It is common knowledge that parents will do just about anything to protect their children from danger. I mean talk to any parent, particularly new parents, and they are undoubtedly cautious and in the case of the new parents they are probably on the verge of being over cautious, if there is such a thing. I mean kids today play on playgrounds that have padded monkey bars and foam bits scattered on the ground, it kind of makes you wonder how in the world any of us made it out of our childhood before these and other protections existed. Protecting your child from physical harm is one thing, but what about standing up for them if you perceive that they were wronged in some fashion?
I am fairly certain that as many parents who will protect their children from physical harm would also stand up for their child if they were accused of doing some sort of wrong, even if the accusation was in fact the truth, but how many would strive to get even? Well the parent of a 13 year old boy who had his iPod confiscated by school officials decided that is exactly what he was going to do, get even. The parent in question decided that his child’s iPod was wrongly confiscated (forget that an iPod has no place in a classroom) and it was the assistant principal’s fault. Rather than handling the situation like an adult, this parent decided that the best course of action was to create a pornographic website falsely featuring the assistant principal and his (the assistant principal’s) wife. Upon the discovery of this website and the fictitious antics of the assistant principal this parent then went one step further into the annals of bad parenting by claiming that his 13 year old son had created it; only later confessing that it was he who actually created this website with the intent of revenge over the confiscated iPod. Unfortunately for the assistant principal even though his name has been cleared it was done so only after the existence of this website cost him a job offer from another school; so good job getting even over an iPod there buddyâ€¦geez I’d hate to see what this parent would do if someone actually hurt his child.
Everyone has an opinion, and that’s cool with me. Sometimes another’s opinion will sway me to their way of thinking, sometimes I just agree with their opinion from the outset, and sometimes I simply dismiss their opinion altogether as something that I simply cannot agree with. The thing is though that I try to always accept another’s right to their opinion, but I do not appreciate it when others try and force their opinions upon me and others. That is to say that I do think that just because one person doesn’t like something, that that something should then be taken away from everyone.
So, where am I going with this? Well it appears that there is a father out there who feels so strongly against something that he is calling for it to be retired and never to be heard from again. What is this something that is so horrible? It is none other than the Charlie Brown holiday cartoons that have been airing every year for as long as I can remember. This Dad is particularly targeting “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.” His reason for his distaste in this classic cartoon is that he believes that it essentially glorifies the now taboo subject of bullying amongst school children, with all of the name calling that goes on in these cartoons. He takes particular exception with the characters calling Charlie Brown a “blockhead,” and says that such things being broadcast on television shows have no place in today’s world. Okay, fine, I agree, that name calling is not a good thing, but please allow me to ask some questions.
Who is the parent or legal guardian of children? Is it you, the adult; or is it the television and whatever shows are being broadcasted on it? Doesn’t every television today have the ability to change channels and to be turned off? Is anybody making you force your children, or anyone’s children for that matter, to watch, not just this television show, but ANY television show? Finally, are you capable of discussing the issue of bullying with your children, or do you believe that by advocating the cessation of a television show that has things in it you don’t care for make the problem disappear?
I respect that father’s opinion, and his right to voice it, but in this particular instance I am neither swayed to his line of thinking, nor do I agree with it — but that’s just my opinion, I could be wrong.
Child rearing, ask any parent out there and you will probably get as many ways to do this properly as the number of parents that you ask. While many will say that your child does not come with a handbook, or instructions upon their birth as to how to properly raise your little bundle(s) of joy, there are countless books that you can buy on the subject of parenting. I am sure that each of them have their merits, but at the same time I have to kind of wonder how ANY book can possibly be considered the be all and end all as to what is the “proper” way to bring up your children.
There has been a prevailing and almost an institutionalized belief over the last 30 or so years that the best way to bring up children is to essentially heap mountains of praise upon them. This has created an environment where parents have basically sheltered (for lack of a better word) their children from damn near anything that might even come close to causing irreparable harm to their children’s psyche. Scores are no longer kept in some youth athletics, and everyone gets a trophy, or ribbon, but at the same time no one gets a bigger trophy or a blue ribbon. Essentially everyone is a winner. There are other instances where a child who displays superior talent at a position is asked to stop playing that position because it isn’t fair to the other kids who aren’t as good as him/her. The problem with fostering an environment where no one loses is that it also fosters the environment where no one wins too. Along those lines a psychology professor in Australia, Helen McGrath, has recently released a study in which the environment of overpraising our children has actually turned many children brought up is this type of environment have essentially created a generation of narcissistic bullies who believe that they can do no wrong.
