The main daily newspaper of Naples, Florida ‘Naples Daily News’ has published an article on January 1, 2017, written by syndicated columnist and family psychologist John Rosemond. The teaser headline reads:“Your kids should not be the most important in the family”. This article has gone viral on social media and majority followers applauded the piece of writing.
Rosemond begins this article with a dialogue between a married couple, having three kids who weren’t in their teenage yet, and himself. He asked, “Who are the most important people in your family?” and young parents responded, “Our kids”. But, apparently (shockingly to me), they failed to back their statement before Rosemond. He then told the couple, “There is no reasonable thing that gives your children that status.” My concern is, certainly, not to defend or deny Rosemond here. The third side of the discussion needs to be unmasked before those, particularly young parents, who shared this article on such a large scale, as if this is the only good advice for a bright future generation and a solution to all the problems kids and their parents face these days.
Rosemond, rather unconvincingly, has made the following arguments:
- Most of the problems with their kids these days are the result of treating their children as if they, their marriage and their family exist because of the kids.
- Their kids exist because of them and their marriage and thrive because they have created a stable family.
- Without them, their kids wouldn’t eat well, have the nice clothing they wear, live in the nice home in which they live enjoy the great vacations they enjoy, and so on.
- When we were kids it was clear to us that our parents were the most important people in the families.
- Our parents’ marriages were more important to them than their relationships with us.
- Mom and Dad talked more with one another — a lot more — than they talked to you.
- The most important person in an army is the general. The most important person in a corporation is the CEO. The most important person in a classroom is the teacher. The most important person in a family are the parents.
Then he concluded his argument and advised that the primary objective is to raise a child such that community and culture are strengthened. I agree with Rosemond only on his conclusion of raising a child such that society is strengthened. However, in my opinion, a goal cannot be achieved with negative planning from start to finish. I am not going to do an emotional critique here but, instead, a very pragmatic analysis which is applicable today as accurately as it will be after hundred years or more; and to a household as aptly as to a country or the entire world.
Rosemond suggested that kids are not a reason for a strong bond in a marriage or a family. Instead, he urged parents to see their kids as a liability of providing food, shelter, clothes and happiness. It is not just being inconsiderate but also unwise. I am not arguing on all aspects of wisdom here because it is not my topic. Nevertheless, a wise person, from house chores to corporate decisions; from organization policies to national interests; and from nation-building to Global prosperity, does things in a way to achieve a positive end result. Given the above argument, broadly speaking, it is only wise to see your kids as a future — of your family, community, society and the entire world. If you do not invest your time, money and effort into your present, you jeopardize your future. Your children, alone, are your future by all means. They will carry your name, your legacy. Apart from a very few exceptions, no one will remember you but your children. And it is through them this world will know you after you retire or die.
Rosemond inspired parents to be like the general in an army; the CEO in a corporation; and the teacher in a classroom. Very good! I agree. But, the general is not the most important in an army; the CEO is not the most important in a corporation; the teacher is not the most important in a classroom; and ,hence, parents are not the most important in a family. The importance of the general, the CEO, and the teacher is relative and not out-and-out. The general of a weak army is not equal to the general of a strong army. The CEO of a failing corporation is not as important as the CEO of a leading corporation. The teacher of a dull class cannot be quantified as talented as the teacher of a brilliant class.
Just imagine, what would happen if a general exerts all his energies in making relationship with other general instead of making his army strong; a CEO, instead of product quality, employee development and company image, spends entire time, or most of it, in personal affairs; a teacher spends whole year in reading books rather than imparting knowledge to the students? The army, the company and the class will face a loss beyond repair. Therefore, the most important are the army, the corporation and the class. The general, the CEO and the teacher can only become important if they put their energy, time, money and knowledge toward their respective responsibilities and ensure results. Dear parents! Your kids are the most important in your family. Invest your time, effort and money in them. Do not consider them a liability but, rather, a responsibility. They are the future — of your family, the community, our country and this world.
(The writer is The Resident Editor of The Educationist Boston, USA and a graduate of MA Communication Management and Public Relation from London Metropolitan University, U.K. He can be reached at: [email protected] and also at: syedqraza.wordpress.com)