"I Am Your Child"

Helen Holdun By Helen Holdun, 23rd May 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Parenting

A parent is a reflection of the good and bad in their children!

The poignant lyrics of Barry Manilow and Marty Panzers touching song clearly states the tremendous responsibility we have in teaching our children by example.

"I am your child Wherever you go you take me too Whatever I know, I learned from you Whatever I do, you taught me to do I am your child

"Whatever I know
I learned from you
Whatever I do
You taught me to do
I am your child"

Last night I witnessed something I hope to never see again!

While relaxing on my balcony, preparing for days end I heard a ruckus coming from a neighbors apartment. Knowing a few kids live there, I paid little attention... until a police officer arrived banging on their door. As they gained entry, I heard glass breaking and screaming that barely sounded human. My first reaction was fear; lock the doors, pull the shades, hide inside. However, my own teenage son was curious to see what was happening. On his insistence we returned to the patio.

At this point several police officers had gathered, now joined by an EMT crew. Shrill profanities and shattering glass echoed in the quiet night air as more neighbors emerged. One of the officers spoke into his radio, "heroine od", Hearing those words blend with the pain-filled, desperately-maniacal screams of the young man, made my body shake as uncontrollable tears ran down my face.

"But by for the grace of God", that could be my child!

My son knows I'm a self-proclaimed mush, but still my reaction confused him; he gently asked "mom what's up, why are you crying?". Gathering composure I responded "that boy could be you, your bothers, your friends, if any of you choose the path he's taken". He shook his head, firmly stating, "no it's not, we'd know better than to ever do something so stupid, calm down ma, we're all okay". The reassuring smile on my baby's face - he'll be sixteen in days, but he's my youngest and so forever will be my baby - brought a fresh stream of tears. Perhaps, in spite of divorce, relocation and upheaval, I'd been blessed in doing something right in this life. Maybe their father and I have kept our kids under the radar through our teaching and preaching. By the grace of God they will be okay!

Chaos and calming voices

A stretcher emerged; the young man flat on his back, thrashing against the restraints that bound him, screaming, wailing, while officers and emergency crew attempted to sooth him in calm voices; "you're gonna be ok, your mom and brother are alright, take deep breaths". I said a silent prayer, not because this young man could die, but because if he doesn't find his way off his current path, his experience this evening could be one of many on the wasted road of destruction addicts live on daily.

A parents nightmare... what went wrong?

His mother, a handicapped lady, exited the apartment. A neighbor pushed her wheel chair to a waiting car. I heard her explain how he'd "smashed a window, held me down, punched his brother, we couldn't move". My heart broke for a third time. I don't know anything about this family, but even if I did, shame on me if I dare to judge them! Yet I couldn't help but wonder what brought them to this night. What broke this young man? Were there signs that had been missed? Was there too little parenting or too much? Perhaps the burdens of the life he saw behind closed doors rendered him to a place of hopelessness? What did he "know", what had he been "taught" that brought him to a place of darkness no living being should ever be lost in.

Sleepless night!

I tossed and turned most of last night. Waking to check on my sleeping child like I did when he was a baby; thinking of my older two, thousands of miles away from me. Were they remain "okay" as my son stated? Are they strong enough to keep their focus on goals that won't be comprised by life and surroundings. Did we as parents do all we could. Do I, as a single mother, continue to do all I can.

And my thoughts keep returning to my young neighbor and his family. In the silence I can't shake the memory of his screams. Truth is I might never forget those screams. I have no doubt his mother found little rest or peace. And dependent on the circumstances, sleepless nights might be her future for a very long time. That in and of itself is heartbreaking because once upon a time her broken man-child was a brand new creation.

A new day begins!

Their apartment is quiet. Since our acquaintanceship has never been more than a polite nod in greeting, I'm not sure if I'd be over-stepping to knock on the door and check on them. I want them to know I care, but perhaps allowing their anonymity to remain untouched is the kindest gift I can offer them.

Will I ever know what's next for them? Maybe, maybe not. I want to believe it was a one-time-only incident. A foolish mistake, teenage exploration, false invincibility born in the naivety of youth. I pray he'll be okay; that he's learned his lesson, emerges unscathed and puts the horror to good use by sharing it with others who now might avoid the same error of judgement.

Am I naive, believing in positive endings? Perhaps. But maybe through my "pie in the sky" attitude my kids have "learned" to not lose themselves to external forces when life tosses them blows that seem unbearable in the moment.

Is it possible through parenting in a way other parents have disapproved of my kids are okay? By allowing hooky days when they need one, going out for ice-cream in the wee hours of a hot summer night, allowing the F bomb (within reason) but being strict in not allowing the word hate, no chore list, but rather instilling team work to get what needs to be done, having no restrictions on the time they spend on electronics by which they've learned time management that works for them, having an open ear to hear the intimate details of life they choose to share, and sharing the mistakes I've made, earning respect not demanding it, having few rules, so the ones in place take priority like flashing neon warnings. And above all accepting they are human which gives them the confidence to never be afraid to admit a mistake.

Could it be that by being the "goofy, cool mom" - their friends description not mine - who they enjoy hanging out with, has "taught" them how to become responsible adults, which will stay with them longer than being "by the book" kids.

I don't know what answers are correct, all I can do is keep doing what's worked so far in raising my children to 23, 18 and 15, with few issues. The most important thing I do every minute of every day is to thank God for the gifts my sons are, and humbly pray He'll continue to guide me and them in their choices.

Parenting begins the moment a child takes it's first breath and doesn't end until we take our last breath. Please remember, for better or worse, what they know, what they learn, what they do, comes from you!

Barry Manilow - "I Am Your Child"


Barry Manilow, Children, Drug Addiction, Music, Parenting

Meet the author

author avatar Helen Holdun
Passionate writer, author, hopeless romantic and fun mom to three fantastic sons.! I love sharing words, words and more words... I'll never grow up and refuse to ever be old!

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