What are you part of the solution or part of the problem? When it all boils down that is the big question. We would all like to perceive ourselves as part of the answer but, in reality the majority is considered part of the problem. This country was built on the inspiration, aspiration, and perspiration of others. As a society we have become lazy and American pride is now a cliché. At one point, we were a people willing to work as hard as was necessary to achieve what we desired; now we expect to have it handed to us on a silver platter. I remember in times past that if your neighbor was hungry the neighborhood would come together and feed him, her, or them; now there’s an attitude of I got mine, you get yours, or, as the saying goes (You do you and I’ll do me). Not only did it take a village to raise a child, the village did raise that child. There was also a time that if you were caught doing something wrong, whichever adult was present would discipline you (spank your behind) and take you home to your parents; then you regretted living because they would discipline you for what you did as well as for the embarrassment you caused them by having to be chastised by someone else. Today, if you were to talk to someone’s child about the dishonest, illegal offences they’ve committed you might be found defending yourself against that child’s parent. People say that times have changed and I agree, but, just because times have changed does not mean people have. The big difference I see is that attitudes have changed, instead of parents teaching their children good manners and common courtesy they treat them as though they are in charge. We were taught to eat everything on your plate. Not, if you don’t like it we’ll find you something else. Clean your room and do your homework. If you can’t go to school you can’t go outside. Time out was how long you were out of your pants while you got your behind paddled for doing something wrong. When did things turn around to respect the kids but, kids don’t have to give respect. Things are backward. A child should stay in a child’s place and adults should remain in theirs. I was taught yes ma’am and no ma’am, yes sir and no sir; this is how I trained my kids. These are titles you receive upon achieving adulthood. From my perspective, to have a child address me as an equal is unfathomable. This is where it all begins, once they feel that they can talk to you as an equal they start to treat you as an equal. I’m not saying to close the lines of communication but I am saying that if you don’t exercise proper protocol in those lines of communication, one day that child will be talking to you like you’re the child and they’re the adult. The language I hear coming out of kids mouths these days is appalling, they’re using words I don’t feel comfortable saying, now, and I’ve been here 52 years. If I were to say some of the things I hear in the music on the radio in front of my parents or grandparents, I’d get a time out alright (Time Knocked Out)! I would have been literally knocked into the next week. Then people wonder about the teenage pregnancy rates, if you allow your 12 or 13 year old daughter to walk around dressed like a 5 dollar hooker what else can you expect. We can’t be our children’s friend. They need parents and guidance, someone to tell them no, that’s not right, you can’t go, and you better not do that. Here’s an explanation that was used on me that worked quite effectively, “(Because I said so!)”and that was the end of the conversation. Common sense is a good place to start, it’s available to everyone hence the term common sense. We all want better for our children than what we had; by the same token we need to establish guidelines to first build strong foundations. For instance don’t be a follower be a leader; you don’t have to be like others to be liked by others. The clothes don’t make the person the person makes the clothes. Do the right thing and the right people will gravitate toward you. Respect yourself and others will respect you. People say “you can’t judge a book by its cover” but, people do. Character is doing the right thing even when no one is looking. If you have to brag about what you did it’s not worth talking about. It’s better to be quiet and thought a fool than to open ones mouth and remove all doubt.
Or as my mother put it “you can’t tell the difference between a horse and a jackass until the jackass opens its mouth to speak.”
Being born in St. Louis is an advantage; we’re a cross section of the country, ahead in some areas and behind in others, big city ideals and small town attitudes, progressive and repressive. Our cost of living is lower than both the east and west coast and our moral standards tend to be higher.