So it appears that the tide may be turning a bit away from the outright spoilage of our children, I don’t think that we are going to find a return to the days of “spare the rod, spoil the child.” However I think some sort of return to a sane approach where failures are not avoided, prevented and/or blocked from our children’s life experience, but are instead used to create learning experiences and foster a desire to overcome said setbacks (watch this video on Michael Jordan’s failures) and to become a more humble and well-rounded individual. There is one thing that I can almost guarantee, and that is in another 30 years or so there will be another theory as to how is the best way to bring up our children.
We love our mothers’ right? I mean our mothers’ by and large would do pretty much anything for us, and heaven forbid anyone who intentionally harms a mother’s child. There is a reason why there is that thing we call the mothering instinct, it is because all of those things that our mothers’ will do for us, and that protectiveness comes to our mothers naturally; and instinctively.
How many times was your mother there to put a bandage on your skinned knee? I can’t count how many times that my Mom was there. That mothering instinct wasn’t there just when we were little either, it came right along with us as we grew up. I remember when I was in high school and I had a research paper to write; after I had hand written the final draft, which was often pretty late at night, I would breakout the typewriter (that’s how old I am) to hammer out the typewritten copy to turn in. Well, my mother would eventually tell me to go to bed and she would then finish typing my papers, because she used to be a secretary and could finish it faster than I could. Then in the morning she would still fix me breakfast before sending me on to school. Similar acts of love and protection carried through my college years and even now in my adult years; yes we love our mothers because they will sacrifice so much to help us, their children.
There is a limit though as to how much a mother should do for her child and a Utah mother is in deep you know what for crossing a pretty disturbing line of doing anything for her daughter. This mother assisted in taking naked pictures of her daughter on a cellphone so that they could be sent to the daughter’s boyfriend. Now that is disturbing in and of its self, but it gets more disturbing. The daughter is thirteen years old and the boyfriend, who lives in Oregon, is thirty years old . . . Yeah, let all of that sink in for a minute. Pretty messed up isn’t it?
Is there no honor anymore? I ask because it seems that everyone is willing to do anything to achieve something with the least amount of effort. That means that people are willing to lie, cheat, and steal just to get ahead, and it seems to me that mentality hasn’t just become more pervasive, but the behavior is practically overlooked and at times defended should someone get caught lying, cheating, and stealing. There is a saying in sports that says, “If you ain’t cheating then you ain’t trying,” and unfortunately it appears that belief has been taken out of sports and into the streets. Look, I am not even going to pretend to tell everyone that I never cheated, because I did, however if I would have gotten caught I wouldn’t have expected anyone to have come to my defense of my actions; but apparently times change.
Take this instance here, a sophomore at a northern California high school was kicked out of his honors level English class for cheating and his parents are suing the school board. I find it more than a little ironic that it was an “honors” class from which the student was expelled from for not being honorable, kind makes me laugh. What isn’t laughable is that the parents have decided to sue the school board to reinstate the child back into this honors English class, stating that the honesty pledge both they and the student signed at the beginning of the year contained contradictory language, and alluding to the fact that this expulsion could hamper the student’s academic future. Okay, for starters if I would have been caught for cheating and thus kicked out of that class for cheating, my parents certainly wouldn’t have hired an attorney to fight for my reinstatement. Oh, no, no, quite the contrary. To put it mildly I would have been punished, and I am sure that I would still remember that punishment.
Then there is this whole notion that the student’s academic career could be adversely affected by this. First of all the student was busted for copying his friend’s essay; which means that they both would have written the exact same thing; and makes it easy to get caught. So, maybe the student isn’t smart enough to be in the honors level class to begin with? But anyway, we are to excuse poor decisions when they are made by a child, because too harsh a punishment could adversely affect their future. Hmm, wouldn’t too light a punishment teach the child that there are no consequences for their actions? What would be the lesson learned if everyone gets just a stern talking to whenever we do something wrong? There wouldn’t be a lesson learned and you end up with a bunch of spoiled, entitled, brats; sounds like the good life, doesn’t