Saturday, April 16, 2005


You know, kids today have so much with which to deal. Peer pressure to do all sorts of nonsense. Schoolwork. The constant search for someone to make googley eyes with between classes at school. The nonsense that follows that googley eye thing. Oh dear, we can't expect them to handle all that can we?

Wait a minute here. How much has really changed? Sure, perhaps we've found new ways to delve into the nonsense, but what is really different when when you or I were in school? Granted, teens are pairing off about two years earlier than they did thirty years ago, but still, the sex drive is the same, the rebelliousness is still the same, and the peer pressure is still the same.

Of course, kids today don't like to hear that. I didn't either when I was that age. I was so much different than my dad and mom. They were too old to understand what I was going through at the time. I've since learned that Dad was a much worse person than I was at that time. He knew better than I had any idea what I was going through. But at the time? He was totally clueless.

Our problem today is that we adults think that we can make it all better for our kids. I think it is a natural thing for people to want to give their children a better life than they did when they were children themselves. We don't want to see our children to make the same mistakes that we did. It makes total sense. One thing we overlook though is that those mistakes that we made way back when are the defining points that developed the character that we have today. Go back in your own life and change one of those regretful events in your past. Imagine how your life would actually be rather than the pie-in-the-sky ideas that we would wish that our lives could be. Did you learn from that situation where you failed miserably? Do your actions today reflect upon that event, or has it somehow influenced the decisions that you've made in the past?

Take sports for an example. There is a contingent of parents (not local hopefully) that believe that all sports should have scoring done away with. You see, keeping score leads to someone winning and someone losing. If someone loses, that makes them feel badly, and that cannot be allowed to happen to a developing child. We can't hurt their fragile egos. Its an old adage in the "Calvin and Hobbes" comic strip that has Calvin's dad telling him that some of his chores "build character". Its the truth! We do things that we don't like, go through things that we'd rather not go through, so that we can develop to be able to deal with things in the real world! Shall we caress the head of the young boy all through his teenage years, only to unleash him doe-eyed into a college existence where people certainly have been exposed to all kinds of things. Will our protection of him while young continue to protect him while he is older, or will it lead to his personal destruction, as he is forced to learn how to deal with a world that doesn't care whether he is part of it or not.

We need to be strong believers in our children. They can certainly deal with much more than we usually expect. They need to be protected, but not coddled.

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