A Curmudgeon Family Lawyer’s View of Parenting


I’m mad! This is my 49th Christmas as a lawyer, and I am royally pissed-off. “Why?”, you ask? I’ll tell you.

The world is filled with mediocre and bad parents; even ones who love their children are often “p-poor parents”.

I see it every hour of every waking day. Most of my clients are open to my guidance. I love that. They think they are getting a legal “mouthpiece”, and I try to deliver more, from this perspective of nearly 50 years’ lawyering (75 on this earth), parenting, and almost 20 years of grandparenting.


A good parent:

  1. Loves, nurtures, pays attention to, feeds (proper food in proper proportions), clothes, shelters, and trains their child, with firm, loving, discipline.
  2. Note; With our corrupt food production and distribution system, this is a huge problem for parents, especially the working-class dads who rely primarily on fast-food to feed their children, a form of child neglect and abuse. Understanding nutrition, diet, and the dangers of  “The American  Diet” is a time-consuming, difficult, process. Most of us just give in.
  3. These services and devotions are supposed to be “a given”, but in this world of shallow thinking,  a superficial culture, and with most religions unable to cope with rapid change and the reality of science, adrift on matters of moral and ethical importance, what is a parent to do? Especially the millions who didn’t get what they needed from their parents?
  4. I think good parents must also do everything within their power to educate their child and promote that child’s wonder and curiosity.
  5. That means NOT to allow them to stare hour after hour into a “device” without careful adult supervision and guidance.
  6. In my day, a “device” was called “a book”. My parents really didn’t know much of what I read, but they were confident that “the bookmobile”, a rolling library that showed up at Park View Grade School a couple of times a week, would steer me wrong. It didn’t.
  7. T.V. arrived in my world early on, when I was four. That movie where Gila Monsters were turned into dinosaurs, chasing cavemen,  enthralled me. There was one channel at first, KDKA Pittsburgh, and never more than 3 thereafter. Only later did I learn how few cave people their were in the time of dinosaurs!
  8. My parents were not readers and scholars, but they sure exposed me to resources that were. I have written about my organizations and schools elsewhere. The Formative Effect on a Country Boy of the 4-H Clubs in Ohio County, WV in the ‘50’s and ‘60’s – Attorney J. Burton Hunter III : Attorney J. Burton Hunter III (hunterlawfirm.net)
  9. The mindset that education ends for a parent the last day they walk out of school is wrong, wrong. We should be lifetime learners, and never from a source with “an agenda” whether that agenda is political or doctrinaire religion.
  10. If you have read the biographies and autobiographies of great people who moved far above expectations, sometimes, like Abe Lincoln, it looks like he did it himself. He was a brilliant “auto-didact”. But someone got those 12 books and put them in their log cabin and instilled some values.
  11. But, often, a parent with little or no education wanted more for their children than they had and pushed them to succeed and exceed what our “class system” had for them.
  12. Not everyone is a Fredrick Douglas, but, even then, the “master’s” wife taught him the alphabet before her husband (then her “master”) shut her down and told her there would be hell to pay if “…niggers ever learn to read and write!”. (Douglas then got neighborhood white boys who were attending school to “translate” words for him. That’s how he taught himself to read and write.) I commend to you his short autobiography.
  13. Perhaps I’m not the one to say this, but parents need to model good behavior. They must refrain from cursing around the kids, moderate alcohol use, absolutely no improper drugs, respect for other adults, especially mother or father, and even if no longer together; especially if they are no longer together.
  14. I am struggling with my lifetime belief that boys need a father who fulfills and lives the “manly ideal” and girls model their mothers’. I think I am going to go back and read Ursula L. LeGuin’s “Left Hand of Darkness” where there are no longer genders or sexual taboos.  https://ryanyarber.com/2020/07/30/beyond-gender-exploring-ursula-k-le-guins-thought-experiment-in-the-left-hand-of-darkness/
  15. Teach your children what you know. If you know how to think, study, learn, and read, great! If you don’t, try to get better at it! And not by watching Sean Hannity or Tucker Carlson. They aren’t “role models”. I abhor dishonest people of all stripes.
  16. If you can tear down and build back an engine, do that.
  17. If you can catch a wary trout, do that. Or even a Bluegill with a worm or popper, teach them that!
  18. If you can cook the fluffiest souffle, do that.
  19. I hesitate to say it, but if you are the best monopoly or poker player on the planet, share that. And make the child listen over and over to “The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers.
  20. If you are an artist, craftsperson, musician, chess player, or athlete………duh!!
  21. Remember, the partner to curiosity is creativity! For good measure, marry them to passion!
  22. And, using my beloved Mother and Wife as my highest examples, give something that I was NOT good at, your TIME, and YOUR PATIENCE. Those wonderful women could/can do puzzles and board games by the hours, read, listen, and play. It was in their DNA, but it taught me what “to mother” a person is all about.
  23. My point? You are going to be one of the most important influences in your child’s life, if not THE most important.
  24. If you are a mindless drudge with no purpose or motivation, your child will have to be a genius to overcome that.
  25. Your goal should be for your child to fulfill her/his every potential.
  26. Don’t blow it! Think! Don’t live in a manipulated world. Fight back. Learn! Study! Think! Fight for honorable things. Don’t follow every trend. Don’t buy into, “Me,Me, Me!”
  27. How many tattoos are too much? Four.
  28. How many sex partners before you settle down? 2…….or 3 if you can manage that. But always responsibly, never intrusively, always with the deepest appreciation to the person who would grant you that privilege. “NO”  means NO, even if are sure it means “Yes.” Perhaps it means, “Maybe later.” Be ok with that.
  29. “Settling down” means one partner, for life, even on the Internet. I just heard the term “non-monogamous marriage”; that was called “Open Marriage”” in the ‘70’s. If you are one of 12 people on the planet who can manage that, go for it.
  30. Important note: marriages and relationships fail, especially in a society like ours. If it ends, so it gently and sensibly, and when you try again, use your head and your heart.
  31. If you don’t have curiosity, at least see it as a “non-veggie” person sees spinach or kale. It’s good for you!
  32. So, promote and pursue life with curiosity,
  33. HOW else will you pass it on to your children? Answer?  You won’t!

I’m tired. But this is what I believe.

This post was written by Burton Hunter

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