Thursday, May 10, 2012

Parenting Effort Of The Week

With today's blog post, I'd like to shower praise on two fun-loving parents and publicly express my distaste for all those overly cautious people out there who interfere with perfectly good parenting tactics.  Earlier this week a Ft. Wayne, Indiana couple was arrested after driving with four children on the hood of their car.  It's easy to pass judgment on the 29 year-old parents if you haven't heard all of the details.

Let's face it, sometimes you want to get in your car, enjoy a stiff drink, and drive home from the liquor store in peace, free of the shrill cries of annoying children.  The parents, Aaron Stefanski and Jessica Clark, were not only justified in their actions, but also highly responsible.  They didn't just drive off with the kids holding on for dear life--before leaving the parking lot at Ft. Wayne's classy Belmont Beverage, they strapped their four kids, ages four, five, six, and seven, down to the hood (apparently they're pumping out children on a regular schedule).  And this was no cruel punishment--the kids willingly signed up for the car-top adventure, saying that they thought it sounded like fun.

Unfortunately, some nosy, overbearing jerk had to come along and ruined the fun for everyone.  After somebody called 911, the police arrived and put an end to the joyride.  Believe it or not, instead of a good laugh and a of round high-fives, the cops arrested the parents!  I'll concede that Stefanski's three counts of operating while intoxicated were probably justified, given his .17 blood-alcohol level...after all, he could have really hurt another driver with his drunkenness.  But the fact that both parents were charged with one count of child neglect is absolutely unfathomable.

What's the world coming to?  One of our country's aspiring presidential nominees openly admitted to strapping the family dog to the roof of his station wagon in an airtight crate when driving cross-country on family vacations. (Let's hope he misspoke when he chose the word airtight.)  His only regret was the annoyance of having to pull over when the dog's diarrhea leaked from the crate and began to run down the sides of the car.

There was some public backlash, including countless websites devoted to the story, but not enough to stop Mitt Romney from emerging as the Republican front-runner.  And here he was, admitting shady treatment of man's best friend.  Have you ever heard a child referred to as man's best friend?  Absolutely not.  And once again, let's keep in mind that the Ft. Wayne foursome agreed to their wild ride, whereas a dog can't say no if he doesn't want any part of a rooftop adventure.

Clearly, there's an important lesson here for all of us.  I don't have any children myself, thank god, but for all the parents in the world, I tell you this: there's nothing wrong with wanting a little quiet time for yourself in the car, away from the kids.  But clearly the cops think it's unacceptable to plop the kids on the roof, strap or no strap.  The key is to keep the prying eyes of strangers off your rooftop passengers, so a car carrier is a great option.  If you can afford it, a durable plastic model is stylish and practical:

If you don't want to invest that much money in your kids, that's perfectly understandable.  You can assemble a slightly cheaper--though less aerodynamic--version of the rooftop carrier with readily available materials:

The police may never understand, but don't let that stop you from following your natural parental instincts.  Moms and dads know best, and it's not the rest of the world's job to interfere with some perfectly good child rearin'.  Here's a clip of the news coverage, along with some links to the full story:

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