Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Teach Your Children Well

I was having lunch the other day and while I was enjoying my orange chicken, these two ladies and these two kids came in. The kids were just soooo adorable and cute that I just had to snap a sneaky pic of them. The little girl, prim and proper with her purse, her hair done up in braids and beads. The boy, in his basketball outfit, all at once time brave and shy. They were well behaved, patiently waiting, not screaming or acting out. I was enjoying them in the line, and it turned out they were fine dining companions too, with good manners at their table, seeming to enjoy themselves, paying attention, not goofing off.

When I see kids, I do pray. Do they have good role models in the household? Does the boy have a man in his life who treats him with firm respect, showing the little male what it is to be a man? Does the girl have a man in her life who treats her like the precious jewel she is, so she can understand what true love is when she reaches her teen years? Is there a woman in the family that is a powerful nurturing presence, with unconditional love, that demands the best of children? Has the family placed the teaching and loving of these children above any other goals or distractions? Do the adults in these kids' lives show ways of resolving conflict that do not involve violence or manipulative power plays that end up hurting people? Is there teaching of care for others and for society--the sort of teaching that demonstrates that the "me-first" ism so common today is an empty broken philosophy, destined to give immediate pleasure but empty the soul? Is there ambition in the family, to make themselves better then they are now? A work ethic and sense of personal responsibility? A denial of the current pleasure for future gain?

I think of these things because the failure of families has given rise to behavior and trends that are not positive. Now I know that each generation thinks the younger generation behind it is going to Hell in a hand basket, but the world has had significant societal change over the past 50 years. Much of it has been for the better, some of it has been for the worse. Divorce and family breakup to the extent that modern society has seen it over the past half decade is a new thing, and I think we have seen the effects on the current crop of young adults--Gen X and and younger. Families are doing less of the good teaching, and leaving more of it to society, to schools, employers, and elders in the community. We see people unable to resolve conflict without resorting to violence. We see rude and uncivil behavior on the increase. We see more of an entitlement mentality, wanting "what's mine" and wanting it now.

I sometimes think that dysfunctional communities are in denial about this aspect of their troubles. I would like to see leaders in the Kansas City East Side--our city's area with the most violent crime--openly and publicly confront the people about the high out-of-wedlock birth rate and the high number of unsupported single moms in their community. I would like to hear conversation about the high number of grandparents raising kids, because drugs have snared the moms and dads. I would like confronted the generational poverty and welfare mentality that has taken over some families.

It's hard, because much of this is stuff that cannot be fixed by anyone but the parties involved. There are some things the community-at-large can do and a few things individuals can do. As best you can, model the good. Resolve conflict without violence. Be considerate of others and call the inconsiderate to account (do not expect thanks for this, BTW; in fact expect exponentially increased rudeness). Do things out side of the government programs that help people see an alternative way--I know of churches that sponsor tutoring, mentoring and camping programs that expose kids to good values and opportunities--ways of thinking that are less selfish and entitled, more oriented to achievement and positive change.

Success and happiness is not the big house and two cars, although financial uplift often comes when positive values are followed. It means being able to look around and be fulfilled, to know you have given your best, and to know some small corner of the world is a little better for your passing through. I worry that, in chasing after what fulfills "me" right at this moment, that we have deprived and are depriving our kids of the teaching and knowing of true happiness.

4 comments:

peedee said...

Boy could we have some long conversations about this topic. lol

I'll start by saying that there are a TON of good, heck, I'll even say great kids out there raised in single parent households. These kids will be apart of the backbone and lead this country one day. We just hear about the bad ones, because thats news. The media loves its fodder.

And yes I agree, there is certainly a growing part of our society who have seemed to fall deeper into the clutches of "Its my right to be taken care of (for my whole life), therefor you get to take care of me and my offspring as well".

What do I think would work?? I say we take away "Free living" after oh lets say....2-4 years. Help with education/trade and then thats it. If no one makes them accountable, why should they become accountable??

Ya got me started. lol

the observer said...

Peedee:
Thanks so much for reading and commenting. There's a couple of reasons I would encourage people to have kids where their is a mom or a dad. 1. Economics. Two incomes or one income and a parent-at-home are considerably better off than one parent/one income. 2. The fact that men and women are not the same. We have swallowed a lot of feminist clap trap about men and women being interchangeable, and not *needing* fathers yada yada. It's just *wrong*. A child needs role models of both sexes in their life as they grow up. Now, I know things happen, and (usually it's) dad's not around--that's when it's time for the family and the community to help out and give a role model/mentor to a single parent family.
Yeah, so Dr. Laura S. has rubbed off on me a little. *grin*

the Observer

PS: Your all-grown-up gal looks like a good one! I thank her for choosing to serve our great country in the armed forces!

Ann T. said...

Dear The Observer,
There's no doubt that a two-parent family can be a benefit. However, it also depends on the two parents. And the other influences they have. I think a lot of good parents are defeated by their neighborhoods, but that's just me.

The entitlement programs are going to have to change, if for no other reason than we can't afford them any longer. But I am suspicious of training programs, what if they don't really train? A billion online colleges have sprung up, where is the quality control? The feds will fund them, or so they advertise, but only the states certify them for quality.

I agree with you on the house/two cars commercial idea of success. It is too limited by far. Somehow the engine of our economy is based on things like bigger/better and we have not figured out how to prosper w/o offering that.

It is a huge task you are undertaking in this post, something we are all going to have to do. Man oh man, what a great discussion we would be having at your kitchen table! We would all be the better thereby.

Thanks for the springboard,
Ann T.

the observer said...

Ann T:
Thanks for reading; that's partly what I was hoping to do, provoke some discussion.

Current events have a way of focusing our minds, too!

The Observer