Regents Essay: Part A Parenting

Essay by noseyHigh School, 11th gradeA, May 2009

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Parenting is one of the most difficult tasks a person can try to accomplish successfully. It is in most cases, a life changing event that will permanently influence the rest of your life. One cannot run away from parenting, and must be there to help their child. In the best of circumstances, the most a parent can offer to their son or daughter is a guiding hand. This hand can help them walk through life, but not completely lead them through it because child needs to experience life on their own so they can learn from their mistakes. The parents should be there only to explain the mistakes to help the child better understand, not to prevent the mistakes from happening. Ultimately, the result of parenting is the production of a fully functioning member of society once they become of age, one that a parent can take credit for mentoring.

Being a parent is very similar to being a mentor, in fact it is exactly the same except perhaps that you are, the parent of your pupil. In Dream Me Home Safely, Elizabeth Strout conveys the idea that her father never participated in activities with her. Her father is presented in a very mysterious fashion, if the descriptors were removed one could mistake him for a good friend or similar. It is when she mentions that her father was “the only person not in bathing attire” that the reader finally sees how different the father is. As he sticks out, he is there to watch his daughter, but not to participate in the activity with her. This symbolizes the mentor ideology. In many movies, one for example, Kill Bill the mentor is never seen performing any tasks, it is always the pupils that do the deeds. Parenting is almost exactly the same, only to watch as the pupil completes or fails the task, and then comment on how well they completed it or on how to complete it next time, with some constructive criticism which at times may seem almost hostile to the child.

The child parent relationship can best be represented by the solar system. The child is like one of the smaller planets, such as Mercury or Venus, while the parent can be represented as Jupiter or Saturn. To the child the parent may seem like the sun, because their life appears to revolve around their parent’s wishes, however if parenting is performed properly, they will seem more distant, but also protective. There is a fine line between being overbearing and being overprotective. Neither are viable choices for parenting, and it is difficult to walk the fine line in the middle. The child can begin to resent the parents for this if they act like this. Parents are just a bigger planet to the child, older and wiser until the child can learn from them and repeat the cycle, much like the death and birth of stars, from the death of one comes the birth of another, and much like the end of parenting is the beginning of another cycle of parenting. In The Key to the City by Anne Winters, it represents the parents as protective, but not overbearing, just “hanging above” the child, to guide them through life and give them love and care so they can develop into members of society, which is the ultimate reward of parenting. The best intentions a parent can have for their child is for them to succeed more than them, and give them a better opportunity and life than they were able to have.

Parenting is like walking on quicksand, your feet can never stop moving or you begin to sink. In quicksand, one has to spread their weight out so they don’t sink, in parenting one has to spread their care, but not hold the child’s hand through life otherwise, both child and parent will sink, metaphorically speaking. Continuing the metaphor, this essentially means that the child will not learn from their mistakes, as they will not be permitted to make them, and the parent will not have the joy and pride of producing a functioning member of society. The best parent is the one who points children in the right direction, and simply follows closely behind them, only to pick them up when they fall and tell them to try again, much like in Elizabeth Strout’s story. Following behind, but not breathing down their necks, distant like a planet but still connected by a central force of love, as represented in Anne Winter’s The Key to the City.