It’s retribution, I tell you.
You instil certain principles in your children.
And then they grow up and use those very principles against you.
Take the case of the rabbit.
We raised our children to be kind to animals. We forgot to mention that kindness might have limits — when the wild rabbit ignores the grass and clover and eats its merciless way through your vegetable and flower garden, for example.
So we set a humane trap, meaning to entice the rabbit with carrots, then trap it, and bring it safely to a nearby park.
“W-what?” Asked younger daughter in outraged tones. “You do realize that when you move the rabbit from his territory, you’re sentencing him to death? He won’t cope and will be eaten by predators!”
God forbid we should become murderers, even while attacked by marauding rabbits.
And then there was that time I generalized about a whole group of people.
“M-mum!” said older daughter, shocked and appalled. “You, of all people! You, who taught me to never stereotype, never generalize. I cannot believe it!”
I tell you: It’s enough to make a person raise their kids without any principles at all.
And then there’s Meghan Markle’s father, Thomas, and his Very Tough Time. His daughter recently married a British prince and he feels excluded because she hasn’t called recently.
Meghan has repeatedly praised her parents for raising her with strong values: the importance of hard work, discernment, dignity, humanitarianism. And their daughter seems caring, accomplished, dignified. She excelled as an actor, blogger and humanitarian, recently married a British prince in a ceremony watched by millions (including myself) around the world, and became the duchess of Sussex.
All parents want to be loved and respected by their offspring. No-one wants to be left behind. But Thomas’ revenge included a 9-hour interview with the same newspaper who led an 18-month-long smear campaign against his daughter.
Yes, he admitted, I made a little mistake. I took money from the media for staged photos, disgracing her just before her wedding. Then I didn’t show up to walk her down the aisle. Then I blabbed her private affairs to the media. Then I publicly insulted her, her mother and her royal in-laws.
But I helped raise her, and paid her school fees; she owes me. If she continues refusing to talk to me, I’ll just inflict more hurt. Publicly.
Meanwhile, the duchess seems to be holding her father to certain values. Dignity and discernment, for starters.
Parenting may be the toughest and most expensive job in the world. We do our best for our children, but the time and money we give cannot buy their souls.
When they’re hurt because we don’t practice what we preach, the least we can do — painful though it is — is to humbly reflect on our missteps, find the grace to admit our errors, and make amends.
49 thoughts on “Rabbits, Principles and Thomas Markle”
You’re a great parent Cynthia, even if you are human and make mistakes. Meghan’s father needs a kick in the pants and a gag! 🙂
Yes, he needs a kick. He’s gone over to the edge, it seems. To be fair to him, the press made a his life a living hell and he had my sympathy before his latest salvo against his daughter.
Agreed on both accounts.
Teaching or admonishing others how to behave while not adhering to the same set of standards ourselves appears to be part of the general human condition. Others can act as mirrors for us, if we choose to look, allowing us to see what behaviors in ourselves need changing, or even what we are pleased to be like, or desire to be like. I think Thomas Markle would fall into that category of behavior one would not wish to emulate. If there is any silver lining to what he has done, it would be to demonstrate how ugly and useless this kind of behavior is, and that it should be discouraged. All that aside, from everything I can tell, you and Hamilin have been wonderful parents. If I were a child again, I would be honored to have you both as parents. Your house is filled with love, caring and dignity. Who wouldn’t want that? I want to be like you!
You made me smile. And I want to be like my sisters and close friends, whose parenting skills are superb, Lavinia! I know I have wonderful children, but when I think of the mistakes I made at times, I’m just glad they turned out well! Thanks for your wise and thoughtful comments. I can’t imagine how a parent could think emotional abuse and betrayal is a way to get a daughter’s love.
All of us make mistakes, wishing we knew then what we know now. In the Great Ledger of Life (as blogger Mr. Tootlepedal calls it), there are always debits and credits to our “account”. In the end, it is the balance that counts. You and Hamlin are well in the green. 🙂
Perhaps Mr. Markle is a former victim of this kind of behavior from a parent himself. There must be a story there. I pity him to feel he has to resort to this kind of attention seeking. He has further alienated himself , if this is what he was trying to accomplish. One cannot get love this way.
Well said. Each of us has offended more than we would like to admit. To show each other grace is not always easy…but then we forget we have been shown grace ourselves.
Very wise, Karen. We so often fail to see ourselves clearly.
Lots of food for thought. It sounds like that father is getting exactly what he deserves. What the heck!
What the heck, indeed. When did emotional abuse and betrayal ever amount to true parental love?
I don’t know. He has issues, I guess. Hard enough to be marrying into the royal family—she must really love him!—without having to deal with such a difficult and, yes, an emotionally abusive, father.
Well written post with thoughts for all of us to consider. We try, but sometimes that isn’t quite good enough is it. 🙂
You’re right, Judy. That’s why parenting is such a humbling task. We screw up and keep learning. God knows what Mr. Markle is learning from his misdeeds but I hope it’s a very big lesson.
Sometimes children listen to us when we try to teach them and then toss it back to us when we need it. I can only do the best I can today and try to forget mistakes of the past. Good post! I am sure you continue to be a great mom!
Well said, Jo Nell. Maybe kids were put in our lives to keep us humble. Then they get to parent and see how challenging it can be.
Great post, Cynthia. I like all your examples, including Thomas Markle, who has recently made yet yet another unkind and unsolicited comment about his daughter. Good thing she’s now living in the land of the stiff upper lip! 😉
Yes, indeed! Sometimes it helps. Let the Markles have their feud all by themselves with no-one replying.
We can all be hypocrites and I think it’s a good thing when someone points out that we are being one, even if it is one of our own children.
