Why are you mean to me, dad? By: Farook Aman, Ottawa, Canada
Understanding the meaning of the word “Mean”‘
I wonder sometimes if children in North America understand the meaning of the word
“Mean“. They tend to use it haphazardly whenever they wished. Perhaps they believe that by uttering it, they could attain the goal they wished to achieve. They might even think that by using it they would feel “cool”.
Well, some may have what I describe as “uncontrolled tongue” while others would just use the word for the sake of whatever reason they might have. That begs the question: if our children really understand the impact of the meaning of the word: mean?
However, a barrier should be wisely drawn so that the word “mean” does not go beyond the boundaries and the normal confines of family values. For instant, kids may call each other “mean “at school or at playgrounds, etc. My humble view says, this labeling of the word mean should be limited to kids of the same age and it should not cross the respected barriers to include the older generation too. However, it is noticed and also practiced at home; children do label parents as “mean” too. This is where they tend to cross the respect barriers. That may also create undue pressure at home. I believe, it will constitute disrespect and unfounded allegation causing parents justifiably to attempt to correct it.
A Bundle of Joy
A mother provides endless love and sleepless nights to carry in her stomach a baby that would hopefully understand, appreciate and be respectful at a later age. It is such a wonderful and happy occasion for the parents to bring home their new bundle of joy from the hospital’s maternity ward. That bundle of joy would mean the world to them, and they will protect it with their lives when needed. The memories of the baby’s first roll in bed, the first word of… mamma.. papa, the first step, and the bus first ride to school, the graduation day and so on: all these happy memories would mean a lot to the parents. They would feel proud, happy and yes.. blessed for the gift of God.
Given, each child might be different from the other siblings although they may come from the same parents. A child will have a mind of his own though, and as a toddler he /she might say the word “No” more often than the word “Yes“. I often ask myself why that is? Are humans more programmed with the negatives than the positives from an early age?
It is true; Child’s Psychology is a vast field that requires endless time to learn and master. I often remind myself that my parents were not that sophisticated, nor were they rich, yet they raised six children of their own and I believe they did a good job..
The Animal Kingdom
What normally takes place in the Animal Kingdom intrigues me when a mother calls for her cubs and they would come right away. From an early age they come to understand the dangers and risks of life and so they learn mother’s tricks for survival for if they do not, then game is over for the little ones. The Animal instinct for survival forces the cubs to learn and appreciate what mother teaches them to do. What might seem to be (one “funny” sound to humans) from an animal mother to her cubs however that sound might be heard, it would certainly bring about an immediate required response from the little ones. The cubs would understand the intended message and would act accordingly without arguing with mother. In addition, whatever mother hunts and is shared with her cubs that would become the dinner menu which all would eagerly devour thankfully. There would be no complaints about the type of catch nor there time to do so. The other siblings would immediately indulge ferociously in consuming the food and enjoy it too!
This brings us to the following question and that is why do humans tend to be unappreciative and sometimes even disrespectful to parents? Specifically, why do children of this day and age expect so much from parents but give so little in return? It is evident that children of the more advanced world such as North America, Europe, and Australia, etc are perhaps more on that path or line of thought than at the lesser developed regions of the world. Children in the under developed world tend to be somehow accepting the status quo and would normally live by it. They are normally more appreciative for what they receive.
One day, my Sri Lankan neighbour was complaining that his son called him “mean” because he refused to buy him a new car just like Tony’s dad did. As a matter of fact his son was putting pressure on his parents by refusing to eat with them until they capitulate and buy the car. As a result and in addition to that, his wife also put additional pressure on her husband to buy the car for Sasha. That created unnecessary stress on their marriage life between husband and wife.
“What am I going to do with this boy?” scratching his head, he mumbled to himself while searching quietly for answers. He said that he realizes that a car might bring joy to his son but it might also worry the whole family. Why then would Tony’s father buy his son a new car to go to school? Tony is only 19 years old. He has not mastered or comprehended the responsibility of owning a car, nor will he appreciate the value and the associated risks involved plus the associated cost. True, he might spend more time cleaning the car than driving it to show it off at school and with friends. The insurance rates are likely to be exuberant since auto accident statistics reveal that the likelihood of an accident in the first few years could be higher for younger drivers than the older ones. It is more prevalent with boys than with girls.
Therefore, by buying a car for his son, does that make Tony’s father more loving than my neighbour, Francis? His son labeled him “mean” because of that. Does Francis deserve to be labeled as such and does it make him a lesser loving father than Tony’s dad?
