A note on parenting

Where’s Evan?
CN&R editor Evan Tuchinsky, this column’s usual author, is off on his honeymoon. He’ll return in time for the July 19 issue.

This week’s cover story is heavy. When I read it over the first time, I found myself muttering under my breath things like, “What?!” and “Eww!” And my general conclusion was that, wow, there are some really ugly people in this world.

So what happened to the cute little Beaver Cleaver-looking boy on the cover of this paper to turn him into a cold-blooded killer? Well, the answer’s right there: his family happened to him.

Horrible people do horrible things all the time. But somehow when it’s a parent doing it to his or her child, it’s just that much worse. Parents are supposed to be our protectors. They’re supposed to teach us and guide us through this crazy world so that we can grow up and be productive, well-adjusted adults. Right?

Maybe I’m just idealistic because my parents read me bedtime stories instead of beating me. They cared more about me than themselves (obviously not the case with cover boy). And even if I didn’t realize or appreciate it at the time, they really were looking out for my best interests (and still are). The key, I think, was that as far as parenting was concerned, they were ready and willing—two qualities that are often overlooked.

It’s devastating to me to think of innocent children being subjected to the ugliness of abuse. And affected for life, some more tragically than others. What’s the point in having children if you’re just going to beat, molest and neglect them? They’re your children, your responsibility. If you can’t handle them, own up to it and give them up for adoption—a loving family can take them in.

Or, better yet, don’t have children at all. Just say no to procreation and save everyone—including yourself—a lot of time, money and tears.

I do realize that the answers aren’t quite so cut and dried. Not all abusive households start out that way. Even so, something needs to be done, or at least said—if not by the parent, then by a friend or teacher or someone who cares.

The crazy thing here is that we’re not talking about people in a village halfway across the world. We’re talking about right here in the U.S., in California, and I’m sure on the pothole-riddled streets of Chico.

Let’s be good neighbors and not let our youth become so battered and tortured that they grow up to become rapists and murderers. The ones who are products of their environments—they’re the ones we can help, if we’re ready and willing.

On a less serious note: Congrats, Evan and Amy. I’m sure you’ll make fine parents someday, should you choose that route. Oh, and Mark Lore called dibs on that underused bagel slicer.