As the denouement of a really upsetting celebrity scandal came to its close, a tearful child pleaded to her mother... "Mom, it's not right."
It was a painful episode to watch. A young woman, begging her mother, the person who should have taught her right from wrong, to help her, to teach her the rules of life. It was a little too late. And so she wept as the Universe was bringing the teaching and settling the score.
I'm in no glass house. I understand only too well the pitfalls of maternal amnesia and denial. I am not throwing stones but merely a lifesaver, a buoy of sanity and understanding.
"My analyst told me, that I was right out of my head," Joni Mitchell sang in the song "Twisted." I was twisted. I am twisted. I am deluded that my attempts at being liked and loved by my children and friends with them -- all at the same time -- were going to result in "well raised children." We were the generation that would take the job of raising our children and turn it into... PARENTING. We were the generation who applauded every move they made. Every step they took. "Good climbing, Brandon" was our hue and cry. We were raised by people who didn't "understand" us and now we don't "understand" why our children are so messed up.
It is a national epidemic. Omnipotent children running amok or sitting amok as they watch TV and play electronic games and shop on eBay.
The sad paths of the three most popular young women -- privileged but from varying backgrounds, talented, beautiful and spectacular -- have ended in prison, rehab and mental illness. I hope their mothers are worried sick and wondering, "What could I have done differently?" And our culture should be asking the same question too.
What we need to do is look long and hard at our part in all this. Where did our children get the message that the rules don't apply to them? And where did we, the Mothers, get the message that if we abdicate our responsibilities as Mothers, the Universe will do our job for us? And it does, but without any of the love and tenderness and compassion that we could have given, along with the lessons.
Now it's just the cold hard facts of a jail cell or the emptiness of a rehab room.
I'm not pointing fingers. I'm asking questions.
Can we take the wrenching sight of Paris asking her mother, "why?" and ask it of ourselves?
My analyst told me this: "Children are paparazzi. They take your picture mentally when you don't want them to, when you don't look good, and show it back to you in their behavior."
Let's hope that we all learn what is RIGHT and what is so WRONG.
Wake up, Mothers and smell the denial.
UPDATE: For those of you interested in delving much deeper into the ideas I shared in the blog you can go here and read the work of Dr. Bernard Bail and his new book The Mother's Signature.