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April 4th, 2000

It’s time to parent again.

Preface: parenting is not easy. I am not a parent, but I can only imagine the time, energy, and resources that go in to being a parent. However, parenting has never been easy – at least not to the best of my knowledge.

Yesterday I heard a story on the news, duplicated here, that explains that swim programs for toddlers won’t teach toddlers not to drown. It was presented on the news with the parental focus, stressing that – get this – parents should watch their children when they’re in the water!

Stuff like this isn’t news to anyone with a drop of common sense, yet it’s on the news every night, so someone isn’t getting the message. What troubles me more is the overwhelming lack of personal responsibility parents seem to take nowadays. Your kid is doing drugs? Well, it’s not your fault! Must be all that TV he watches. Your kid has poor self-esteem? Could be those fashion mags she reads – but it’s not your fault. She smokes? He likes booze? She curses all the time? Blame it on television, radio, music, movies, sports… anything but yourself.

Truth of the matter is, it all starts with parenting. The entertainment industry is not a babysitter. The Internet is not a babysitter. Yet, we keep looking for more ways to restrict content and expression and art, all because… we’re using these things as babysitters. It’s a lot easier to give the kids $20 and send them to see Whatever It Takes. But when they come home talking about things like sex like it’s as natural as brushing one’s teeth, it’s going to be up to the parent to set the record straight.

Instead, most will blame the movie. And that’s sad. You bring a child into this world, you are responsible for getting him or her started in the right way. -pm

Ryan Macmichael returns tomorrow with his moving "Stories from the American Countryside" series.

Posted in Miscellaneous

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