Barbara Christian

The bar was set pretty low by our parents who agreed successful child-rearing meant your kids were never been convicted of murder.

Times were simpler then.

Not to brag, but the Mister and I raised a couple of good kids who grew up to be independent, self-motivated adults and good parents. Neither have committed murder either. Their grandparents would be thrilled.

Peter and Sarah (CFHS 1982 and 1984) turned out so well because we employed a parenting philosophy based on a learn-as-you-go system which was the Plan B approach when the rhythm method failed.

Unlike today’s couples who plan their lives from marriage to grave, we had the requisite nine months to prepare for baby Peter. And we did. We bought diapers and borrowed a crib. Someone gave us Dr. Benjamin Spock’s “Baby and Child Care.” We used it until it fell apart.

As every mom and dad know, there is no preparing for the actual baby who arrives with wants and needs that grow louder and more demanding on a schedule more moment-to-moment than governed by a clock.

Friends and family warn you about this but it never truly kicks in until you are awakened by blood curdling cries at 2 a.m. Then there is the sleep deprivation.

Peter was a challenge. Sarah, as with all second borns, was less so. That baby girl also taught us she would not melt if we left her out in the rain. Understand, we did not do that nor would we, but it is an example of our progress as parents.

Let me explain. When Peter was an infant we were afraid to go too far with him and the stroller in case it rained. We bathed him every day, I can’t remember what we thought would happen to him if he got wet outdoors. Since we were living in Oregon, the threat of getting wet outdoors was pretty much all the time.

We were quick learners. In no time, we thought nothing of stowing baby Peter in the back of our old but very cool Karman Ghia convertible.

No seat belts in those days and no child restraint laws. Being responsible parents, we wedged him into a corner of the tonneau cover compartment, put the top down and covered the opening with a badminton net secured tightly to the hinges of the retracted top.

Peter loved tooling down the highway in his little net covered compartment. I am horrified remembering it.

We both worked so our kids grew up free range, latch key, loved and nurtured. But there was simply no time for unnecessary hovering, fussing and obsessing over the small stuff. Somehow they survived in spite of us.

We were not perfect parents but who among us can say they were or are? Is there any parent who can claim they mastered the art of child rearing with zero mistakes? What parent does not have regrets over some ill-fated parenting moment? You are lying if you raised your hand.

Being parents is a forever thing. The love and fears remain with us for as long as we draw breath. But today’s parents face fears unlike those of the older generation. . . the violent, random and uncontrollable stuff that threatens sleep and invades dreams.

How does a good parent stop an unknown gunman with assault weapons from opening fire in a classroom? How does a good parent react to knowing their child could become one of those gunmen?

Dr. Spock and those who followed his wisdom were never faced with the illness called gun violence. There is no generational wisdom to share, only the same questions everyone has.

What do we do about it? How do we change the hearts, minds and votes of politicians who refuse to deploy even the most rudimentary of incomplete solutions? Politicians who respond by doubling down with even more liberal gun laws?

How do we break through the willful ignorance that perpetuates false “facts” never written into the second amendment?

By voting, of course. If they let us.

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