On the other side of the street, a single mother, Carol, is also having a hard time with her teenage daughter, Cindy. This summer, she will turn 18, and she has already proclaimed that she would be moving out with her 19 years old “love” with or without the consent of her mother. Cindy suffers from crone disease and has been anemic for most of the year. Often, she comes late at night and remains in the car with her boyfriend making out in the driveway. Carol is afraid to confront Cindy. But she hopes that Cindy would soon wise up. She even provided her with contraceptive pills to avoid the possibility of a disgraceful pregnancy.
Why then would boys and girls of North America be so ungrateful to their parents who work hard and struggle to make ends meet? What is wrong with our society and the rule of law that governs us?
The Authorities and the Criminal Justice System
Ahha, I believe I know the answer! It must be the government and its policies, or is it? Parents have become reluctant to discipline their children for fear that their children might bring about an unfounded allegation of abuse that might land them in trouble with the law.
One might ask if the system would need an overhaul to ensure that responsibility and discipline are observed. Another thought might conclude that the baby boomers might have had it so good due to undisciplined and lousy upbringing. The lack of respect, morality and discipline appears to be somehow acceptable by the authorities in North America. Good family values are slowly fading away.
Another item that I wish to touch on is the Criminal Justice system. Some call it “the Sissy back door System“. Everything seems to be centered or calculated in bundles of budgeted dollars. A young man might commit a murder and might get away with a minor sentence that would not allow the young criminal to reflect on the impact of the crime on society. He might be lodged at a Minimum Security Penitentiary that might look more like a five star hotel than a prison.
In addition to that, there is what some believe is the back door loophole of the Criminal Justice System represented by the Parole Board. It seems that this Board would invariably find a way to provide Day or Full Parole for the young criminal who would soon find himself out in the streets and be permitted to integrate once again with the unsuspecting decent citizens of the various communities. He might have not been given enough incarcerating time to reflect while in prison on the magnitude of his crime. Then, we will find out that the Board’s decision to the premature release of the young criminal from prison was based purely on weak reasoning and unrehearsed arguments that might highlight an unrealistic scenario which might confirm that the young inmate did well while incarcerated. Hence, the Parole Board’s hasty decision was for an early Day or Full Parole. One less cost to provide for an inmate! The justification would be that there was no reason for the inmate to be locked up in prison and thereby the government should avoid spending more dollars on him and thereby to quickly discharge him from prison in order to reintegrate with society. Give me a break!
The Canadian Parole Board
My own personal experience with the Criminal Justice System and the Parole Board took place as a result of the murder of our 19 years old son at the evil hands of three young men who were initially charged with “Second Degree Murder”.
One of the murderous assailants was sentenced to do community service and to remain at home for 17 months plus one month, except for going to work, school or church (and be permitted to go out with his girlfriend, too!). He would be asked to report regularly to the police authority. The other was charged with a similar sentence but was given a much shorter term of only three months of community service. Wobido! Would that deter future criminal activities? I wonder!
The young man that stabbed my son was however sentenced to three years prison term for what they called “Manslaughter”. In his sentencing address, his honor, the judge wanted the murderer to reflect on his evil action that caused the death of another human.
Nevertheless, after spending seven months at a Minimum Security Prison, the young inmate was discharged by the Canadian Parole Board in spite of our family’s plea to decide against it. My wife and I traveled to the penitentiary to present our individual Victim Impact Statements at that Minimum Security Prison in front of panel members of the Parole Board. Our Victim Impact Statements were described by the local media as “Gut Wrenching Statements”. Yet, the panel of the Parole Board dressed up the discharge decision of the murderer from prison and endorsed him with what they called a “Day Parole”. They discharged the murderer from prison and allowed him to reside in what they called a “Halfway House“. Six months later, the murderer was given Full Parole. That meant that he could live with his parents and report to the Correctional Services of Canada on regular basis. No conditions were imposed on the Full Parole!
What transpired afterwards shocked the system. Yes, the young murderer was apparently
associating himself with the underworld drug sub culture. The Police and his family voiced concerns about his change in demeanor. Also, he failed to report for the regular mandatory blood and urine testing for traces of illegal drugs and alcohol and was therefore sent back to the penitentiary. He was however eligible for “Mandatory Discharge” on April 21st, 2007, since he was presumed to have completed two thirds of his prison sentence. The question that we have for the Criminal Justice System is: Did he really conclude his prison sentence?
In spite of it all, we truly feel sorry for his parents and believe that the system has failed
us and failed them too. We have fallen victims to our judicial system.
As parents we are not “mean” although occasionally our children might label us as such.
It is our duty to teach our children the sense of family values and demand respect from an early age to impose responsibility of personal actions. The sky is the limit. It is also our duty to follow up on those values to ensure that they become entrenched in our daily lives regardless of the labeling of the word “Mean“.