Sliding out of the booth she stood and turned towards her daughter she said,“Mommy’s goin’ outside for a break did y’all want to come with?”
Her daughter about six or seven stood and reached for her momma’s hand and they left the restaurant. Wasn’t long after I spotted them out the side window, momma sat on the bench, took out a cigarette lit it and exhaled the smoke – it blew to her left right into her daughters face. Her daughter spent the next ten minutes with her head bent or facing left in order to avoid the second-hand smoke. Deadly mom – deadly.
Ten year old Jason hollered out, “Hey mom – where’s dad? He said he’d be here to take me out today.” Jason’s mom walked into his bedroom from the kitchen and replied,“I don’t know, he hasn’t spoken with me for weeks.” Sure he said he’s comin’ to get y’all?” Jason, getting up off his bed turned and walked to the window, leaning forward and placing both hands on the windowsill while looking out responded, “I’m never sure with him – I guess he just doesn’t love me enough to care.” Deadly dad – deadly.
This was the third report card her son received this year, and as she did with the last two she put it aside without looking at the content or associated comments. Her son looked at her and said, “Teacher says y’all got to read this and sign it.” She turned to her son and said why? Devon looked down and whispered, “I’m failing.” She responded, “Them damn teachers just not doin’ their job.” Devon looking up at her replied, “Maybe if you were interested in my grades or spent a little time with me I might do better in school.” “Hell boy – it’s y’all job to do well not mine.” Deadly mom – deadly.
While stopped at the traffic light a black SUV pulled next to me at the intersection of Commerce and New Franklin roads – without much thought I looked over to my right and there sat dad with his cell phone in hand, texting with enthusiasm. Took only a few more seconds until I realized there were two young children in the rear seat – both jumping around obviously without seatbelts. The light changed and the SUV pulled out ahead of me – as we headed down the road towards Walmart I caught up with “dad” and as I passed him his children were still jumping around the back seat and he was still texting with both hands – forearms on the steering wheel. Deadly dad – deadly.
There is absolute truth in the statement “times are different”. Things have changed all around us – perhaps one of the most obvious changes is “parenting” – or perhaps better put, the decline of parenting. More and more parents have pushed the success of education into the laps of their child’s teachers – simply not so, parents should be their child’s primary educational support and partner. More and more parents ignore the legal mandate to have their children secured by seat belts while driving, and more and more embrace the necessity of “texting” as apparently more important than the safety of the children.
Serious question indeed – “parents – where are they?” Perhaps it’s just found in the absence of caring – or the illiteracy of some parents, but make no mistake – smoking in the presence of your children is both deadly and abusive. And perhaps most important – a parent must be there. If you are an absent parent know this – without a doubt you are living your life embraced by shame and failure. There is nothing as sad as an absent parent.