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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

An Editorial

I am not sure if I should be posting this, it is the post that I was going to write today, before finding the AP article on RFID. Right now I am listening to the wind howl and waiting for the snow to come. But what I am going to say, has to do with last night, and the coming days.

It is more than slightly obvious that the US middle class and lower are suffering a recession. And if we are not careful, it will lead into another depression. It frustrates me to no end that It is happening now, just when things we finally coming together for my family. But it is not my husband or I that I really worry about. Have we taught our children the tools needed to survive without us?

I watch a lot of News programs, I talk back to anchor men, and write editorials. I have been belittled and called a chicken Little, I have been watched and possibly black listed, yet none of that bothers me. Last night however one glimpse at a program almost brought me to tears. It is a program on MTV called My Sweet Sixteen. If you haven't seen it, then you are fortunate. I have a feeling most of my readers would loathe this program. These children demand and expect a birthday party that will cost their parents hundreds of thousands of dollars. It's all fine and good if the parent wants to do this, my problem is the attitude of the children. I will admit that if I had half the fortune that these parents have, I would splurge and indulge my child for a birthday, but the moment one of my boys decides that he is entitled to have an elephant escort him to his party, or that he deserves a Mercedes, it will abruptly end.

This program made me take a step back and look at what I have been teaching my boys. Will they grow up with the mentality that the world owes them? Or will they grow up as part of the world? Maybe not so much the world, but their immediate surroundings. Will they continue to say Sir, and Ma'am, thank you and please and actually mean it? Will they pull over to help a stranded motorist in this world of cell phones? Will they still open doors for women, or give up a seat to a pregnant woman or the elderly? I realize that some of you will cringe as you read these statements. Even in a PC world, a time when woman feel that men should not do these things, I still think they are important and shows respect. I have told a woman to shut up because of her holier than thou attitude toward a teen that held a door open for her, she didn't deserve the respect that boy gave her, yet he did it and only responded by nodding his head. That is the type of teen I hope my boys grow up to be.

Besides the shows of respect, have we given our children the ideals and the skills necessary to survive in a world that could be crumbling from its traditional ways. If we do find ourselves in a depression, will our children truly know the value of hard work, of a family that pulls together, of a dollar? I truly can not answer that question because those circumstances have not reared its ugly head. My children do ask for things, expensive items that their friends have. My ten year wants a cell phone, like his friends, he wants a tv and a Wii in his room. He wants all these items that they have, and even before we found ourselves in a time a some struggles, we did not give in to these wants. They are not needed. His friends would come over, enjoy the daylight and twilight out in the field, but then become bored and wish to go home because there wasn't anything for them to do. My ten year old will come home after staying the night at their houses and complained that all they wanted to do was play video games. (sigh of relief there)

I have noticed that the children that come out here treat chores as a novelty. When they go out and help with the gardening or the chicken clean up, parents are astounded to find out that their children did these things willingly, that they had even asked to help. They exclaim that their child won't even clean their rooms,. Well neither will mine, it's like pulling teeth, and I was the same way. My children know why their rooms need to be cleaned, not just that under my dictatorship these things are punishments, it just a bull headed, push your buttons attitude. Something that they will get over, no stress. It is the other chores, those other skills that they learn that I will fight for them to do. When my boys are grown and have left my home, I want to be assured that they can cook for themselves, that they can grow their own food, that they have those survival skills needed to conquer any unknown hindrance.

I want my boys to know a solid work ethic, and not to allow others to push them down out of resentment for having it. Good guys finish last feels far to real. And I can only hope that my boys will not cheat and steal, lie and connive to fit into a world that is no longer use to their kind. And that the looks of surprise or disdain doesn't bother them when they say, Pardon me, ma'am.


Gina said...

Oh, how beautiful! I agree on so many levels and you are right about the disgust I feel for shows like the one you described (or the one called Daddy's Girl-or something like it, the lavish party show or even those stupid $500,000 wedding shows); I could never with any type of concious spend money like that in the world we are currently drowning in.

I want the same for my boys. I consider myself a feminist, however, I do believe opening a door for a woman or offering a seat is a feminist ideal. It is a show of respect.

Thanks for your post.

Phelan said...

It makes you think, why can't they just donate a part of that, I could pay off my house for so much less then what they sepnt on a flippin' party!

I am an old school feminist, equal pay for equal work, voting, and so forth. I am not a new feminist that treats men like they are beneath me, and can't say thank you to someone holding a door open for me. There is a huge difference in the two.

P~ said...

