1. What do parents owe children and what do children owe parents?
Parents owe children protection, education, love, and many other important things. But children owe parents respect, love, and trustworthiness. “I was too ashamed, mom. I hid.” Mom pointed her chopsticks at me. “You see?” She said, “Right there. That’s exactly what I’m saying. You’re way too easily embarrassed. Your father and I are who we are. Accept it.” We can all agree that the parents hold up the heavier side of this conversation, but no one can argue that children owe important things to their parents. “One time I saw a tiny Joshua tree sapling growing not too far from the old tree. I wanted to dig it up and replant it near our house.
I told Mom that I would protect it from the wind and water it every day so that it could grow nice and tall and straight. Mom frowned at me. “You’d be destroying what makes it special,” she said. “It’s the Joshua tree’s struggle that gives it its beauty.” Parents need to give their children space to grow by themselves. The parent’s duty is to make sure the child grows up in a good environment with education. But the little things like giving a little leeway can make all the difference in the world for your child growing up. Parents also owe their children protection, although protection wasn’t always the top of their lists. Rex walls and Rose Mary knew that keeping their child safe was more important than themselves.
7. How is the Walls family functional? How is it dysfunctional?
The Walls family definitely had their ups and downs, but not once did they leave their children in a situation that could end fatal. They kept their children safe through it all, although they did have different parenting than it would be like today. “If you don’t want to sink, you better figure out how to swim.” This is just one of the many “different” approaches of Rex Walls. As a man he was the perfect image, tough, smart, loyal, and a strong force. It was a different story as a father, he was unstable, too tough, and an alcoholic. Sure Rex was a good man, but his alcohol problem made him dysfunctional. When he wasn’t right, no one was, especially Jeanette.
“No one expected you to amount to much,” she told me. “Lori was the smart one, Maureen the pretty one, and Brian the brave one. You never had much going for you except that you always worked hard.” This is what I loved about the family, they taught one thing more than anything else. And that was too NEVER back down and show responsibility. Maybe it was true, maybe Jeanette really didn’t have anything going for her, but at least she would go into the world having great work ethic the more than plenty skills her parents/siblings helped her get. This family was a great one, it didn’t have flashes of absolute genius or skill, but they sure as heck knew how to work hard and give it their all.
10. Describe a scenario in the story in which a character has a change of heart. Then suggest the reason for this change.
“I looked up at the thin swirls of clouds high in the Arizona sky. Keeping my eyes fastened on those distant clouds, I took a breath and said, “Do you think you could maybe stop drinking?” Dad said nothing. He was staring down at the cement patio, and when he turned to me, his eyes had a wounded look, like a dog who’s been kicked. “You must be awfully ashamed of your old man,” he said. Although this didn’t completely last he did mean it. He put himself through absolute hell just to give his little mountain goat some special for her birthday.
This proves that he was a good man and that he would do anything for his family even if it means personal hardship. “Dad?” I called. There was no answer. I opened the door. Dad was tied to the bed with ropes and belts. I don’t know if he had done it himself or if mom helped him, but he was thrashing about, bucking and pulling at the restraints, yelling “No!” His face was gray and dripping with sweat.” This shows how Rex Walls really would do anything to make his daughter’s day more special. He was a hard alcoholic and he decided to change his decisions for the better of himself and his family. It was an easy choice, but it had hard consequences and he knew it too.