Sunday, July 4, 2010

10 Years From Now (Part 1)

Something bothered me while picking up Chinese food for dinner last night and it wasn't MSG.  As I was leaving with my bourbon chicken and pork lo mien I overheard a boy publicly curse his mother as she apologetically gave him his way.  The words he used were not nearly as offensive as his tone.  It was like fingernails on the chalkboard for anyone in earshot.  The whole thing bothered me.

For a moment or two, I considered saying something to they boy.  He seemed to be in his pre-teen years.  Maybe a "that's not cool" from a man would make a difference.  I decided that since the incident had happened several feed away, it would be weird to go out of my way to say something.  I'm still not sure if that was the right decisions.

Here's why I'm unsure.  As I am prone to do, I started thinking about how this incident will affect the future of our community.  This child was upset that his pizza wasn't ready yet (something outside his mother's control).  She didn't discipline him for his disrespectful behavior, choosing rather to do her best to meet his unreasonable demands.  Right now his behavior is offensive and annoying.  Imagine this child in 10 years.  He will have the ability to vote, drive, hold a job and parent his own children.  If his entire life has been about people meeting his demands to appease him, what will happen in his work place, community, family, etc.?

You might think he would get fired for his demanding behavior.  That only happens when everyone else is working hard and getting a long.  What if everyone has been raised without direction or discipline.  What if everyone is selfish beyond reason?  I've worked in places like this.  I can tell you that it is no longer the unreasonably selfish employees that stick out.  Hard workers and kind people are the rare exception.

Let's look past the work place.  Will this young man vote for what is best for his community or for what he perceives to be best for him?  Will he vote at all?  Will he keep his neighborhood clean or will he litter and let things go?  How will he treat his own children?  If his unreasonable demands have not been met, how will he react to them?

I hear a lot of talk about the economy.  So many newsworthy issues seem to come back to job creation.  Sometimes I wonder if we don't have an economic crisis, but a responsibility crisis rooted in a parenting crisis.  We are a culture that slips further and further away from responsibility, kindness, respect, etc.  What happened to our standards?  What happened to our direction?  What should we do about it?

If you are a parent, let me recommend a book that has made a big difference for a lot of other parents.  Parenting from the Heights by Anne Wiggins and Linda Williams is a great resource for all of us.

Also, I'd like to get your thoughts on something: Should I have said something to the boy who cursed his mother?  (After all, his world view is going to affect me and my community in 10 years.)

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