Jayne D. Frank
Regular readers of our blog know that my husband is the expert on Constitutional matters and I prefer to try to highlight the more basic problems in our society that have resulted in where we now stand; i.e. with growing numbers of our younger generations having far left or liberal views of society. I expect that as with my article on smoking, I will receive comments not from the people who agree with me, but from the fringe that is in total denial and refuses to take personal responsibility for their choices in life. That is the case with this article on some of our children and grandchildren.
This article was precipitated by the young anchors on Fox & Friends Weekend today who ran a few segments on whether it was right to bribe children to eat their vegetables and do chores. This made my blood boil and after reflecting for a while I knew exactly why. In my own family I have seen the disastrous results from giving children liberties they did not earn and rewards for lack of respect.
In my 20s my sister and I had both been raising children and there could not have been two totally distinct methods employed to raise our children. My sister and I were raised by our parents and grandparents in the 50s and 60s to “honor thy father and mother” and to respect authority, our elders and authority figures. Therefore, these are the behavioral guidelines I brought forth for raising my son as well, otherwise known as “tough love.” My sister chose a much more liberal path for raising her children, mostly influenced by liberal teachings while attending her university. It first manifested itself when we would go to restaurants and my son, and probably the majority in the restaurant during those decades, would be expected to sit quietly at the table until we were done eating. He could order whatever he wanted but he was reminded to finish whatever he ordered. My sister, on the other hand, permitted her children to climb up on the backs of booths and look at other people, to get up and meander through the restaurant and seldom reminded them not to interrupt adults talking. When in the mall, my child was expected to stay with me and if all went well he would spend some time in the game room to enjoy his part of the outing. He was not permitted to run through the mall or stores or pick up anything without asking. Again, my sister did not have that perspective and many times stayed home because her kids just didn’t want to go with her. I know personally that there were many problems at home with her children because she did not enforce the same rules we both grew up with.
Today, sadly, my sister has been laying in a hospital bed for 5 years 95% paralyzed by a stroke caused by smoking. (I say that for the woman who commented on my smoking article that I had no evidence before me that smoking causes health problems). Her children were 25 and 29 at the time and are now 30 and 34. They do not come to see her; not because they don’t love her, but because she did not enforce the principle of honoring your parents, respecting their authority, and honoring their “value” as human beings. They did not have those fundamental values of “family” instilled in them at an early age and now they have pretty much abandoned her, using the excuse that she is no longer the mother they once knew.
For years, I have been watching a growing disrespect among children, fostered by their parents, in all kinds of public places. Children, especially teenagers, run through entry doors of buildings, often times almost causing elderly people coming in to become unbalanced. They sit or run in the aisles of stores and their parents do nothing about it, causing people to either turn around or try to step around them. They talk in church and often get up several times in the middle of a service, or their children will sit backwards on the seat in front of you and turn around and stare. We have all experienced children who sit on airplanes and kick the backs of seats where people are sitting in front of them. In both cases, parents do nothing, because they themselves have not been taught otherwise. When you call adults on the phone now, often times you either are faced with children answering the phone who have no knowledge whatsoever of how to answer the phone nor how to take a message properly for their parents. Or you do get to talk to the adult and hear the children in the background shouting “mommy, mommy” to which the parent never responds.
Fewer and fewer teachers get much satisfaction out of their jobs anymore because a handful of children get rowdy and spoil the “adventure” of learning for the rest of them. There is dwindling respect for teachers, law enforcement, parents, the elderly and little common courtesy for others in a public environment. Again, this article talks only about the growing problem in our society and does not speak to those children who have been brought up with traditional family christian values.
When Ted Kennedy died and his casket went past the Congressional offices, I was horrified at the demeanor of many of the 20-something people in the crowd. They were chatting with their colleagues, texting on phones during this procession and they didn’t sing our national anthem or other patriotic songs, because they simply don’t know the words and have respect enough for our country to learn them.
My point of all this is simple. The basic fundamental values of “respect” are learned from an early age and that is why we are having so much trouble in our society right now. People walking past other people who are hurt in the street, gutter language being used by music artists and teenagers in front of an elderly stranger; we just don’t take care of each other any longer. How can a society of 340 million people stand for its liberties if we don’t understand how liberty is earned.
One cannot say that all of this is a reflection of how busy parents are now. I worked full time during my son’s early years but made sure he had quality time with me and had a support network of authority figures around him while I was working to instill values in him. I made sure that his education always reflected that and questioned with boldness when I thought educational curriculum was getting too liberal. I do have a wonderful close relationship with my son now and he has been a blessing; I can say that I am proud of the young man he has turned out to be.
My values have not come without a price and I am willing to accept that. My stepson’s children who were expected to behave properly in my house while there don’t visit anymore because their parents don’t teach them respect for other’s possessions nor respect for their elders; I am saddened by this but hope that someday they will understand as their own children get older.
Gaining back our respect for authority, for parents, for strangers, and for our Country can do nothing but solve some of our ills and improve us as a people. I am not an expert and don’t pretend to be. But my husband and I have lived over 60 years each and both of us have seen and experienced so many changes and events in our lives and we think that experience could help us on our path to healing in this country, and we hope this article brings these solutions to light. I fear we have lost our moral compass in America!
Filed under: American Morals, Uncategorized | Tagged: children, God, parenting, respect | 2 Comments »