Apologies. I started this post awhile back and when I published it this morning I just hit the Go button, threw on my pack and headed out in the woods. Unfortunately, WordPress will post it when you started the article if you don’t set the time correctly, meaning if you went back a couple of months you’d have seen it. Crazy I know. Boring blog stuff, but that’s why it looks like I didn’t publish a blog post this morning.
On to the (belated) post.
I’ve thought a lot about why our society has seemingly gone down the drain in the last forty or fifty years and I believe a good bit of it has to do with the fact that we’re no longer held accountable for our actions.
When I was growing up my parents held me accountable for certain things. I was expected to be polite to adults. I was expected to be a good loser as well as a good winner. I was expected to be honest. I had chores that needed to be done. We burned a lot of wood growing up and there were many Saturday and Sunday mornings when my dad woke me and my brother up early to get out there and work on the wood.
“See that pile of wood out there?” he’d ask pointing out the window at a couple of cords of uncut 8 foot logs. “I want that to be a memory by this afternoon.”
It got done.
Did we like these (and other) rules growing up? Not particularly, but in hindsight I can see that it’s what helped me to become a responsible adult.
When I joined the Marines at age 18 one of the first things they taught us at Parris Island was to take responsibility for our actions. The DIs didn’t care about excuses. They didn’t want to hear them. If they told you something needed to be done it got done or God help you.
I learned quickly that you didn’t say, “But it wasn’t my fault!”
Lucky for me my parents had already started me well down this path of responsibility and hard work. There were a lot of young men who didn’t have the benefit of this upbringing and they were dragged kicking, crying, and in some cases screaming, into adulthood during those three months of boot camp. Mind you it wasn’t all roses and sunshine for me either, but at least I had a good grasp on the concept.
These days though… wow. Where to start?
First, no child is supposed to feel the pain of losing. Ever. Everybody gets a trophy these days no matter how atrocious their performance. Now I’m not saying lets make fun of the kid that can’t shoot a basket, or shoot a puck, or who can’t throw a dodge ball, or whatever, but it should be made clear that if you suck at a sport maybe, just maybe, you want to put a little effort into getting better instead of everybody blowing smoke where the sun doesn’t shine so your feelings don’t get hurt.
The same could be said about schoolwork as well. Right now the U.S. is 17th in science and 35th in math. If our kids are running so far behind why do they spend so much time playing games, texting, chatting, facebooking, and whatever else they do online?
Because the parents let them. Kids today aren’t being taught about hard work.
I think there are several factors at work here. First, parents want their kids to have it better than they did as children. Don’t you want your kids to have more toys and stuff than you did as a kid?
Second, it’s easier to let a kid stay plugged into a gizmo than it is to drag them kicking and screaming outdoors to do firewood, or rake the lawn or whatever.
Third, communications devices today are so sophisticated and prevalent that it’s easier to have a text conversation or leave a message than it is to actually talk to someone face to face.
Not all parents are like this of course, but enough that this generation has become the epitome of “ME!” The ME generation.
Today everything is safe. Everybody is careful to be politically correct. People look at you with disdain if you ride a bicycle without a helmet because what kind of example are you setting for the children? People shy away from you if you say something politically incorrect. These days I read the paper and it makes me want to pull my hair out because the language is so smoothed out half the time I can’t figure out what they’re trying to say.
Used to be if you spilled hot coffee on yourself you just said, “OUCH!” and dealt with the burn as well as you could. These days you’re looking for people to sue.
Mrs. Jarhead told me a story awhile back about a woman who found a black widow spider in vegetables she’d bought here in Maine. The woman put it on Facebook and shared it with the local media as a gesture saying, “Be sure to wash your vegetables folks.”
A lawyer contacted her and asked if she wanted to sue the grocery store. Thankfully she declined, but I’m sure there are thousands of people out there who would have jumped at the chance of some easy money.
C’mon folks. Seriously? Yeah, it was a dangerous situation, but do you honestly expect the grocery store to look through every vegetable to make sure it’s clean? The price of veggies would double over night because of the handling costs. When I buy salad stuff like lettuce, carrots, cucumbers and so forth I always wash them to make sure I’m not getting any accidental extra protein.
We’ve become a nation that expects to be taken care of.
Whatever happened to us taking care of our country?
Sound off below!