amendments. Twelve of those were approved by the U.S. Senate and sent to the individual states to be ratified. Ten of the twelve were quickly approved (ratified). Virginia’s legislature became the last to ratify The Amendments on December 15, 1791. The Bill of Rights is a list of limits on government power.

•Parent James Madison Authored the Bill Of Rights•

For example, what the Founders saw as the natural right of individuals to speak and worship freely was protected by the First Amendment’s prohibitions on Congress from making laws establishing a religion or abridging freedom of speech.
For another example, the natural right to be free from unreasonable government intrusion in one’s home was safeguarded by the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirements. I bring up the Bill Of Rights for the following reason. In the wake of events that have happened of late and the pain I have seen and heard from the parents that have suffered loss.
While I have not suffered that kind of loss, after spending hours listening to the parents and feeling their pain, one thing is still very clear. Making a knee-jerk reaction blaming an object for what was clearly a single persons action goes against the very fabric of our founding fathers wishes for our country.
There were a number of things that failed leading up to that day. Law enforcement failed to act on information that was provided to them NOT just once, but more than 30 times. Since “9-11”, we have been told if we see something say something – Officials were told and did nothing.
Had law enforcement acted this would not have happened, in fact, the offender would have lost his freedom long ago.
It is important to realize why our rights are spelled out and trying to remove those rights because of the actions of a very few can turn our country into a tyrannical state and we will no longer be free. I have a number of solutions that will not infringe on law abiding citizens rights and solidify the safety of our children.
As a parent, I know I would be much more relaxed if the changes were put in place. We the people, do not need more laws – we need to teach our children what is right and how to respect each other. Contact me if you would like to know more.

Editorial Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the above article are those of the author and his sources and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of this publication.