I don’t know anything about Thomas Markle but it sounds like he could use a good lesson in humility.
I wondered if there was some underlying thing that drove his behaviour. For example, healthcare in the States is notoriously expensive, right? And he needed life-saving heart surgery? So perhaps he was tempted to make a bargain with the media that then got out of hand, and now he can’t get out of the devil’s grip.
On the other hand, perhaps he is simply the father from hell.
I never had a father, myself. On reflection, perhaps that was s lucky thing.
Gwendoline, You could well be right. We don’t know what lies beneath. What we see is what he says and does. So sad for him and for Meghan.
Old customer service habit from dealing with angry/aggressive/upset customers. Don’t respond to the surface actions – try to find out what’s hidden in that iceberg and deal with that complaint/concern.
As you refer, so sad for both that all this plays out in such a public space.
Don’t know much about the Markle story, but I do like your rabbits!
Thank you. May I send them your way? (tee hee…)
Sure! Swap you an elephant for a rabbit!
The Duchess of Sussex’s father sounds incredibly unfatherly. How could anyone do such to their child! (Rhetorical question as I am only too aware of what my daughter’s dad might do should she achieve any sort of fame.)
Hi Helen: It really is shocking. And so disappointing in a parent whose daughter’s only words about him have been kind and respectful.
The last two paragraphs are crucial
Phew, I’m glad I’m not a parent 🙂 But seriously, you did your job well instilling the values so it’s only fair they hold you to account!!
Yes, Andrea. I agree. I’m quite proud of them for taking me to task, uncomfortable though it feels each time!
Well said. I never thought about that with regard to the rabbits. I just let them eat everything. 😉 Guess they thought I was planting it for them. 🙂 Mr. Markle has forgotten that though we have invested a great deal in the raising of our children, we don’t own them and they owe us nothing. If we get their love and respect, it’s because we earn it.
Beautifully said, Marlene.
Mr Markle seems to be an unwell and very vulnerable person. It must be stressful for him to have his daughter in this extraordinary new role and it must be stressful for Meghan to see him behaving like this. She may want to remind him of his better self but I wonder how much time she has to do so. When I think how difficult it is just to coordinate schedules and communication and phone calls with my mother who only lives across the ‘ditch’, I can imagine how incredibly difficult it must be for Meghan to keep in touch with her father. She has a new role, she is learning a new role, she has a hugely busy schedule; a well father would give her space and time. The media should do the same.
Wisely assessed and well stated, Gallivanta. Thank you. If all our parents went on a crusade to punish us because we’ve not called for a while, what a mess! The strange thing is, he refused every offer they made, including coming to visit him after the wedding, (and while he was allegedly recuperating from surgery etc. etc.) My take: his nasty older daughter Samantha is Iago to his Othello. All her hatred of her much younger half-sister (attested by her entire family) is being played out right now through her manipulation of an unbalanced and vulnerable elderly man. Meghan, however, refuses to play Desdemona, and good for her.
Your scenario sounds very plausible. And Shakespeare is very apt for this situation. 🙂
Yup. I suspect he and the Old Testament cornered the market on all humanity’s frailties.
It does sound like he’s behaved like a bit of a bell end. But then, if you’re hounded and stressed your judgement may not be at its best. I think that Guardian article you link to in the comments is very illuminating. I think of him as less of a bell end now. But at the same time, he does seem to have cut off his own nose to spite his face. The real loser from this will be the man who has alienated his daughter, surely.
I agree, about raising people with standards, standards all round, how can we make out we are in the right if we don’t at least try to act above reproach?
I did just the same to the rabbits in my garden and got reprimanded by my daughter too. I still think rehousing them is better than killing them. As for Markle, it defies belief. Having lovely grown up children is the greatest privilege in the world, weird that he doesn’t realise this.
I love this one (and oh, apologies, but I’m with your daughter on the rabbit bit! Even though mine keep eating my poppy shoots–they’ll never grow . . . ).
I love this post (and agree with moving the pesky rabbits). I’m disgusted by her father’s actions or anyone’s public actions against their child unless it is the absolute only possible way to help them. Greed and jealousy do terrible things to people. Beautiful photos!
Oh such a great post! What a read. And you know what? I think you must be the best Mum! We won’t talk about Meghan’s dad though! …
I couldn’t agree with you more! I hadn’t followed in the news all you wrote about, but I am appalled – she owes him? Really?
Also – I work with a humane society for decades – if the adult rabbit is released in the daytime when any predators would be sleeping, and near abundant food and water sources, and with plenty of ground cover until he can find a place to build a burrow, he likely will be OK. However, a public park, monitored by groundskeepers and where a lot of people mill about, might not be safe. Know of some bigger stretches of land or anyone with plenty of open space?
Very interesting post, Cynthia. We cannot keep rabbits/deer/squirrels out of our garden; it is just not possible. So, we try to protect the plants that are most vulnerable and leave the rest to chance.
Being a parent is a very difficult job – so full of pit-falls and it’s very easy to mess things up. I know I have made mistakes but they were done without malice and I have learnt from them. I couldn’t behave as Meghan’s father has behaved even though he has had a difficult time.
Hi Cynthia, I never thought I would read about it on a blog too. This story has gone too far with the Markles. A good father should never ask a daughter to pay him back his money. Why when she married angelson he did not ask money back, and why now? And her sister Samentha and her “princess pushy” book, I hope that when her book comes out, no book shops in the USA will fill their shelves up with it, since I know in the UK it will not be sold. The Americans should campaign to stop her book to go for sale. In most families there are monsters. But that “AMERICAN MARKLES” should find a place in a world where there are no human beings living, as long as they do not exist in our world, who cares where they are.