We are all surrogate parents

by Bob on Thursday, 21 February 2008 Comments
If the whole of mankind is descended from a first single pair of humanoids, then all 6,300,000,000 people presently on earth are all branches of one tree whose roots go back thousands and thousands of years. But that doesn’t make us siblings. At most we are very, very distant cousins. We all have DNA, but for the most part our DNA establishes the distances between us more than the closeness. Siblings are only those who share the same parents or at least one parent.
If I wish to understand my humanity, then I should study anthropology, which embraces the whole of humankind. But if I wish to know the particular origins and background that is responsible for my unique body and character, then I should look at my parents and more immediate ancestors. They are the roots of the genetic branch that is me.
But it is more than the genetic bonds between my parents and me that have made me what I am today. They raised me, so that as I grew up I absorbed their example and their instruction. This process of imitation and assimilation has a lasting effect upon my attitudes and behavior, but at the same time it was modified, enhanced, weakened, or even sometimes denied by my willful acceptance or rejection of what I learned from them and/or by outside influences that drew me away.
There is much more to parenthood than just providing ovum or sperm. The life that is generated needs guidance and protection as it grows and develops. Nowadays for better or worse, a great deal of the duties of parenting are provided by surrogate parents, since the real parents are either not at home or lack the skill or education needed to perform the task. This places extra burden and responsibility upon foster parents, guardians, caregivers and educators. Sometimes the young learn more from movies, TV, the internet, comic books, cartoons or the mores of the gangs they hang out with than from the lessons of sound morality and tradition or the guidance of wise parents or trustworthy guardians.
Modern society needs to pay more and more attention to the preparation of its young for adulthood. On the one hand, everything possible should be done to ensure that parents and guardians are up to fulfilling their responsibilities and on the other hand, steps should be taken that for all youth of whatever strata of society to which they belong, there are structures in place to fill in the gaps and remedy the deficiencies and deviations.
In this sense, every grownup in society is a parent, whether one has children of one’s own or not. The example of our behavior, the influence of what we say is reflected on the youth we come in contact with. But not only that, if we really love our country and are concerned for the welfare of our neighbors we should take every opportunity we can to influence and assist the education and proper growing up of those around us.

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