Work. The place where many a conversation happen. One of my coworkers, Mary, was talking about how though it is summer she still will not allow her 11-year-old son to stay up late. Another coworker, Kay, says that since Mary’s son is a straight A student he should be able to stay up late through the summer and that if Mary does not loosen up on her son he will rebel. I offered that it was not ridiculous that Mary would not allow her 11-year-old to stay up late during the summer and that discipline does not produce rebellion.

Though I have never raised a child, I am not that far removed from my childhood upbringing. My parents were structured, not strict but there were definitely things that we were not allowed to do and that would not be permitted, I believe that due to my upbringing I am who I am today.  As we continued the discussion I was told by Kay that my children will be bad because I will have structure for them. I advised that my children would not be bad, and further if she felt that way she wouldn’t be around them because she would influence them to be bad, at which time she said that I lived in a bubble if I thought that everything would go as planned. I advised her that living in a bubble would mean that I would expect that my children would be perfect, which is not anything that I mentioned, there is a difference between bad children and regular children. Regular children do things against what you have taught them to do on occasion and that is very different from a bad child.

As we further continued the discussion it appeared that Kay almost believes there should be little to no discipline for a child because “they are going to do what they are going to do” because “each child has their own personality.” I thought this amusing seeing as Kay considers herself to be a Christian though the Bible says in Proverbs 22:6 :

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

In order to train up a child there needs to be discipline. When I say discipline I don’t mean punishment for wrong doing, I am talking about structure. Without structure it is impossible to be successful. I thought it funny that Kay would say that structure should warrant rebellion when her son is a part of the armed forces for the U.S government.

Kay advised that a parent should be lax with their child until they, the child, prove that they otherwise needed extra limits. Its interesting seeing as that with making a clear outline on what is expected and what will not be accepted cannot be done as a punishment, because you cannot hold a child responsible for what they have not been taught. True enough many of us have strayed from the plan that our parents had for us, but for most of us we have not gone that far off. Kay also advised that because they will ultimately do “whatever are going to do” there should not be structure.

Structure is needed to have an effective life. Without structure you can’t even be a successful inmate. Everything about the life that we live is about following structure, and when that is not done there are repercussions. To raise a child without structure is to do your child an injustice. It made me sad for the grandchild of this woman. I feel that she could be someone would slowly reverse what could be instilled in a child by reinforcing negative behaviors with the mantra, he or she “is just a child and they need to be free to be as a child.”

Through this experience I have learned that many people look at the mistakes they have made and regret, even shun, the process that got them to the point were they are. People say that they don’t regret anything because it made them who they are. I believe you can regret things that you have done but not the process that has brought you to where you are.  I say that because everything is a process. We get from point a to point b through a process and the bumps that we gain along the way allow us to know what works and what doesn’t and also why the structure that our parents tried so hard to instill does work and is effective. True enough there are some things that we are taught by our parents that we truly don’t ever feel were much-needed guidance but not everything you learn in school or on your job is something that you actually use, its apart of life. I remember when my sister and I were talking to some small children about doing things that you don’t want to do and one of the boys said “because that’s life.” If at the age of 4 a child can grasp that concept why is it when we become adults we feel like everything is up for interpretation or debate? Why is it when we grow up with little options when we get older we feel that life without options is not life? There is something about being simple that is enlightening.

“Simplicity provides a fine line between eloquence and plainness.”

Simply taking in Beyonce’s One + One and Chrisette Michele’s Love is You while in Tart Deco with a slash of In Stitches.

                                 -Imagoodgrl

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