The Ethics Dunce post highlighting prominent lawyer and legal commentator Lara Bazelon’s op-ed celebrating her decision to place her career and the welfare of clients over the best interests of her own children didn’t attract a lot of commentary, but the comments that arrived were excellent and often moving, and readers related her dilemma to their own lives. There have been three Comments of the Day so far. I’m going to post them in the order in which they arrived.
Here is JP’s Comment of the Day on “Ethics Dunce: Professor Lara Bazelon”:
About 8 ½ years ago, I became a father. As I looked down at my newborn son, I couldn’t help but note was how small he was. How beautiful he looked. How unprepared I was to be in this situation. It’s funny the way life teaches us lessons. For example, did you know an 18-month-old could lock you out of your house? Or that a 2-year-old could operate an elevator? How about a 3-year-old using deception to win a game of hide and seek? Maybe that a 4-year-old could teach himself to swim?
It hasn’t been easy taking care of my oldest. From the beginning of his life, he has always been too interested in what was going on to care about being held or even staying in one place. His confidence has given him a unique perspective on the world where everything is a new adventure. It seems that he always must be in the thick of things. But here I am, trying to keep up, increasingly more aware that I am falling further behind and time is running out.
So, what can I do? What would you do? I know we are not alone. There are roughly 83 million families in the United States (14 million single parents). All of us are trying to raise our children to the best of our abilities, while keeping up with their talents, working, managing the home, and everything else that requires us to balance the scales of life. Even when money and resources are not a problem (for most of us they are), it is still no easy feat.
Children are one of the many gifts God has given us. The most perfect being in all of creation decided an imperfect being was going to take care of two children. What could possibly go wrong? Perhaps the older of the two would find the cake from the previous night and get it all over the furniture while the parent was locked out. Or maybe, he would roam the halls after getting off the elevator and then get back on, while his dad searched. Did he know I could tell he was in the bathroom, when he told me he was in the bedroom during our game of hide-and-seek? Did he count on me to save him when he took off his life jacket to finally swim on his own?
When it comes to parenting, our job is to work ourselves out of a job. God’s high calling for us is to be healthy adults, responsible citizens, and loving parents. Paul writes in Ephesians 6:4, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” There is no sure-fire way to be the perfect loving parent because, let’s be honest, sometimes they drive us crazy. There are ways to help you be a better parent.
First, seek wise counsel. Talk to your parents, make friends with other parents, and/or look up community resources. Find something that works for you and your situation.
Second, show your children love, not acceptance. Children need to feel physical and emotional love such as a hug or words of encouragement. You don’t have to agree with everything they do (and certainly not accept everything they do), but grace should always take precedence over discipline and control. After all, God gives us grace even when we don’t deserve it (Romans 3:23-24).
Third, give them discipline and guidance. Not out of anger, but to teach them to be better. After all, those who love their children are careful to discipline them (Proverbs 13:24).
Finally, teach them about the love of God (Deuteronomy 6:4-8). It is in God’s love where we truly learn to love others (Galatians 5:13-15). As you move forward, you will adjust, but stay consistent and know you are not alone.