Home, the center of all living

Posted: Friday, December 06, 2002

I was saddened and alarmed by the recent articles in the Empire about the problems with drugs in Juneau.

Kadashan by Bertrand J. Adams Sr.

A long time ago one of our children barged into the house after school. "Hi mom. I'm home."

But mom wasn't there. Instead she was hanging clothes in the back yard to dry in the spring breeze. When she came into the house she found a weeping lad sitting on the front porch.

"What's wrong, son?"

"Nothing," he sobbed. "You just weren't here."

There's this touching scene in a movie. A father was comforting his daughter after she was attacked in a secluded area while she was walking home from school. "I called for you," she said. "I called for you and you didn't come."

What profound statements!

I have witnessed over the past couple of decades a strong drive to subsidize programs in the schools that attempt to do what really should be taking place in the home. I have also witnessed grant funds used to bring the ills of drug and alcohol culture into the schools. The fine work went well in the schools, but the most important place was never outreached: the home.

Several years ago I attended a Head Start Conference in Washington, D.C. I listened to speakers talk about how our president and his wife were instigating policies to place more responsibility on community action groups, etc. The theme was "It takes a village (community) to raise a child." While this is true, I really don't believe the bona fide responsibility should be usurped from the heart and head of the home: parents.

We have seen during this same couple of decades the gradual breakdown of the family unit. We seem to think other people, or institutions, should do what we don't want to do ourselves. It is true, in the American systems, we can delegate to government and other institutions, things that we cannot do for ourselves; stuff like police protection and education. But being a parent cannot, in anyway, be delegated to the schools, churches or other entities like we see in many communities today. In actuality we can never be freed from being parents.

After my wife and I devoted our energies to raising eight children, we are now watching them raise their own families. One of the daughters has a full-time job. Indeed, it requires her and her husband to work to raise their two children. But they have never delegated raising their children to anyone else other than immediate family. The children are well rounded and never in need of food, shelter, clothing or love. These kids are learning responsibility and I'm sure they will grow up and raise families much like they were raised. Our youngest son has been married for over a year now - they have a 2-month-old daughter. My daughter-in-law told me that she wants a large family - 14 children to be exact - and that she is committed to being a "stay-at-home-mom." Bless her soul. It will be interesting to see how this will be accomplished, and I wish them well. I do know that those 14 children will have an excellent chance of surviving.

One of our sons made a statement I thought was significant and, yet, very frightening. He said, "If you send your children to day care, when you grow old they will put you in an old people's home."

I am reminded often about a concept Andy Rooney expressed during one of his commentaries at the conclusion of the television program 60 Minutes. He said, "If we want good children we are going to have to raise good parents." Indeed, herein lies the root of many of our problems in our social order today.

I believe good parents are parents who are willing to set the proper example for their children. They have that responsibility at the least. If you don't want your children to smoke or use tobacco, consume alcohol, or use drugs - then don't do it yourselves. If you ever have to counsel your children on these problems, it will mean more to them when you can say, "Don't do as I say. Do as I do."

Kadashan is the Tlingit name of Bertrand J. Adams Sr., who lives in Yakutat.

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