As a parent, you want your child to know you've got their back, especially when they become teenagers. They need to know they can always rely on their parents to guide them to safety.
As parents, we have to hope the foundation blocks we laid down are sufficient to withstand any trial our young one's face.
We stand by, waiting to leap in to rescue our kids, but knowing, too, that they have to deal with some things on their own. We have to pick and choose our battles. Come in too early and they won't learn how to be resilient and how to deal with disappointment and failure. Come in too late and they may not recover from setbacks.
I was a smother mother. Perhaps it's because I had only one. Perhaps it's because what I thought was caring was actually controlling. Whatever it was, I was forever trying to make life easy for her.
If she was too late organising tickets to a concert, I tracked them down. Her friends needed transport to a festival? I'd book a rental. I thought I was helping but, really, I was denying my daughter and her friends the opportunity to overcome setbacks themselves.
No permanent harm seems to have been done to her psyche, but now I know how to be a parent, I'd love the chance to do it all again and do it properly.
I have a feeling that a few years from now, the litigious parents of the two miscreant St Bede's rowers will be ruing the decisions they made this week, too. You know the story: two young men with the St Bede's team were heading to the Maadi Cup, the blue-ribbon rowing regatta for secondary schools.
Jack Bell and Jordan Kennedy decided to hop on the luggage carousel at Auckland Airport while they were waiting for the supervising adults to pick up the rental vans to transport the team to Karapiro. They disappeared through the rubber curtain into the restricted baggage area, where they were roundly admonished by airport security and police.
After the incident, the head of sport sent an email to the rector of St Bede's, who decided the two boys should be dropped from the team and sent home. This happened on Friday morning.
By Friday afternoon, the parents of the two boys had lawyered up and gone to the High Court to seek an urgent injunction to get their little darlings back in the boat.
On Monday, an interim injunction was granted, on the basis that the rector failed to speak to any of the other boys, to airport security or to the boys themselves.
Justice Rachel Dunningham decided the disciplinary action was not in proportion to the misconduct and granted the teenagers permission to compete.
Talkback and online media erupted and it's hardly surprising. Who among us, even we smother mothers, would contemplate spending at least $20,000 to take our children's teachers to court?
Surely, in the case of the Kennedy/Bell parents, they shopped around for a school for their boys. They chose St Bede's because it had values they wanted instilled in their boys. The rowing squad had been told they were expected to be on their best behaviour and any misconduct would be punished.
In this post-9-11 age only a complete and utter moron would think it funny to flout airport security. A few hours earlier, on the other side of the world, Rod Stewart's son, Sean, had spent a night in jail for doing the same thing.
But the judge's decision was final and the boys raced - although there is some karmic justice in that the St Bede's team failed to make the final. Apparently, one of the reasons Kennedy senior wanted his little boy to take his place in the team was because it was Jordan's best chance to make an under-19 trial team this year.
Seriously. Would New Zealand Rowing really want a kid in their squad with these sorts of parents? What's to stop them suing the national body if their baby doesn't advance the way they believe he should? What a mess.
The parents for the most part have been derided, the boys have been scorned, the school has been undermined and old boys of Christ's College are incensed because St Bede's has become known throughout New Zealand as the school for the offspring of the wealthy and entitled when everybody in Christchurch knows that title belongs to Christ's.
The parents are now trying to settle with the school out of court when it's all far, far too late.
This whole sorry business underscores, yet again, that people with money think they can buy their way out of trouble. And that people with a modicum of sporting talent believe normal rules don't apply to them. By fighting their children's battles for them, the Kennedy and Bell parents have done their sons more harm than the school could ever have done.
• Kerre McIvor is on Newstalk ZB, Monday-Thursday, 8pm-midnight.
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