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How to be a good parent.
What to do, and not to do. From the day your child is born to the day they turn 18, your child is your responsibility. I think this is a much overlooked part of parenthood. Lots of parents have kids without taking into account just how much time, effort, and money go into the upbringing of a child. In the movie, Raising Arizona, Ed and HI sort out a great plan to steal little Nathan Jr. What they don’t plan for, is how many needs a baby has. Babies have many financial and emotional needs that are vital to the quality of their upbringing. The part that kills me is the “Baby Care” book that HI grabs on his way out the window with the child. The instructions probably deal with diapers and medicine and feeding and bedtime stories, etc. These are only the first obstacles to overcome as a parent. What about preschool? What about this baby’s new friends? As a parent, one must mentor their child and teach them right from wrong. But when it comes down to it, everything begins with a Dip/Tet of course. Duhh, who doesn’t know that? Even Evel with his tiny institutionalized brain knows about Dip/Tets. Ed and HI have dug themselves a deep hole. And now they must find a way out before it’s too late. Ed and HI have a couple friends over for an afternoon of fellowship between the families. Dodd, Ed’s friend, gives Ed and HI a whole spread of questions on the child. “Has he had his Dip/Tet? Have you set up his college fund? What’s his name?” HI and Ed have not given the child a name yet, much less thought about the financial status of their household and what a child might cost. The average expenses
of a child over 17 years can cost anywhere from $212,000 to almost $500,000(Izzo). Do Ed and HI have this kind of money? I bet my bottom dollar they don’t. They probably would not live in a small trailer out in the middle of a desert and drive a small station wagon if they did. When couples have children that cannot financially support them adequately, the child could lack in proper clothing, they might not get the best schooling, and it might cost them opportunities in the long run. My mother has chiseled the concept of “lead by example” into my brain since I was a boy. I grew up with three little sisters and I always had to get on their case about one thing or another. Two of my sisters are identical twins; they are 7 years younger than me, so they’re quite a handful. Whether it was at a grocery store or in church Sunday morning, I was to keep my mouth shut and set a good example when I didn’t like something they were doing. Actions are supposed to speak louder than words. She was the mother and it was her job to correct the girls, not mine. Well, this concept directly correlates to part of Raising Arizona. The evening Ed and HI bring little Nathan Jr. Home, HI and his bad habits get him in trouble with “the wife”. HI says a few curse words without even thinking about it around Nathan Jr. The child is still a baby, and has no idea what HI is saying at this point. But if HI keeps this habit around as the baby gets older, it might come back to bite him when the kid comes home from school with a note that says he has been spanked for cursing. There isn’t capital punishment in schools these days but I’m sure there was back then. Setting a good example also extends to what kind of friends daddy hangs out with. If a boy grows up with his father being a hoodlum and associating himself with other hoodlums, the boy is most likely to hang out with similar kids that misbehave. Husbands need to love their wives and in return they need respect. That’s the exchange I have heard is necessary for a healthy marriage many times in church. This is of utmost importance in a family with children so the kids are brought up with the right example being set for them. A boy watching his father or mother treat the other badly as he grows up may end up treating his mother disrespectfully
and eventually, his own wife the same. In Raising Arizona, HI almost always respects the wishes of Edwina. She makes sure he knows not to cuss around Nathan Jr., and that he needs to be around for family time with the child as it grows up. Of course his responses are always “yes mam” without too much complaining. Even though HI does slip up sometimes, he does keep Ed’s instructions in mind because he loves her. Edwina also shows HI respect and tries to deal with his bullshit as well. For example, HI insists that his friends Gale and Evel spend the night after they bust out of the joint. She says that’ll be alright as long as they are gone the next morning. She doesn’t want them to stay, but allows it anyways because she respects the interests of HI. They are doing alright so far as a couple, but remember, there are still the best interests of the child to keep in mind. In the movie Raising Arizona, HI had a severe problem with recidivism. This man could not stay out of trouble. At one point in the movie, after he was supposed to have straightened out, he caught himself driving by convenience stores that weren’t even on the way home from work. After he and Ed stole Nathan Jr., things got worse. I believe this is because his stress level went through the roof. This is like when a smoker quits smoking but smokes a couple cigarettes because they can’t think of another outlet for their tension. He took Ed and Nathan Jr. to a Quick Stop to find some diapers. He ends up robbing the place, which results in a fight with Ed and a deadly chase with the local police force. This is not the kind of behavior little Nathan Jr. needs to be witnessing from his father figure during his childhood, nor does the child need to be in the back seat of the getaway car. He can become injured or locked up for accessory armed robbery. What does it mean to be a good citizen? In the movie Raising Arizona, HI does not do the best job teaching Nathan Jr. what it means to be a good citizen. Even though Nathan Jr. is a baby, it wouldn’t hurt for HI to straighten up and obey the laws for the sake of the child. When a child grows up watching his father disrespect the law, he will most likely do the same. It does not matter if it’s speeding or
