### Mastering Parenthood: A Daunting Challenge

“_Becoming a parent is more than just having children, just as having a piano does not make you a pianist_”

Michael Levine

The events of November 30, 2021, marked a tragic turn for four students at Oxford High School in Michigan, USA. 15-year-old Ethan Robert Crumbley used a 9mm semi-automatic handgun to fatally shoot four students and wound seven others. Subsequently, Ethan faced trial as an adult and received a life sentence without parole, along with an additional 24 years on 24 charges, including murder and terrorism. This incident revealed a significant legal precedent in the USA as Ethan’s parents were charged with involuntary manslaughter. Jennifer Crumbley, his mother, was found guilty for being in possession of the gun and could face a 60-year prison term starting in April 2024. Meanwhile, James Crumbley, the father, is awaiting trial for neglecting his son’s mental health needs and purchasing the firearm used in the shooting.

In response to these developments, Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard remarked, “I commend the jury for breaking new ground with this verdict today. If a parent’s initial concern upon learning of an active shooter at their child’s school is not the safety of their own child but rather whether their child is the perpetrator, it indicates a failure to act on warning signs. Accountability and responsibility are paramount.” This verdict underscores the importance of the adage “if you see something, say something,” as both parents ignored their son’s troubling behavior and cries for help.

The sheriff’s statement sheds light on the responsibilities and challenges of parenting. While having a child is a source of immense joy, raising a human being, with its various life stages and unique physical, emotional, and mental needs, presents distinct challenges compared to other offspring. Unlike animals, humans progress through infancy, childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, each phase demanding specific forms of care.

An intriguing case involves South Korean identical twin girls separated at the age of two in 1976, with one getting lost during a visit to the market with their grandmother. Raised in different countries (Korea and the USA) without knowledge of each other’s existence, they were reunited in 2020 through DNA testing. Despite sharing genetic similarities, their upbringing in diverse environments led to notable differences in personality traits and intelligence levels, highlighting the interplay between genetics and upbringing.

Parenting is a critical endeavor that significantly impacts a child’s development. While physical care is essential, nurturing a child’s mental well-being is equally vital for individual and societal health. The portrayal of flawed parenting in Mitch Albom’s novel, ‘_The Five People You Meet in Heaven_’, underscores the lasting impact of childhood experiences on adulthood. Conversely, children raised by emotionally intelligent and competent parents are likely to fare better in terms of emotional well-being and behavior.

In many societies, the pressure on couples to have children immediately after marriage contributes to overpopulation and underscores the importance of informed and responsible parenting. Educated and emotionally mature parents play a crucial role in raising a healthy and balanced generation. As James Dobson aptly puts it, “_Children are not casual guests in our home. They have been loaned to us temporarily for the purpose of loving them and instilling a foundation of values on which their future lives will be built_”.