Wikipedia’s definition of a parent: A parent (from Latin: parēns = parent) is a caretaker of the offspring in their own species. Going one step further, the definition of a “caretaker” is a person who takes care of another, in the general sense or, in the sense because the children are unable to care for themselves.
Take this example and feel free to offer feedback or relevant experiences. Ginny is a high school student and considered “Sweet Sixteen,” and while her naivety is evident, she tries her best to fit in by participating in what the “in-crowds” are doing.
One of her teachers, he said to call him “Pat,” is a bit different in that he has a wound of some sort and limps. Rumor has it he has an artificial leg, but she certainly isn’t about to inquire, as he seems like a nice enough guy. He always makes sure she understands the homework and often smiles from his desk—nothing unusual.
After school one day, Pat invites her to come up to his cabin for the weekend and enjoy some beer while they chat. Ginny is confused because she is aware of the obvious age difference, not to mention she is under-aged to drink. Not wanting to sound like a baby by doubting him, she asks if she can bring her girlfriend. “Sure,” Pat says, sounding pleased, “The more, the merrier!”
When Ginny speaks to her friend about the ordeal, her friend tells her that the whole thing sounds pretty weird. She conveys her concern about a teacher asking a student to go drinking and suggests Ginny tell her parents. Ginny’s mother has been gone for a while and all that remains is her father.
Ginny rolls over in her mind all the ways the conversation could go because she is not quite sure what the outcome will be. When she gets home, she blurts it out. “Dad,” she begins unsure of herself, “There’s a teacher at my school who asked me out on a date—“
Her father laughs and turns to face her, “Really?”
“Yes, and he says we can have beer while we’re up at his cabin. What should I do?”
“Wow,” he begins, “You’ll get an easy A in that class, won’t you?” He turns his back and continues to put the groceries away.
With the issue unresolved, and feeling as if her father thought she wanted to share intimate secrets with him, she went to a teacher at the school. It was her English teacher, and although beginning each class with a meditation seems odd, Ginny trusts her.
The teacher agrees to meet her after class and speaks to her, asking if Pat has offered anything in the form of a gift. “No,” Ginny states, “The only things he has given me are these.” She opens her purse to dump a pile of folded up papers containing notes the teacher has written. Each one contains a flirty little message.
The English teacher is alarmed, until she regains her composure. “The only thing we need to do is wash this out of your mind so you can heal yourself.” She begins a chant and has the girl rip up each of the notes one by one and burn them with a lighter, allowing the pieces to flitter into the garbage.
The following day Pat wasn’t there, but a substitute. Ginny’s father asks her what her plans for the weekend are, as he wants to know if she intends on visiting the teacher. “No,” she states, “He’s no longer teaching there, I guess.”
“Oh well,” her father snickers, “Guess you’ll be needing to do your homework after all.”
So, at what point should we draw the line? What can children do, if they know their parents as being “correct” so they never question them, eventually feeling insignificant themselves? How can we become more alert and unafraid to defend these children? The English teacher defended Ginny from Pat, but who defended Ginny from her father?