As parents, we try to do the very best job we can raising our children to become law abiding, honest, upstanding, and self-sufficient members of society. We start from the day they're born by showing them unbiased and unconditional love. We do our best to teach them the difference between right and wrong, good and bad, and the difference between yes I can and no I can't. We work hard to provide them with shelter, food, and education.We try to teach them to embrace knowledge, to get a good education and to make choices as to which direction they want their lives to go. We provide for them, and we continue to support them.We send them off to college with hope they will learn how to stand and live on their own.
Some children are smart and get part time jobs to help supplement what parents give them or what they receive as a stipend. Unfortunately, some do not and continue to sponge off their parents. Our hope is by the time they graduate, the major they selected will enable them to succeed in a promising career and become self-sufficient. Some will marry and have children of their own thus keeping the cycle going. But most important, we try to teach them that every choice — every decision they make in their life will bring about some type of consequence.
I have said all this because I have a question to which I do not have an answer. At what point in our children's lives do we cut the proverbial apron strings and no longer support them? Is it right or wrong for our children to marry, have a family, and still expect mom and dad to pay their bills and take care of their needs?
Here is my dilemma. I have no problem with helping someone out as long as they make an honest effort to try to help themselves. Get a job. Pay your bills or at least do the best that you can. And if you choose to marry (or not), at least provide for your children. Don't expect everyone else to carry the burden of raising or providing for your family. As I said, I see no problem with helping out as long as they make an honest effort to work and help themselves.
As a parent, I feel that children should contribute to providing for their family. It is not fair for our kids to make choices and then expect mom and dad to bail them out. If you want your kids to take dance lessons and be in recitals then you need to be able to get them to practice and pay for their costumes for recitals. If you want your children to participate in sports, then you must be able to get them to team practice and to away games as well as provide for their uniforms and accessories. If you want your child to take swimming lessons, then you need to be able to pay for their instructor as well as their pool time. We should not have to go through life with an open wallet for our children to reach into anytime they have a whim.
My family was not wealthy. I started working at a very young age on a farm for $1/hour. The money I earned bought many things that I wanted that were not necessities. They were things that my parents could not afford. They were taught right and had their priorities straight. I understood I was not entitled to these items, but had to earn them. I always had a roof over my head, food in my belly, and clothes on my back. I didn’t have the most expensive toys. I didn't have a bicycle growing up. I didn't have a game system. And computers? Never heard of them back then. We were lucky to have a calculator that could do basic math.
If we continue to give our children everything they want while there is no effort on their part to earn them. If we continue to reward them for bad behavior, then what lesson are we teaching them? What lessons — what wisdom can they pass on to their children if they've never learned it themselves? There comes a time when it is okay to help if it is our choice. When your children are in their thirties or forties it is not okay for them to expect you to help.
People live based on what they’ve learned. That knowledge will be passed on by them. History repeats itself. If it isn’t learned, then it cannot be passed forward. What do you want future generations to be like? Do you want them to be self-sufficient or expect others to pay them because they feel entitled to everything? Ask yourself those questions before you open your wallet.
Kathy Bartolotta is a resident of Tower Hill Two.