stealing a T.V., wrong is wrong. A kid shouldn’t have to debate between obeying the law or not, all because “Well my dad does it, so I guess I can too.” This is when mother could get involved and has to say that it’s not ok just because Daddy does it. Later on in the teenage years this could possibly lead to tension between the mother and father. This could be prevented all by the father. It is the father’s responsibility to keep peace within the household. And the father needs to stick around to do so. So how does having a single parent affect a child? Boys raised in fatherless homes are 8 times more likely to go to prison (Wilson). This is most likely due to the fact that a mother most of the time does not hold the authority that a father can. In my opinion it is always the father’s responsibility to be the man of the house and put their foot down when the need arises. They must be the “head honcho” and I believe that that is the way God intended for life to be here on earth. That is why they call it “the man of the house” and don’t refer to the woman as “the woman of the house”. So with a parent being missing, the child is going to lack something, whether it is love from the mother or discipline from the father, it is all important to the child’s ultimate success, both in his/her life and the betterment of the world. Take our friend Leonard Smalls in the film. He has a tattoo that says “Mama didn’t love me”. So apparently his mother didn’t love him at all. Is there a correlation between that tattoo and what kind of life he leads now? The tattoo does not say, “Mama didn’t love me so I became a bounty hunter and criminal.” But it does show that he came from a broken home. He also mentions that he was sold, like the baby he intended on selling to the highest bidder. He clearly didn’t have a father at all. This explains why he was so prone to violence. 85% of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes (fatherless). After researching a little and finding this statistic, it amazes me that there are so many youths in prison that come from a fatherless home. There is an obvious correlation and if we can see why they are going to prison, can something be done to stop it? Is there a way to keep dads at home where they should be? As of right now there is not a way. People get divorces and die and go to jail and everything else possible can happen to leave a mother single to raise her kids. This is the sad truth, but until something breaks
the cycle, fathers will continue to leave and their kids will continue to go to jail. HI contemplates on leaving his family to run wild with his friends on a bank robbing spree. This will leave Ed to raise Nathan Jr. by herself and make his chances of being another juvenile delinquent very high. He even wrote a note to Ed to leave on the kitchen table the next morning for her. Luckily, HI is a heavy sleeper and passes out dreaming. Ed goes to town at sunrise to “see about some shots for the baby” and leaves HI sleeping on the table on top of the note that he wrote without realizing his intentions. Then all hell breaks loose with HI and his buddies but that’s another matter entirely.
It is a parent’s duty to bring their children up in a household where they learn about integrity, courage, discipline, and other virtues. Nowadays the sad thing is they teach kids in school about these ideals obviously because they are not being learned enough at home for the kids to simply obey well enough in school. If a kid can’t get through the school day without being overly disruptive or disrespectful to the teacher, there is a major problem and that kid needs a beating. When I was in grade school, it was a capital offense to disrespect the teacher, and if I did, I got my ass kicked when I arrived home that afternoon by my parents. Honestly, I never had a problem with respect because it was yelled, slapped, and knocked into my head before I got to school. It was pathetic to me and still is how kids act in school towards their teachers. HI has a lot of work to do as a father if he intends for Nathan Jr. to be a respectable member of society and all that begins at home as a child. So as one may conclude, the law is not the only thing that needs to be respected, but authority in general. Children need to be brought up in a home where authority is not only obeyed, but respected, which brings me to my next subject.
Make your families priorities, your own priorities. This ultimately means don’t be selfish. HI wants to go have a few beers with some of his old buddies that just broke out of prison. His wife wants him to stick around to visit with their friends coming over later that day. He caves and stays because she wants him to. Well done HI. When a man becomes a father, he no longer can worry about his wife and himself. He now has to take his children into consideration with every decision. It is his job to put his wife and kids before himself. If a boy plays football, it is his father’s duty to attend his games and cheer him on. Whether the child is an athlete, artist, outdoorsman, or poet, it is the father’s responsibility to support his children.
Works Cited Izzo, Phil. "Cost to Raise a Child." The Wall Street Journal. N.p., 14 July 2012. Web. <(http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2012/06/14/cost-to-raise-a-child-around-300000-notincluding-college/).>. Wilson, Trish. "Myths and Facts about the Fatherless." N.p., 2002. Web. <Wilson, Trish. "Myths and Facts about the Fatherless." N.p., 2002. Web.>. "The Fatherless Generation." The Fatherless Generation. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Nov. 2012. <http://thefatherlessgeneration.wordpress.com/statistics/>.
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