Caught: Drive By Parenting

We all know the scene. The yellow tape is up. Evidence abounds. The smell of what just took place is still in the air. A few people stand around trying to figure why it had to happen this way. What ever happened to personal responsibility? A woman on the corner is being interviewed hurriedly by a local reporter:

“Ma’m, what happened?” the reporter shortly asks with an oddly neutral diction for these parts of the country.

“Well, I reckon the fella just thought no one would care. When people don’t stick around, its cause they don’t care enough. They just ain’t thinkin strait! If I eva…”

There are my kids. Like this scene, waiting for Dad to do more. It’s the easy route, or at least it appears to be the path of least resistance. Kids waiting for their parent to do something. Yelling. Screaming. Fussing. Fighting. Kicking. Disrespecting.

Wacha gonna do?

And so I pull up in my metaphorical car, roll down the metaphorical window (which gets stuck halfway down), and look in my metaphorical rear-view to make sure no one sees what I’m going to do.

“You, over there. You, over there. And, you just get over there,” I bark just barely a little bit better than a more mature dog.

Soon you can hear my metaphorical wheels peeling away; three kids sitting on the side of the metaphorical road, still in my rear-view as I make my way back to my real couch, the real game and/or any other thing that the entire incident distracted me from.

Thank God, there is a Rangeress in town. The odd thing about this entire scenario is that the original APB came through on my radio, gasp, because I was supposed to be acting as a law-enforcer myself. Instead, Rangeress whispers in my ear:

“Is that more important than your children?”

Ouch. Sting. Bam. Boom. To the kisser. Straight to the moon, Alice!

Mea culpa. Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa.

Whether in parenting or in some other area of life, all of us can give less than our full attention to that which God has entrusted us. In the case of parenting, I have been guilty of the “drive-by”. I’ve turned my home into the Southside, which strangely is kind of south of the kitchen but thankfully without the graffiti (except for the occasional coloring paper barrage).

I need to do a better job. We all know what the metaphorical window of our metaphorical car is all about. It’s about when we are too cautious to get out: whether because we are afraid of getting involved or too proud to dirty our hands.

Parenting requires 100% involvement. The moment of the crime is the teaching moment, not just about the intrinsic good and evil of acts, but about our subjective response to those objective acts. Will I teach my children that their lives, t…..

[This post is interrupted to bring you Breaking News: My two year old son thinks that his brother’s blanket is his. Brothers need dad’s intervention, so dad leaves typing to intervene. Dad resists temptation to drive-by parent, helps sons resolve conflict which ends in a brotherly hug and an exchange of “I love you’s”.]

Where was I? Oh yeah…Will I teach my children that their lives are important, that my #1 job is raising them and that typing a blog, watching a football game, etc. is so much less important?

1-0….(as of this moment–not counting last week)

How do you resist the temptation to “drive-by” parent? With so many distractions in our modern world, I’m sure I’m not alone. My virtual couch-side confession, I hope, will start a discussion about personal responsibility, metaphorical windows and the yellow tape that is (metaphorically) all around our overly distracted lives.

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