(First published in The Rafu Shimpo on August 11, 2010.)
My kids always ignore my first five requests to turn off the TV or their handheld video games. I’m sure my neighbors think I have a major stuttering problem or that I’m a total idiot for repeating myself so many times. The same goes for my dog, having to repeat myself that is, (okay, he’s still a puppy), because I’m getting tired of asking him the same question — who chewed up my shoes-when he and I both know it’s him.
My kids and my dog just look at me when I ask them something they don’t want to answer. I tell them the same thing every time, again convincing my neighbors I’m an idiot. I tell my kids that just because they’re good looking does not mean they can do whatever they want and get their way.
Of course they know I’m joking when I say this (okay, maybe not my dog because he really thinks he’s good looking), because my kids know and are tired of hearing me say that they need to be accountable for their actions.
In all reality, this is a serious issue because there are indeed people walking our streets who think they can get away with bad behavior simply because they’re good looking.
Take Lindsay Lohan for example (yes, because it’s just too easy to use her). Her parents, it seems, let her get away with all kinds of questionable actions. If not, she wouldn’t be in the predicament she’s in now. Perhaps they let her get away with bad behavior because they were too wrapped up in themselves, they didn’t know any better or they just indulged her.
The reasons don’t matter; what does is that Lohan is an adult now and never learned the lesson of accountability.
Shamefully for Lohan at age 24 (her parents should be ashamed as well) is that the judge in her DUI case seems to be the first person to teach her this lesson.
It’s truly sad because Lohan was such a cutie with loads of talent in the Disney and other movies she made as a young girl. Adults and fans must have doted on her, continuously told her how great she is, how pretty she is and how talented she is.
She must have used the multitude of compliments and #%@-kissing as fuel for her now hedonistic, dubious, immoral (driving under the influence is absolutely immoral) and self-destructive behavior.
How sad if this is true. It makes me wonder if her parents were ignoring her as a child instead of thinking about the welfare, development and future of their prodigious child. No matter if her father has a set of his own problems, he is not relieved of his parental responsibilities and to teach his children how to survive without him and learn to be responsible members of society.
It’s not easy being a parent—what an understatement and something everyone knows.
But in an era with rapidly evolving communication technology sending us — the consumers — messages of self-indulgence, the need for increasing material wealth, luxury and excess, we need to be strong and swim against this tide.
We need the ability to think clearly. We also need balance and perspective.
Maybe kids don’t need a cell phone, 15 pairs of expensive shoes that will go out of style in six months and $200 jeans when they’re 13 and a fancy new car at 16.
Please remind me of all this when my kids are 16. Tell me to be strong and not give in to their demands for ridiculous material things they do not need but are pressured to desire by all forms of advertising (email, billboards, texts, T.V., etc.) because my kids have a little ways to go until they’re 16 even though they are barraged with these messages now.
Tell me to make my kids get a job at 16 where they get their hands dirty so they can learn about hard work, delayed gratification and self-satisfaction.
I’m open to ways to teach my kids good values and character now while they’re still young so they can hopefully avoid becoming a wash-up addict with low self-esteem, gluttonous personality and ambition to party instead of contribute to society at the age of 24.
Trisha Murakawa is a strategic communications and public affairs consultant based in Redondo Beach. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.