People often ask me this question, perplexed at the concept. They understand the phrase and its obvious meaning, but the value of the concept is often imperceptible to them. To make something so evident, ‘more’ evident I tell a story of a movie I saw as a little girl. It highlights the best intentions of a parent that prove costly, even deadly, because the parent could not be objective in their blind love for their child.
The movie starts with a prison guard asking a man on death row to state his last wish. The man says he wants to see his mother one last time. In the next scene, the mother and son are standing at each side of the prison bars when he reaches through and begins to strangle her. I’d describe her expression as a mixture of terror and surprise, when the son begins to explain to her that he is being sent to his death thanks to her.
Guards step in, then the cops and the priest who is at hand and the inmate explains that his mother “loved him into a life of crime”, starting with the day he shop lifted a candy bar for the very first time. He was six years old.
The entire movie plays out in flashbacks of every age where he would continue to commit crimes and misdemeanors and the mother never brought any consequences to bear on him. She was too busy loving him.
That movie made its mark on me then and has remained timeless through decades – even as recently as the case of the “Affluenza Teen” who already had a serious rap sheet by the time he was a teenager. Seems his parents had (& threw) money at his mistakes and indiscretions to make his problems go away each time. Problem Solved.
Until 4 people lost their lives, 4 families got ripped to shreds, and we now have a social deviant in lieu of what could have possibly been a productive adult and an exemplary citizen.
Parenting is nothing if not a verb first and foremost. More on this crucial verb in the Fall.
Don’t go far.