As we look at the drama and terror being perpetrated by our nation’s youths, attention is being focused on guns, drugs, such as Ritalin and Prozac, and violent entertainment, such as video games and TV or movies. While all of these issues may be elements of the unprecedented violence and social degradation involving young people as young as 10 years old, there seemingly is an extreme reluctance to look towards failed parenting, particularly the contagion of single-parent households.
In a study reported in the U.K’s Dailymail.co.uk September 2011 issue, Why grandparents secretly think THEIR children are such poor parents, it highlighted what I call “buddy-parenting”. It’s when parents are more concerned with being the buddy of their child more so than being their disciplinarian. They have forsaken the responsibility of actually raising their children, that they created, and giving that responsibility to others, or the government. They go to great measures to see that their child’s esteem is never damaged, that they rarely, if ever, hear the word no or given strict boundaries to govern their actions and measure their responsibilities. Their child is rarely, if ever, taught to be accountable for his or her actions, or that his or her actions have consequences, both good and bad. But, maybe must important is that their child is rarely, if ever, taught that there is something greater than themselves,i.e. a God, or to respect authority, even if the authority figure is the parent themselves.
I don’t think that anyone can look in our past where there has been so many reports of young people running amuck not just committing property damage or petty theft, but assaults and murders with seemingly impunity or such a lack of fear of retribution. When I was growing up and left home I knew that I was representing my home and my parents. There used to be a saying, “act like you have some home training.” Isn’t it funny how we don’t hear such moralist sayings these days? And if I was to ever mis-behave in public, I knew to expect some form of retribution, i.e. belt to the behind or doing extra chores, to be brought by my parents, or authorized surrogate or stand in. I would not be given a pill nor “time out”.
But that type of culture seems to be so repugnant to today’s America that to even hint at reinstituting discipline to children, such as corporal punishment by parents, i.e. belt to the behind, to have them show humility or respect by saying thank you, excuse me, no ma’am or sir, yes sir or ma’am, allowing for children to feel the sting of failure and rejection, or to let them know that they are not adults at the age of 5, therefore they will respect authority and be subordinates till he or she earns or reaches a proper level or age of understanding, is seen as near acts of child cruelty. Picking up or even touching my dads guns or taking my parent’s property without their permission never ever entered my mind when I was young and living in their home; let alone taking one of his guns and going on a killing spree. Running around with a bunch of other kids and acting unruly causing damage or crimes was feared more by what punishment would be brought by my parents and the shame and embarrassment to my family more than anything anyone else could do to me. Acting discourteous or disrespectful towards either of my parents or grandparents or seeking to harm them in any way, even to this day, is no less foreign of a thought than my going to the Moon and Mars. For they created me. And all that I am or will be is due to them. A lot of you can relate. Or is it just me?
Can you ever imagine seeing a young lion cub sniping at the head lion of the pack or being disrespectful? Do you think that that pack would last for long as a cohesive and well-functioning unit allowing such behavior to fester and grow? I dare say the whole social order of that pack would disintegrate and leave them vulnerable to their enemies. This is what is happening to our society. We today are beset with generations of young people growing up grossly over indulged, with an overly exaggerated belief of entitlement, with no or little respect for authority and elders, and with no or little understanding of the relation between actions and consequences. And if that is the case than the first to be examined should be the quality and qualifications of the parent or parents to teach and raise him or her properly.
Children are born good, until they learn or are conditioned to be otherwise. Similar to what Ben Franklin said outside of the Continental Congress in Philly after the signing of the Federal Constitution, “we have a republic, if we can keep it.” We as Americans, unlike any other nation, are the creators [parents] of our government, particularly the federal government. We created it. We gave it instructions and boundaries on how to act and conduct it’s business so as not to bring shame or dishonor to us, as a people and as a nation, via the Constitution. A good argument can be made that the government today, with its gross over-spending, acting seemingly with no regard to accountability or respect for traditional mannerism and conduct, is behaving like little children grossly over indulged, with an overly exaggerated belief of entitlement, with no or little respect for authority and the people who they serve and who created them, and with no or little understanding or care of the relation between the actions that it takes today and the consequential effects that they will have on the nation’s posterity.
America was established to be the greatest republic ever. But the Founders knew and understood that it would take eternal vigilance, caring, and strict overseeing by the American people to keep their government in line. Just as it takes the same effort from the parents of children to keep them in line. But we as Americans have spared the rod far too often and have allowed our government run amuck, disrespecting the traditional values of the elders, acting without accountability, and taking liberties of the people without knowledgeable consent or permission. The only pill is the reestablishment of a politically engaged and vigilant populous who are willing to take responsibility for their own actions as well as those the elected servants and hold them accountable when they get out of line. Because at the end of the day what ever the government is, or is not, is owned by the American people.