“To Kill a Mockingbird”, an acclaimed novel by Harper Lee, is recognized throughout the world. The novel follows a lawyer and his children prior to and during a legal case to defend a black male. That lawyers name is Atticus Finch. Atticus Finch is not just an ordinary father. He teaches his children things no parent of the 1930s, or even the modern time period, would think of doing. His style parenting, compared to modern day parenting and parenting in the 1930s, is unique and is not traditionally the way a parent wants to raise their child.
The parenting styles of the 1930’s are very different then the style’s now, especially that of Atticus Finch, who raises his children in a very distinct and thought out way. “You never really understand a person until you consider things from their point of view… until you climb into his skin and walk around in it. ” This quote, spoken by Atticus, is explaining to Scout why she must return to school and not be so hard on Miss Caroline for the honest mistakes she made that first day of class.
Like so many passages in the book, this one represents the worldview and attitude that Atticus approaches his daily and professional life with. He attests that it is necessary to consider how others exist in this community in order to understand why they do the things they do. In this sense, we see Scout’s reaction to Miss Caroline, a relative newcomer to their community, and Atticus’s response is to remind her to see the other person’s side of things, even when that person may be ignorant of the unspoken social codes of their community, some of which Scout is just beginning to learn.
He is trying to help Scout understand that she must accept and be tolerant of those around her who are different than herself. Unlike Atticus, most modern day parents would begin to approach the situation nonchalantly and brush it off (World Book Online- 1930’s Parents). They would not have given the situation another thought. However, that is the society we live in where children are seen as people who complain a lot. Nowadays, when a child gets in trouble they are either whipped by their parents or a treasured possession is taken away (World Book Online – Family and Consumer Sciences).
Those are the common practices for punishment for modern day parents however those practices are not usually effective. Yes, the child punished may seem like they are “sorry” or that they regret their wrong doings, they never fully learn. On the other hand, Atticus approached his children like they were adults and, therefore, on an equal playing field with him. Referring back to the quote spoken by Atticus earlier in the paragraph, during that conversation he gave he reasoned with her just like he did with any adult, and she came to the conclusion that Miss Caroline had made a honest mistake.
She realized that her rant about how Miss Caroline should have known about the children, and the families in the community, was completely unnecessary and wrong. Atticus Finch taught his children in a well thought out and distinct manor. Since, Atticus Finch lived in the 1930’s, in the novel “To Kill A Mockingbird”, it would be safe to assume that he had the same parenting styles and practices as other parental figures in the 1930’s. Actually, that statement is false. Atticus taught Scout and Jem many life lessons.
One of the most important lessons was equality. Back in the 1930s there was a lot of racism, mainly pertaining to the south. Atticus was on of the few people in Maycomb county that was not racist. Atticus did not want his children to be like the rest of Maycomb. “You know what’s going to happen as well as I do, Jack, and I hope and pray that I can get Jem and Scout through it without bitterness, and most of all, without catching into Maycomb’s usual disease. ” Atticus explains to his children in the following quote that the racism problems are wrong.
“As you grow older you’ll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don’t you forget it- whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash. ” Although, Atticus was an exemplary father his ideas of how his children were going to be raised and what they were going to be taught about racism was entirely different than other parents in the 1930’s. A typical white parent in the 1930’s would teach their children that all men are not created equal.
They would have their children believe that a white man is superior to a black man in every way. They would say that a white man is a kinder, more honest gentleman than a black man could ever become. Take Bob Ewell as an example. In the novel, Bob Ewell is about as racist as they come. He had his daughter accuse an innocent black man, Tom Robinson, of rape and assault. Mr. Ewell taught his daughter in those many days that it was okay to falsely accuse someone because they are of African-American decent. Atticus’s view on this was entirely different.
He used his influential power over his children to make them understand what is right and what is wrong. Atticus would have had his children tell the truth instead of accusing an innocent man. If the case of the alleged rape had actually occurred, many of the parental figures would have sided with Bob Ewell, because they would have felt sympathetic towards him. It is because of the conflict in opinion on racism and what their children should be taught about equality that separates Atticus Finch from the rest of the people during the 1930’s. Atticus Finch’s parenting comes to show what an exemplary father he is.
He raised his children much differently than other parents in the 1930’s, and his parenting style is even different from parents today. Atticus intellectually challenged his children and taught them about equality. The conflict shows that culture, time period, and opinions shape how parents build their children up for the world.