I CONFESS: Mothers let children run the show
INDULGENT PARENTS, ESPECIALLY mothers, are largely to blame for the bad attitudes and poor work ethic of many of our young people in Barbados today. I am convinced of this, given what I have been confronted with as a father of two young adults who grew up with their mother.
Besides that, every day I hear and see the response of young people to life in general, and their perspectives are not progressive. It seems the majority of them feel they are entitled to everything and don’t have to work for anything. It is all about what they want and nothing about what they can do to earn a living for themselves. When I discuss my thoughts with others, most people agree with me as they see the same thing.
In my case though, my ex-girlfriend allowed my children to do whatever they wanted to do as long as they showed her respect and hated me. That was her silly way of getting back at me for dumping her for another woman. All of that took place 22 years ago when I was just 21 years old and irresponsible. Though I tried to make good on my past when I realised what a fool I had been, she has never forgiven me, and worse, has poisoned the children’s minds against me.
She told the children, who are born 11 months apart, that I turned my back on them when they were babies, so I never wanted anything to do with them. I only found out that was her storyline when I returned to her house nine years ago to apologise and try to make up for what I had done. I wanted to do this because I had given my life to Christ and realised I could never be a good Christian until I sought to right the wrong I did to my children and their mother.
Understandably, she was hostile and shielded the children, then teenagers, from me. In those first encounters she kept reminding me of how I left her five months after the birth of our son, and with our daughter – the first-born – not even able to walk. She recounted how I told her I couldn’t handle being around two screaming children all the time and just bolted.
Her anger streamed out like venom spewed from an agitated snake. It was as if she had those feelings bottled up inside her for all those years, so when I approached her to apologise and try to make peace, she just let me have it. Were it not for the grace of God and His infinite wisdom and guidance, there was no way I would have been able to withstand the ferociousness of her personal attack. But I deserved it for abandoning her and breaking her heart. I destroyed her youth by giving her two children as a teenager and not sticking around to help with them. Of that I will always be ashamed.
I made up my mind that if her hatred was the price for my “wutlessness”, then so be it. But I thought the children would not be as angry and may even be curious about me and want to get to know me better. Was I wrong! They both despised me too. In fact, at our initial meeting my son cursed me and threatened to lick me down for ruining their lives.
When he said so, I just burst out crying. I felt so helpless. All I could mumble as the tears flowed was that I was sorry. I really could not say anything else as I was guilty as charged. I had neglected them and nothing I could say would wipe that slate clean.
Funny enough, it was that sight of me being helpless and begging for forgiveness which finally broke the ice between us all. Though it took years of walking on eggshells, so to speak, my ex and my daughter are less critical of me now but my son is still openly indifferent. Though our relationship is shaky at best, I guess I cannot complain because it was my initial actions which caused this situation.
That brings me now to the children. Neither of them did anything of note at secondary school and are now unemployed. Worse than that, they have no ambition. My daughter has many male friends, while my son prefers to sit around playing video games or just liming with his friends.
I told him to come and work with me as a labourer as he would get good money and be able to pick up some skills that would help him to be financially independent. He came two days and each day complained how hot the sun was and how hard he had to work. So he quit. Yet the next weekend he called to ask me for $50. I said no because he had the opportunity to earn his own money but refused. His mother gave him the money. I told her she was encouraging him not to be responsible, but she dismissed me by saying I know all about not being responsible.
The same thing happened with our daughter. I told my ex that she should not allow so many different men to come to the house for the girl. She told me that at least my daughter used contraceptives and was not as foolish as she was to get pregnant.
So that’s where I’m at. I want to use the wisdom I gained in life to help my children but they just can’t see this, and neither can their mother. But I am determined with the strength of the Father to continue working to help them however I can.