What a great post Phelan! I agree with you on everything you said. I started writing a response to you and it got so long that I decided I may just have to make a post of it on my own since I have so much to say. I do want to add a mans perspective however on the feminism issue.
I try to teach my boys that girls at school are not "Chicks", and what makes a good woman is not just whether she's "Hot." My wife and I have taught them to hold the door for a woman not because she is weaker or incapable, but because she is special and should be respected. A woman gave them life and one day a woman will give that life greater meaning and perspective. I'll be posting on this too some time soon, I think it's a great topic.

Tim Appleton (Applehead) said...

There's a new feminist?!? God help me... good post,btw.

Wren said...

>I realize that some of you will cringe as you read these statements. Even in a PC world, a time when woman feel that men should not do these things, I still think they are important and shows respect.

As long as women feel that courtesy is gender related, the feminist movement is stalled. Holding a door or giving up a seat is good manners. I hold doors for gentlemen all the time--not as a feminist gesture, but because I'm there first and don't want it shut in their face. I hold doors for elderly people, and young people with their arms full. It's manners.

Giving up seats, again, just manners. If I had a seat, and I saw a man that needed it more than I did, it wouldn't enter my mind to stay seated because I'm female.

Don't get me started on the parties. We don't seem to have those around here, or at least I haven't heard of them.

I'm lucky in that most of my grandkids aren't into video games or television. My 14 year olds play them, but neither of them has asked for a wii. One would rather be skateboarding, the other would rather fish. My 9 year old granddaughter didn't know who Hannah Montana was when I asked.

I have to say that my kids have done an amazing job of raising their children. I'm proud of them for lots of reasons, but this is the best!!

SustainableStyle said...

I know exactly how you feel. Raising a child in this day and age is terrifying. You just have to have faith that what you're doing is right. When I heard our ten year old telling a neighbor that it takes a cup of oil to make a plastic water bottle my eyes teared up and I knew we were doing ok.

Moonwaves said...

Wren, you've said exactly what I was just thinking. If Phelan had daughters as well as sons, I'm sure she'd be teaching them the same kind of manners. Good manners are not gender related. And just don't get me started on people who get offended because someone has dared to show them the courtest of holding a door open for them!

Robbyn said...

Phelan....yes, yes, and YES!!! You're SO doing the right thing by your boys

Phelan said...

P~ Looking forward to reading your post. Funny, I am thinking about opening a bakery and calling it Chubby Chick Bread ;) You are doing great by your kids.

Tim, well kinda. Most of the time you hear others refer to them as neo, or Femme Nazi's and even men hating. Some of these women have taken feminist ideals too far, raising boys to be genderless or girls, beratting teen boys for holding a door open, that type of thing.

Wren, I do the same thing. I am also some one that does teach my boys a few of the gender biased rules, like don't hit a girl. My boys pummel each other and other friends. I have tried to explain to the girls that come over to play that our boys are a little rough, the girls don't like to play that way, so I have taught my boys not only to tone it down when they are around, but not to talk about certain things in mixed company. I know it might seem a little old fashioned, but in a day of law suits, where some one can scream molestation from just a few words, I would rather protect my boys then a gender equality stance. If I had girls, the same rules apply. And growing up as the only girl in a house full of boys, my girls would probably be outside in their cute little outfits all rough and tumble and covered in mud. :D I always tought your grandkids were the greatest. Hopefully someday, you will be able to meet my boys. I talk about you two enough that they see you as a relative that we don't get to see.

SustainableStyle, you are right, it is scary. But I think it has always been that way, no matter what era.

Moonwaves, I was just telling wren that if I had girls the same rules would apply. Manners is something that we are lacking today. It is rather sad that manners are looked down upon.

Robbyn, ~blush~ I wish I could feel that way all the time. But thank you.

farmer, vet and feeder of all animals said...

Don't forget to teach them to save and pay with cash not credit. By far the best lessons I learned ---hard though at times when others SEEMED to have so much more than me. Who can put a value on self respect though or enjoyment of life? Or time spent with family because you can and no creditor calls for you to work more and more. Work is to be enjoyed---we all have to do it irregardless.
Also we tell our son that women that fuss about doors being held are like men that fuss about women working. Just ignore them and go on being polite ---most people appreciate it :-)
Good luck---and don't worry to much. You have good ethics--it shows-- and they will pick it up naturally.

lisa said...

I think that the fact you are concerned about this is an indication that you are doing a great job! Manners are never going out of style, IMO! My son is 24, but still very respectful and mannerly...even with me! (Not so much when he was younger.) I always figured that if you treat your children with respect and the same kindness you show your friends, then it will stick with them no problem. And always remember: even when kids roll their eyes and argue with you, they ARE listening, and they DO hear you. Never get too frustrated to tell them things they need to know...they really value their parents, it just doesn't show up until age 20 or so! ;-)

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