Monday, September 17, 2012

Parenting - I don't care what you think

I grew up in a semi traditional catholic family with my two sisters and my parents. We were expected to do well in school, make our sacraments, work hard and become good people. I followed the rules and did what was expected. Although I wanted to be a good daughter, I have never really cared what people thought of me. I've never made decisions because it looked good to the outside world.

 Last year my husband and I watched a documentary about Pat Tillman's life. It was an amazing story about his life, his brothers, his parents, wife, the way he was brought up, the way he died and the governments attempt to cover it up. If you haven't watched it. I recommend it. His parents moved out of the city and to the country so their sons could have a little more freedom growing up. They thought it was best for them to be able to go hiking, fishing and spend time outdoors. They wanted their children to respect adults, however they did not want them to follow them blindly. They wanted their children to think for themselves and not to be afraid to question authority.

 Days after I had watched the documentary, I found myself still thinking about their way of life. I started to talk Tony about it and he said it was still on his mind too. Within a week we were searching for a home more than 30 miles away from the only city I had ever lived in. My zip code had never changed! I know 30 miles isn't across the country, but it was a HUGE move for us. My parents, one of my sisters, Tony's Grandma, brother and many other extended family members all still live in our hometown. My youngest son and my niece had been in the same class together since pre preschool. Daily family visits, my business, shopping, babysitters, coaches we had known all of our childhood that were now coaching our sons, weekly run ins to people that Tony and I had gone to school with... they were all going to be left behind. It was a scary move, but we thought a necessary one.

We wanted a better life for our sons. We wanted our sons to be able to catch frogs in the back yard, ride their bikes around the block, bring an apple to the horse at the end of our street, ride their scooter 2 blocks into town and buy a book from the bookstore, pick fresh fruit and veggies from the farm near our home, walk down to the creek and watch the small fish swim and marvel at how big the baby ducklings are getting. We too wanted to give Anthony and Vinny the freedoms the Tillman's wanted for their sons. We also want them to respect adults, but not to be afraid to ask questions and think for themselves. We don't want them to think an adults opinion is correct or more valuable than their own thoughts. I don't care what people think of the music I let my sons listen to or the "inappropriate" video games they play or if I take them to the midnight showing of Batman opening night at the theater. I don't care what the people staring at us in a restaurant with our family at 11:00 pm eating dinner are thinking. What they don't know is Daddy works at night and sometimes they don't get to see him Monday through Friday unless we meet him for an 11 pm dinner. My feelings about religion are changing. I'm not sending my sons to catechism because it is what would look good to outsiders. I don't get all of their vaccines because that is what a Dr. think would be best for my sons. They watch the news and are informed about current events in the world. We've talked to them about sex and politics. They are not sheltered. We want them to be aware of the world around them. While it can be a beautiful place it can also be filled with dangers. I don't always correct them for swearing because society thinks it is impolite. We're not politically correct. I still say sit Indian Style, not crisscross apple sauce. That one... SERIOUSLY? I'm Native American. How is that offensive? I don't get it.
 Anyway, you get the point. Well, maybe not. You maybe thinking my sons are disrespectful inappropriate crass boys with mouths like a truck driver.

Not exactly...

While they are not perfect angels all of the time, they are great kids. They work hard in school and get excellent grades. They love to read. They have an outrageous sense of humor. They love each other fiercely and are best friends. They care for our English Bully, Artie and our new huge family of fish. We treat them with respect and they treat us and others with respect. We talk to them. They are not afraid to ask us questions because they know they will get an honest answer. There is NO topic in our home that is off limits. I never want to shut down any line of communication no matter how uncomfortable the subject maybe for us as parents.

I don't care what anyone thinks of me or my parenting. Remember, I really never have. I'm not making these decisions because they are easy or look good to society. I'm making them because I'm doing what I feel is right for my family. I'm not perfect. Our approach wouldn't work for everyone. We creating our own path as a family. The only opinions that matter to me on my parenting will be Anthony and Vinny's when they are in their 20's and 30's and beyond. They can be the judge and jury.


Jannis said...

Amen, Jamie! If only all kids had parents that cared like you and Tony do. I see too many parents that talk the talk, but don't follow through. I was only with Vinny for 2 weeks in kindergarten, but he is a great kid! Keep up the great work!

Jf said...

Thanks Jannis! Very nice of you to say. We were so sad that Vinny didn't end up having you for a teacher. School was the first main reason for moving. The other things discussed in this article were the reason we moved to the area that we did.

Many students are lucky to have you as a teacher!

Curlygeekfashion said...

These are great Pictures! really impressed about the colors ...donno why but i am :D your photographies
are really really good *_*

greetings from switzerland :)