A Lifeguard’s Saga – Ep. 22 – You Can’t Choose Your Parents

Everywhere and anywhere, there’s good parenting and bad parenting. It’s something that we are born with, and we can either accept our skills of it and improve, or we simply won’t bother to do so, be it for the best or worst.

Here are two distinct examples of two similar situations of good and bad parenting.

First Example:

First aid, kid number one, let’s call him Jony, about seven years old. Kid number two, Mary with about three years old.

Jony had a wooden barb deeply stuck in his foot, and me and mostly a colleague literally mined his skin to retrieve the barb. Despite the pain he was feeling, Jony’s dad told him to be strong and to hang on until we could solve the issue, and the kid did his very best not to cry from the pain. A good warrior that one, with a great teacher in charge of him.

Mary, on the other hand, although much younger, was throwing a tantrum for a just a little bit of scrapped skin, crying and screaming as I and then the mother, tried to clean what little bit of blood she had in her leg. To no avail, she just did not stop, and as her mother tried to bargain with her to behave herself, Mary just wouldn’t hold still. Time to pack up and leave am I right? Yes I was.

Sure Mary was younger, but the constant pampering from her mother had led the child to behave like that, with a wound that I honestly believe she wasn’t feeling anything from it. As for John, well, he’s already a tough young boy.

Second Example:

When the sea is agitated, the red flags are hastened which mean that it is forbidden by law to dive into the water. Even your presence close to the waves does pose some degree of danger, because they can sweep you off your feet and drag you along within…

The traditional example commonly seen, is children coming by themselves without their parents’ supervision, coming down to shoreline and risking to be swallowed by the waves. Sometimes, the parents even come to us, complaining about their lack of parenting skills… As if we Lifeguards had to babysit their own kids… Politely point them to take care of their children and wish them a good day works most of the time.

Some days ago, however, I witnessed a man in charge of four kids. The sea was tough and the red flag waved frequently as the wind ran towards it. The kids only waited for the waves to come to their feet within a safe distance, and most of the time they just taunted the ocean, by waiting for the waves to crash and run up so that they wouldn’t wet their feet. If any of them was risking it, the man simply pointed to them, only once or twice he spoke, and they promptly obeyed everytime, no questions asked. Ever.

Two different scenarios, two different approaches. You can’t choose your parents, but you can very well choose how to act on your own. Be it at what age, you can always strive to be a better parent, a better person and a better role model for society in general.


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