Monday, November 19, 2007

The Way We Never Were

So someone posted this "so true" (if you're to believe the comments on it) bit of "wisdom" on another group:
Our 'drugged' generation The other day, someone at a store in our town read that a Methamphetamine lab had been found in an old farmhouse in the adjoining county and he asked me a rhetorical question. 'Why didn't we have a drug problem when you and I were growing up?' I replied, I had a drug problem when I was young: I was drug to church on Sunday morning. I was drug to church for weddings and funerals. I was drug to family reunions and community socials no matter the weather. I was drug by my ears when I was disrespectful to adults. I was also drug to the woodshed when I disobeyed my parents, told a lie, brought home a bad report card, did not speak with respect, spoke ill of the teacher or the preacher, or if I didn't put forth my best effort in everything that was asked of me. I was drug to the kitchen sink to have my mouth washed out with soap if I uttered a profanity. I was drug out to pull weeds in mom's garden and flowerbeds and cocklebur's out of dad's fields. I was drug to the homes of family, friends and neighbors to help out some poor soul who had no one to mow the yard, repair the clothesline, or chop some firewood; and, if my mother had ever known that I took a single dime as a tip for this kindness, she would have drug me back to the woodshed. Those drugs are still in my veins and they affect my behavior in everything I do, say, or think. They are stronger than cocaine, crack, or heroin; and, if today's children had this kind of drug problem, America would be a better place. God bless the parents who drugged us.
Are you serious with this?
I don't know how I didn't end up a crack addict, then, because I was never "drug" to church, or had my mouth washed out with soap, or even got a bad report card. According to this, though, I should be strung out on heroine somewhere.
Why do people feel the need to reminisce on the "good old days" that never existed? I'm not quite sure what time period this person grew up, but if it was during my day, there were drugs aplenty. I just never chose to indulge.
If they were talking about my parents' generation, they also had drugs aplenty. They just chose never to indulge.
If they were talking about an earlier time, there still were drugs and alcohol. And there are plenty of stories (in our own personal histories, as well as historical accounts) that show that addiction has existed as far back as we can see.
To try to tie it all up neatly in a fictional account of how things were is not only a waste of time, but can be dangerous.
We do need to actually talk to our kids, to actually treat them like human beings worthy of our respect (as we expect from them). The more we distance ourselves from our kids, the more we lose sight of who they really are. The type of attitude shown above is how we end up with babies being born and dumped in public restrooms and trashes. When our kids don't feel comfortable talking to us, opening up to us about their imperfections, their fears, their doubts, their worries, their concerns, where are they going to go to get the advice they need?
I read somewhere that parents train their children rather than listen to them, and this is what causes confused adults (or irresponsible, drug-addicted, insert negative attribute here). I don't want to be that type of parent. I want to be the type of parent that actually does listen to my children.
This is not to say that discipline is not important. Of course, I discipline my children. Of course, they must learn that their actions cause consequences.
In fact, the girls and I were talking quite seriously about consequences and blame when listening to Into the Woods yesterday. We got to the song "It's Your Fault," where the characters blame and snipe at each other about the giant in their midst, the Baker's Wife's death, and all the other things currently going wrong in their little kingdom. It was the perfect opportunity for us to discuss that sometimes, we don't even know what our actions will cause (i.e., the Butterfly Effect). We also discussed the characters' wishes, the problems that those wishes caused when they came true, and how each wish simply led to more wishes.
I think teaching our children to think, particularly before they act, is much more beneficial than just dragging them around!

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