With so many children growing up with two working parents, or with a single parent working outside the home and many of those same folks living in disparate locales from their families of origin, who’s raising the kids??? Day care, babysitters, teachers, friends – anyone? After watching the devolution of what used to be called common courtesy over the past couple of decades I am beginning to empathize with my parents and grandparents who oft lamented the demise of social graces and niceties in America. Back in the 1970’s most of us were taught by parents/grandparents/aunts/uncles/teachers, etc. to respect our elders, say please and thank you, excuse me, sorry when applicable. Not today, I know some of us are still striving to instill those time honored manners but with so many people running hither and yon at break neck speeds it’s not as widespread as it once was and that is just a shame.
Having taken notice of this decline I began to tally the number of offenses in a week’s time. Three teen drivers with music too loud to think as they were texting away at stoplights and beyond, four small children (old enough to speak and say thank you) demanding distractions (Leapsters, iPad’s, etc) from their parents without a single utterance of acknowledgement or gratitude, children pushing and shoving and kicking one another on playgrounds, children throwing trash while their parents look on at public parks, more teen drivers speeding recklessly in residential districts (one of whom crashed into a neighborhood mailbox…..her third offense in as many months).
I suppose the point of this rant is, progress is unavoidable, children today will never appreciate how long a term paper used to take, the research alone was weeks of time in a library, calls to local radio stations, hours spent with one’s nose in an encyclopedia- today, it’s a few clicks away and the rest is up to their grammatical skills (yet another area in which this generation lacks skill). Children in the 1970’s & 1980’s went outside to play (play dates didn’t exist, thankfully), came in by dark or were punished for not listening, there were consequences, there were reactions, there was community (other parents would not hesitate to reprimand a child for doing something out of line and all the parents were grateful for the help – they were on the same team). Coddling a nation of people with unrealistic expectations doesn’t seem to be the answer. If you get them an iTouch, they wanted an iPad, if you buy them a car, they wanted a trip round the globe. As a parent there are times when you cannot be where you want to be (home when they arrive from school, at the big game, recital, event that you wish you could), buying “stuff” doesn’t make up for that loss and most children, even teens don’t appreciate that while you’re “in the soup”, perhaps later as they age appreciation kicks in. Perhaps!
In the interim, there’s a saying by Calvin Coolidge which says it all: “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” Maybe a little push back and guidance (despite that it is MUCH harder to NOT GIVE IN) is what is called for from parents today, when the job is completed and they have learned the values that we, as parents have chosen to pass along are instilled, then, we can enjoy the fruits of our labor. Until then, parents please parent your child today and teach them what your elders taught you a healthy dose of respect for the hardships others suffer on your behalf and an appreciation for all the good things that come with that sacrifice.
- The State of Our Unions 2005, a report issued by the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University. The same study said that only 63% of American children grow up with both biological parents — the lowest figure in the Western world.
- As of 2003, 43.7% of custodial mothers and 56.2% of custodial fathers were either separated or divorced. And in 2002, 7.8 million Americans paid about $40 billion in child and/or spousal support (84% of the payers were male).
Tiffany S Berch – Boca Raton Florida