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Sins of the Father
by Bonnie MeyerRosa
This has been a pretty crazy couple of weeks in my house. It all started 2 weeks ago when my husband traveled to PA to pick up some fireworks to bring to our Annual 4th of July Party that we have in New Hampshire. He has gone to PA for the past few years to get these fireworks, brought them back to NY until we go to NH for the holiday. Well, this year was a little different. This year he was followed from PA straight into NY where he was pulled over and arrested and charged with the Possession of Fireworks. You see, it is illegal to transport/posses fireworks in the state of New York. This of course is something that we all know but never really thought that we would get in trouble for it. Well, after spending the night in jail, completely horrified by what he encountered there (and he was just in the holding cell all night), and now having to deal with court appearances, we will not be bringing fireworks to NH this year - or any other year for that matter! We did not tell our son that Daddy was in jail, although he did ask where Daddy was when he didn't come home. "Daddy's car broke down and Mommy has to go get him..." He's 5 so this worked fine...and when the fireworks didn't come home with Daddy we just said that we would buy them in New Hampshire. We decided not to tell our son about the jail thing because we knew he would have been scared and upset. Either that or he would have laughed in his fathers face which probably would have been worse!
This entire experience got me thinking about the things in our lives that we keep from our children. You know the things I'm talking about. The stupid things we did as teens (drinking, drugs, sneaking out, etc.), the lies we tell others, stealing office supplies from work to use at home, breaking the law, etc. I can remember when I was a teenager, suddenly realizing that my parents probably had done things that were bad when they were younger - the same things that I was attempting to get away with. When I asked my mom about some of them she told me that she would tell me everything she had done, after I got married. What a strange answer!! After I was married I approached the subject again and she told me everything! I was horrified and then understood why she wouldn't tell me as a young teen! She didn't want me to respect her any less then I already did, as a teenage girl usually does to her mom. Now that I have my own children I am beginning to understand this more and more. I want my children to respect me damn it! My question is, what things do we keep from our children to protect them, and what do we keep from our children to protect ourselves? What things do we just trust they will figure out on their own. We want to protect our children and would never want them to do things that are wrong, but deep down we know that they probably will and probably should just experience it on their own! We raise our children with the hope that they will make responsible choices and to be able to cope with the consequences of the un-responsible choices they make. Do we do our children a disservice by keeping our transgressions from them? Would telling them the stupid things we did keep them from making the same mistakes - doubt it! Would telling them bring us down a notch in their eyes? Would we lose our hold over them as well as their respect? I would hate to hear from my son that he tried drugs because he knew I had and therefore it must be ok! These are the things that keep me up at night. How about you? Chime in on this subject cause I am completely unsure - although my kids are only 5 and 2 so I have some time to figure it out, and I doubt I ever will!