Blind Spots

PHOTO BY: ETHAN HYMAN - EHYMAN@NEWSOBSERVER.COM

Is it just me, or are a lot of universities getting in trouble recently? One of the bell cows of the Big Twen, Ohio State, is in serious trouble for cheating and covering it up. Pac 12 power, Oregon, is under the microscope of the NCAA. Their conference neighbors, USC, are experiencing the aftershocks after the Reggie Bush earthquake rocked them. Reigning national champion Auburn is being staked out and rumors are swirling that the FBI might be getting involved and the Tigers might be in the worst trouble of all. Then, this week, the University of North Carolina fired their football coach, Butch Davis, and saw their athletic director step down as a rancid cloud smothers Chapel Hill.

It seems to be everywhere, but I’d bet a lock of Justin Bieber’s hair that, assuming your university isn’t already under investigation, you think your school is above reproach.

Being a college football fan is like playing golf with the guy that thinks he’s Butch Harmon, even though he’s offered more slices than Pizza Hut and has a swing that would make Charles Barkley cringe. He’s somehow convinced he’s a giime away from qualifying for the US Open, and feels burdened to share his exhaustive golf knowledge with everyone… during their backswing.

I wonder how many Buckeye fans were bashing Michigan Men for the Rich Rodriguez rumors, before The Vest got nailed. You know Oregon fans looked down their bills at the cheaters down in Los Angeles, until the NCAA/CSI showed up in Eugene.

Isn’t it true? Don’t we all do that?

Some call it wearing (insert your team’s colors here) colored glasses, others prefer saying we’re drinking the Kool-aid, but no matter what you call it, we’re wearing blinders. Everybody else is doing it.

If it were only true of dilusional collge sports junkies, it would simply be kindling for rivalry fires. But there’s another, even more sensitive area where we use selective eyesight – our kids.

No one serves more “Kool-aid” than kids, and no one drinks more than their parents.

Is it pride? Do we think our parenting skills are so high that our kids simply couldn’t do those things?

Is it affection? Are we so in love with our kids, or idea of who they are, that we refuse to believe they could do those things?

Is it denial? Do we have a suspiscion, but reject it and hope we’ll learn the smoke was coming from someone elses home?

It’s probably a little bit of everything. We love our kids, we’re confident in our parenting, and we want to assume the best – it’s natural.

This is why we need trusted friends in our lives, who we permit to speak the truth about our children. We have to be specific, and ask our confidant to tell us when they see our kid walking down the wrong path. It’s remarkable how much we can learn; just think of how much you know about everyone else’s kids.

Raising children today, is like backing a 20 foot trailer through a defensive driving course designed by that Geico therapist. Doing it on your own is next to impossible. Having the help of a passenger makes it a little easier. But having a friend or two outside, behind the trailer with their eyes on trailer and on the cones, improves your chances for success exponentially. “You better not hit one of my cones, ya Jackwagon!

Our kids are going to make mistakes, and they need us to help them navigate through the chaos. We can’t pretend everything’s OK and leave them to fend for themselves. They need engaged, aware, parents who are willing to do whatever it takes to help them be their absolute best. Even if that means we have to listen when a freind tells us our kid is in trouble.

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About ryan85

A son, a brother, a husband, a father of eight, and a friend. A follower of Jesus Christ. A fan of the Seminoles and all teams Atlanta. I write, I read, and teach when I can. I prefer red pens. I'm easily distracted. I've lived in Augusta, GA, northern Minnesota, the beautiful western NC mountains, and Tallahassee, FL - Go 'Noles. I played football for FSU, was on the national championship team in 1999, and took a few snaps with the Pittsburgh Steelers. My favorite colors are fluorescent yellow, and Garnet & Gold. I drive a minivan and think it's cool.
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2 Responses to Blind Spots

  1. Tommy says:

    Spot on. We, as parents, all fall into the trap of thinking our child is above misbehaving. You’re right, having those trusted friends that can be truthful is a must.

  2. Dean Crump says:

    In my job I feel I experience what you are saying all the time. I have to deal with some bad circumstances sometimes involving kids and the trouble that they find (notice I did not say “finds them”). The worst feeling I get is when I speak with the parents and they are at a loss. Really??! Having a teenager myself, and one following along behind, I have learned to expect the unexpected. If I prepare for the worst, then I can be as prepared as possible when it breaks. On the other hand, if it doesn’t come about, “whew,” I missed a bullet. Don’t get me wrong, I too feel as though I’ve raised mine with the best respect one can teach their children, but just as dear ole dad did back in the day, they too will make their mistakes. Accountabliity is the key to teaching them how to respect others and themselves, and that there are consequences for actions, both positive and negative. Friends are great resources for us and our families, but too often do we really have the type of relationship where our friends feel confident enough to tell us the truth when one of ours is messing up? Man, that’s when it really gets hard to be a true friend. The ole, “I can’t tell them the truth. It would hurt their feelings and cause our relationship to suffer,” is what goes through the minds of most of our friends when they want to tell us the truth about our children messing up. Of course the other route is we tell our friends about their kids and they don’t want to believe it. Well, now they went and called me a liar! Well, not really, but that is how we feel when we’ve told them the truth, but they can’t except it. Once again, the relationship suffers. What to do? What to do? Bite the bullet, tell your friends the truth. If they don’t (or can’t) except it and it causes a riff in your relationship, they will hopefully come around later after they wake up to reality. Just like with our favorite sports teams.

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