A Good Home, Living by One's Principles, Meghan Markle, Parenting

Rabbits, Principles and Thomas Markle

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.

Blog Photo - Rabbit in tall grass

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.

Blog Photo - Garden Hosta cu

Blog Photo - Garden Zucchini

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.

Blog Photo - Meghan Markle and page boys climb church steps

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. 

Blog Photo - Meghan Markle on church steps

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.

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A Good Home, Family, Mothering, Parents, Raising Children

My Proudest Achievement – Part 1

At the pinnacle of my career some years ago – and about to receive another award for outstanding achievement – a television interviewer asked me:

“What is your proudest achievement?”

I looked at her smiling face, at the cameras and lights surrounding us,  at the bare studio floors — and paused only slightly.

Thanks to: publicdomainpictures.net
publicdomainpictures.net

“Raising children who have become strong, decent adults.”

She stared back, surprised. It was not the answer she was expecting.

I knew she was expecting me to mention my professional achievements.  The award-winning television programs. Contributions to the media industry in Canada and other countries. Championing new program methods and technology. Mentoring women and cultural minorities in the sector.  Helping to transform South African public television after apartheid.

But she hadn’t asked me to identify my biggest career achievement. She’d asked about my proudest achievement, and I had answered truthfully.

Was that a look of disappointment I saw on her face? That a woman who had come of age during the recent years of the women’s movement, the years when we fought hard for gender equity in the workplace — that a woman who had climbed those challenging ranks, moving up from one influential role to the next – that such a woman should, after all that, point to raising children as her proudest achievement?

I didn’t mean to disappoint her. I didn’t mean to suggest to someone in the early years of her career that mothering should be her greatest aspiration.

I was simply voicing my own truth.

Not that I’d always known it. There were times when I was being lauded for my career achievements and I got a big head, and could feel myself getting high on my own supply.

publicdomainpictures.net
publicdomainpictures.net

But now I had been there, done that and won all the career accolades. And, upon reflection — as I thought about all the things that I had done with my life — I knew my answer as surely as I knew my own name.

**

Parenting was the thing for which I’d never received an award – and rightly so.  Indeed, I was still struggling at it. Parenting may come easily to some people. Not me.

Just a few days before, I’d rushed to give one daughter advice when all she’d needed was a listening ear.

A week before that, I’d missed an opportunity to hang out with my other daughter, only to realize later that I could and should have gone. I’d remembered too late, my mother’s advice: “When your children invite you to spend time with them, drop everything else and go.”

Ironic, then, that I should name parenting as my proudest achievement.

My mother, despite her academic brilliance, had given up her own dreams of becoming a professional teacher. Money was scarce after her father’s unexpected death.

Instead of going to teachers’ college, my mother had married, borne five children and become a seamstress – designing and sewing dresses for the ladies of our village, something she did at home.

She was a loving mother; a great mother. But I vowed that my own life would be different.  I wasn’t sure if I’d have children, but I knew that I’d have a career, one that took place outside the home.

image via brolero.com
image via brolero.com

Coming up next:  Part 2 – The Juggling Act