As I caught up on the daily news stories involving the Anthony Weiner’s indiscretions, Senator Edwards mess, the ridiculous Jesse James and the Arnold Schwarzenegger infidelities, I began to wonder about their parents – because as sure as some rowdy frat boy doing a tequila shooter in Cancun, we know these parents didn’t raise their children with the thought of “I can’t wait till the day my son texts his penis to a 24-year-old college student” or “I wonder when little Susie is going flash her bits to the world, that will be really special."
That is NOT what any parents think when raising their children and that scares me to death. I’m raising sons. These guys were, hell, ARE someone’s sons! Someone’s Dad, someone’s Uncle, someone’s Grandfather. It’s enough to keep a parent up at night!
I’m doing the best I can with what I have – as an adult, a parent, a law-abiding citizen, I am passing down to my children what was passed on to me from my parents. But is it enough? Is it a guarantee that because I am raising my children with morals, beliefs and general human tolerance that they won’t go off the deep end? When and why did crazy set in with these folks? Did it happen at the age of seven? Because at seven my son feels it’s necessary to treat his genitals as a garden hose. Or is it twelve when your hormones are racing through your body and you’re suddenly uncontrollable on the little league field, throwing dirt in the other kids’ faces and punching the coach because you need the attention?
A child psychologist will tell you that for a child any attention is good attention. So for these men, is any publicity good publicity? How does someone in a powerful position like Weiner not know that texting pictures of his genitals are grossly inappropriate? Isn’t that common sense? How did it elude him? Power? Entitlement? I know we’ve all made stupid and embarrassing mistakes, just ask my college buddies, but there comes a point in one’s life when making stupid and embarrassing mistakes is actually a choice.
As a kid, a teen, a young adult you don’t know any better but over the age of thirty reality smacks insanity across the face and you know that certain behavior is just not acceptable. These men knew it was wrong, but were they so far gone that they thought they could get away with it? Does the adrenaline rush of having a secret and conducting themselves like frat boys gone wild abate their fears and propel their fantasy that they will always be remembered? Is it a neurological imbalance or just plain stupidity?
Unfortunately, there are no real answers to these questions. Just like there’s no way for me to know if I’m raising the next Charlie Sheen or the Dali Lama, but I have to believe that if I, as a parent, stay present in my children’s lives, stop them when I see them acting inappropriately, and have the strength to reprimand them no matter what their age, they might grow up with some morals and ethics. Now I’m not saying they won’t get falling down drunk or do the stupid things I did in my youth, but I’d like to hope that much like myself and their father, they’ll see that part of their life as a rite of passage, one that’s okay to let go of and outgrow because life is sweeter when we learn from our past mistakes and no matter who you are, or how much money or power you think you have, inappropriate behavior is always inappropriate.