To Fail as Parents

Friday, May 18, 2018


Note: this is the third edit on this article as I found out something interesting on Youtube

In this recent weeks, I enjoy watching debate and discussion on Kompas TV. But tonight, I watched the most enjoyable discussion to watch - about the involvement of women and children in suicide bomb attack. My heart was in pain when I first heard about the bomb attack from a colleague who resides in an area just 10 minutes from a church that was attacked at that day. I was trying to find any right justification on how religion could bring peace but I failed. For many thousand times, I failed. Is there any holy book that does not include any bloody stories on it? Gus Dur's daughter says no - I will try to find it out by my own later.

But then a psychologist in tonight's Kompas TV discussion brought the right thing: she said, in this country - if there is any crime involving children as victims, parents never be blamed. She directly stared in the eyes of DPR's member and said, "there hasn't any blame for the parents, has it?" She then emphasized how parents in this country have this feeling of "owning the children so they could do anything they want on their kids." I was surprised that the DPR's member was wise enough to take this critic, calmly and said that he was agreed with her. Comparing to another discussion involving a DPR member, it used to be ended with some raised voices.

Yes - I do agree. Parents are the ones to blame.

I saw a lot of irresponsible parents - the ones who are careless when the kids doing things by themselves when they are too busy picking things at supermarket, the ones who let their kids throw away their trash off the car window, the ones who force their opinion and value to their kids. I read this news that reveals how the suicide teen bomber was crying at the beginning of the attacking day. Why, why parents are so blind that their kids do not want what they wish for? I was also shocked to find that another bomber's child rejected his parents' ideology and decided to move out of the parents' home and stay with his grandmother.

This reminds me of an interview assignment many years ago. I interviewed two kids who sold tissue around Universitas Indonesia's campus area. After many probing, I found out that their mother did not do anything for a living. They forced their kids to sell tissue and discontinue their education for doing that.

And this is wrong.

I remember a saying by one of my closest colleagues... "I don't want to have kids. I think that is so selfish to decide what a human must do in his life, and I know when I am in that position, I will be tempted to do so. This is a human. Not a piece of shit."

At that time I was a person who was thinking that I will be a good parent with my scientific background. But well - I do not know. I just found out that one of my favorite scientist is favoring eugenics - whose most of his daughters married the smart guys who have the same surname with the scientist's wife (and I know in his tribe, having the same surname means they are really belong to one close family). So being a scientist and possessing so many knowledge does not guarantee that we will be free of bias in starting a family.


I really love how Neil deGrasse Tyson pointed out how parents asked him how to raise a scientist kid when we don't necessarily use any strategy. Kids are born scientist. It's the parents who stop them.

To fail as parents is easy these days.
So many kids are broken of their parents' speech or behavior. They are abandoned and left to survive without any education or support to be the best version of them.



I remembered my architecture class lecturer said...
"The problem of many major urban cities is the city builds too many infrastructures for adults but they forget to build spaces for children and seniors. The architects forget that once they were kids and one day they'll grow older."

That saying was confirmed by a stranger from Germany who once stranded in 2-hours discussion with me in an airplane. He said that current German politicians really focuses on policy for seniors because their population is not growing. Less youth-friendly policy, and also smaller spaces for youngsters to express themselves - for example is his favorite basketball field is really under maintenance and less space for young people to gather.

What is the solution? Getting youngsters into politics to make a proper education for parents how to educate and be responsible to their kids' education?
To ensure a proper space for kids living the best version of themselves?

But after re-think about it, sometimes, parents need to say no to children. A "no" delivered in a proper manner and time. That is also part of education. Saying no to a premature decision, harming others, or being unkind to other people and environment.

Can we guarantee to raise a happy and educated human in this socially and environmentally-stressed world?
...to be the last person on Earth who's gonna hold them from making their own future to be worth living?



Now I have a mixed feeling towards having kids on my own: afraid of having too many "yes" or too many "no".

*this article has been revised based on feedback from one of my favorite scientists

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