Don’t Look Back Now

Published 10:24 am Friday, January 17, 2014

By CHRIS GEORGE / Guest Columnist

Another year has passed us by and 2014 is in full swing.

As I look back on the previous year, I immediately think about how much my boys have changed over the year.

I think of their successes and failures and I think of mine and my wife’s. I also realize that I am now the age my Nanny was when she took me in 40 years ago.

I can recall the smell of White Rain hair spray and fingernail polish remover as Nanny would sit in her chair with the garbage can-sized machine she used to dry her hair.

I’m sure the neighbors could hear us talking at night because I had to yell so she could hear me over the blower. Nanny had a full head of brown hair when I came into the picture, but it was fully grey by the time I turned 18.

She would often point at a grey hair and tell me, “That one was from when you got after-school detention and this one is from when you knocked the neighbor’s window out with a baseball.” I now see grey in my hair and can say that my boys are helping me with that. That is okay by me and I consider it a symbol of growth.

I intend to earn that grey hair and share everything I know with them.

As a parent, you are not in this game of life for yourself. If you have children, you gave up that privilege the day the first child was born.

That means your days of hanging with the boys are over. Why would a child want to hang out with you when they’re grown if you wouldn’t hang out with them when they were a kid?

I can tell you from experience, they won’t. You also are the one they will turn to for guidance, wisdom, growth, and understanding. If we teach the right way now, they will not depart from it as an adult. The other option is they mirror the world.

It should only take a quick scan of prime time television for you to realize that is not where they need to be. Make a point to be that positive role model as well. Those little eyes are seeing everything we do and those little ears hear everything. If you go off on Facebook about someone or something, they will someday read that.

If you post pictures of yourself on social media doing things you wouldn’t approve of them doing, they’ll see that one day as well. We only get one chance to get it right and once it’s done, it’s done. If you aren’t intimately involved with your young child’s life, you should look at him as a 30 year old man or woman. Are you equipping that child with the skills they need to not just survive in the world, but to succeed?

I’ve never heard anyone say parenting is easy, but I know that it is a gift. And it is a gift that gives everyday…sometimes in the image of grey hair.

Chris George is the commander if the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office Investigations Division.