Saturday, November 7, 2009

Another one of those Moments

There are so many moments and events that make me feel like the worst parent ever. There are countless times I have wondered why Heavenly Father entrusted these children to me. I have shed many tears as I have rethought about things that have happened and analyze my actions or lack of them. I am aware of my responsibility to teach my children how to behave, show respect, and get along with others. And there are so many times I feel so inadequate for this challenge of being a parent and feel like I am failing miserably.

I don't tell this event to ask for sympathy or a pat on the back with a "we've all been there" or "It's ok". I know I failed today and deserved to be criticized for my parenting. It was another of those moments where I was weak and wasn't consistent and was caught in my folly.

My children and I attended a Veteran's concert this evening. My husband had something else he was doing so it was me with the four kids. The concert was performed by the band I had been a part of the last few years. It was held in a building with a lovely park nearby. I promised my kids we could play at the park for a bit after the concert. I spent much of the concert telling my kids to not kick the seat in front of them and to stay in their seats but more or less they behaved alright. So we went to the park.

<After playing at the playground for awhile my kids asked to go and see the memorial. There is a Veteran's memorial at this park with a statue of two men in military dress carrying guns. We have been to this park many times and have visited this memorial and read about each of the branches of the military and the other things that are described there. It, along with the ducks and geese are what my children remember this park for.

My kids ran ahead of me to get to the memorial. I had the baby in the sling so wasn't able to keep up with them. As I was walking into the memorial I noticed a new plaque that described some action in Afghanistan and I stopped and started to read it. Out of the corner of my eye I could see my kids running around the small enclosed area of this memorial. They were examining the statue up close which required them to climb up onto the platform. They were all there and accounted for so kept reading. I was going through the names and ranks of the men on the walls when a lady came up and asked me if these were my children. I looked up and saw my children, as well as a few others, and said "some of them". She then went on to tell me how disrespectful it was for me to let them climb on the statue and show such disrespect for our military. She went on to, rather loudly, tell me that in her day parents taught their children how to behave. She then proceeded to tell me how my generation doesn't know anything about respect.

I admit I was on the defensive. I don't like to be yelled at. How dare she speak to me like this. I wanted to defend myself but instead just told my kids to get down and we left. On the drive home I had tears in my eyes as I tried to justify my lack of parenting and thinking how rude she was for saying such things to me, but realizing I had failed to curb my children. The woman was right to scold me. I had allowed my children to run wild through a memorial and show no respect for what it was honoring.

So to the lady at the park.... I am truly sorry. I will remember your reprimand each time we go to that park and most likely anytime we ever go to another Memorial.

Being a parent is really hard. The difficulty often is in the consistency. I know I am far from doing things right, all the time. I hope I get some things right at least some of the time and that my kids turn out decent, honorable people despite my failings. I am trying, but often stumble in my attempt. I guess it is good to have these experiences to make me work that much harder.


Stephanie said...

I know you said you don't want sympathy or anything like that, but I just wanted I am sorry that the lady yelled at you and made you doubt yourself as a parent. I can't speak for all Vets, but I can assure you that not one of the 10 in my family would even think for second that you or your children were being disrepectful. They would be happy that you were taking the time to share the Memorial with your children. Children are children, they play, they laugh, they climb. THAT is what our Vets fought and are fighting to defend. Please don't beat yourself up.

Jen said...

Wow, I'm so sorry she felt the need to criticize you in that way. You know, we are all always trying to be better, and thank goodness kids are resilient in spite of the times when we don't, or can't, be consistent with them.