Archive for Kids Independence

Are we raising children or just herding sheep?

Posted in Kids with tags on April 24, 2008 by roll2tide

The recent controversy over “The Worst Mom In America” has touched on a hot topic button of mine.  Basicly, mom let her 10 year old son ride the subway home by himself from a department store.  Some say she was irresponsible, others say commend her for teaching her son independence.  I definately fall into the latter category.

At 10 years old I had been cutting grass for about 3 or 4 full summers already to make my own spending money.  My buddy and I had 2 apartment complexes, 1 business, and several residences that we maintained on our own.  Unsupervised and with zero assistance from our parents.  We got the gigs, we bought the gas and weedeater fuel, we did the work, we set the schedules, and we reaped the rewards to the tune of as much as a few hundred bucks between us per month, and this was the early to mid 80’s mind you.  I had a free roaming range of about 5 square miles and and as long as I left a note on the kitchen counter, I was pretty much free to go where I pleased until around 9pm.  What I learned during those summers was the value of hard work and the US Dollar, not to mention the pride and self esteem I derived from making my own money.

Today, those experiences have translated into my adult life in the form of leadership, accountibility, and my simple philosophy when it comes to my coworkers–If your there every day and work hard, then we can help you improve in any and every other area of your job performance.  If your not there every day and you don’t work hard, then no amount of smarts or talent wil keep you employed. 

In my opinion, we have abandoned the concept of teaching our children discipline, integrity, self respect, hard work, and the ability to do for themselves.  many parents, it seems, are doing nothing more than herding sheep.  They raise their kids according to Dr Phils’ ideals, or the official child rearing book of the week philosophy.  Don’t spank them.  Don’t teach them the word “no”.  Seriously.  Kids compete in sports where no score is kept–what exactly they are competing for, i have no idea.  The very definition of the word compete implies that there will be a winner and a loser.  Otherwise, you aren’t competing.  Your just playing.

Too many people in this country simply accept what they are told.  The news man said it so it must be true, they say to themselves.   Too many lack the ability to think for themselves and, even worse, many of them don’t even know it.  We have a watered down educational system (patheticaly inferior to many, many other modern countries), and we have parents who can’t teach their sons how to be men, their daughters how to be strong women, and can’t teach any of them how to do for themselves. 

Too many simply herd them to school, herd them to soccer, herd them to college, and then herd them into the workforce.  Where are our leaders?  Why are we so afraid to encourage our children to get out into the world and get some dirt under their fingernails?  How many are teaching their children that questioning authroity is part of the checks and balances of our social and governmental aspects of society?  That doing for yourself and working out problems on your own is a necessary and fundamental part of development?

 

Personally, I prefer to raise children that will be prepared to be adults.  I tell my 13 year old daughter all the time that she can be a leader or she can have her nose stuck in someone else’s ass all the time.  I tell her that if she is with a group then as far as I am concerned she is responsible for that group.  I actually tell her that most people are sheep and that she should use that knowledge to make sure that the group stays out trouble.  Some of you may balk at that, and I don’t really care.  Think for a moment, if you would, about trying to organize a trip for 15-20 teenagers to a local movie theater.  Many will need a ride.  Many may need a few $ to get themselves in.  A large group of teenagers, all in different rides, trying to meet at a specific place and time.  Sound daunting?  My daughter can organize this in about 2 hours.  She simply tells them all who will ride with who and who will loan who a dollar or so so everyone can get in. 

I can’t tell if it’s really funny or really sad.