The other day I went to the blood lab for a blood test. When I presented my paper work (remember I live in the happy world of Socialised Medicine) the technician gave me a long face accompanied by a sophisticated eye roll and a dismissive hand wave. I thought I did something wrong, when I discovered the real reason for her consternation. She had no idea what kind of test my doctor had ordered.
Apparently the codes printed on my paper meant nothing to her computer. She asked me to stand by while she called the doctor’s office, who in turn called the doctor, who in turn called the head of the lab until they tracked down the elusive meaning of the enigmatic code that pointed to my blood test. I pulled up my sleeve and hoped for the best. I know they drew some blood. I hope they got the right test.
A seasoned technician, the woman knew to distract her patient while administering the prick (you know, the one we all hate, but are loath to admit it) so she engaged me in stimulating conversation. She explained that she advocated for a new program several years earlier that would have required doctors to fill out their own paper work for blood tests. (Imagine that!) This way, doctors could be explicit about the tests they wanted, which would have saved time down at the lab.
As it turned out, doctors were not enamored with the program and punted the ball (or passed the puck, I’m in Canada after all) to their secretaries. The secretaries have no idea what these foreign sounding codes stand for and don’t bother to find out. They simply fill out the form and pass the puck to the blood lab. The lab get’s caught holding the puck and have to put the entire lab on ice (okay enough with the puns or I might get called for icing) while they figure everything out.
I sat there thinking, so what else is new? We shirk our responsibilities and let others worry about them. It is emblematic of our times. Our leaders borrow money and build up debt and never worry about paying back. If there is a debt in the next generation, we will be long gone - let our children will worry about it.
We send our children off to school and spend the rest of the day focused on work. When we come home and discover that our child fluffed off the day and learned nothing, we call the teacher to complain. We keep punting the ball and passing the puck, but at some point someone will need to face the music. And why should someone else have to face our music?
Our children need us to care for them. Our children need us to focus on them. Our children need us to pay attention to them. We can’t just pay a baby sitter, pay a nanny, pay a tutor, pay a teacher and be done with it. The next generation is growing up right under our noses whether we recognize it or not. That they will grow up is a foregone conclusion. Whether they will have a happy demeanor, a balanced personality and a normal outlook depends largely on us.
If they know their parents love them, they will love themselves and their children too. If they sense that their parents care more for their hobbies, interests, business and bank account than they do for their children, then they will grow up angry. There will be anger, there will be hatred and there will be suffering. And who will they blame?
We all know the answer to that, but we fail to worry about it. After all, it is going to be their problem and we haven’t done anything wrong. We paid substantial amounts to baby sitters and nannies and don’t our kids know we love them? Can’t they just get out of our hair and stop being a nuisance?
No my dear friends, our children are the one ball we cannot punt. We have to run with them until the end of the line. Only then, will they be empowered to run their own race. Only then can we hope that they will be happy. Only then will they become loving parents to their own children.
They depend on us. Their entire well being, their happiness, their self image all depends on us. We can make them or break them without even trying. Without even knowing. It is time to wake up and recognize that what we say and do around our children, matters. Children are not strong enough to tell us when they cringe in fear or break in disappointment. They hide their feelings just as well as adults so we can’t convince ourselves all is right just because they haven’t told us something is wrong.
Let me tell you this and I speak from experience. If your daughter asks you to attend a school play, make time and attend. If your son pushed your buttons and you got mad, ask for forgiveness. Just because they laugh and play with you tomorrow doesn’t mean that won’t be shattered the day after. They need affirmation, they need love. The more, the merrier.
This might be hard for us to do if we didn’t grow up with love. If our parents were harsh to us, it might be hard for us to be soft to our children. But that is not a good enough excuse because there is never an excuse for using an excuse. Our children shouldn’t suffer just because their parents did. The line needs to stop somewhere and why not with us? Why punt the ball downfield and ruin yet another generation?
Let’s remember this. The emotional well being of generations top come depends on how we treat our children. Our children will give their children exactly what we give them and their children will give our great grandchildren exactly what they were given and the line goes on and on. If we give them love, they will give their children love. And as a famous poet once said somewhere sometime, if not… not!