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Parents Wanted - No Experience Required?

Nov 7, 2007
Burger flippers get training, so do crossing guards and street sweepers - but not parents. As soon as sperm fertilizes an egg, we become human sculptors. We're given approximately seven pounds of protoplasm to mold and manage, help and heal, teach and train, comfort and care for. I can't help thinking the world would be a better place if we were trained to do it - if we were trained to take care of the next generation - the generation that will take care of us.

In spite of my mother taking good care of me, I told myself I'd do things differently when I had children. I didn't. I yelled. I sent my sons to their rooms without listening to their explanations. I made up excuses to get out of chaperoning class trips. One thing I didn't do, however, was say, "Wait until your father gets home". Because my mother was a single mother, she never said that. She handed out immediate consequences. So did I. My sons didn't appreciate that. They wanted to be like their friends. They wanted to wait until their father got home.

Because I didn't have any brothers, I didn't have any idea how to raise boys. All I could do was my best; and thankfully, my best got better. I discovered boys weren't girls with penises. I bought Band-Aids instead of Barbie dolls.

When our boys started school, John and I started rewarding them for good grades. As they got older, ice cream turned into money - the better the grade, the more money. Some parents thought we were bribing our sons. Maybe theses parents thought getting a raise for good work was a bribe too.

Although I never thought I'd suffer empty nest syndrome, we had two empty rooms too fast. Eventually, the two empty rooms turned into offices. Now John and I have room to grow. I also have time to think; and if I could do it all over again, I'd want a diploma in parenting first. That way I'd avoid the pain of the unknown and Dr. Blakely would avoid my hot-line calls. "My son's crying!" "He won't drink his milk!" "He has a rash!" When I had our first son, John was in Vietnam. While John fought for Uncle Sam, Dr. Blakely fought for my sanity. I think he did a good job. After all, I had a second child.
About the Author
KNIGHT PIERCE HIRST takes humorous looks at life.
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