I’m not giving up…not just yet

While sitting in the waiting room for my doctor’s appointment I was amused at the seriousness of the conversation of relative strangers. Somehow the topic of kids was being discussed so naturally everyone had personal opinions to offer.

Coincidentally most people in the waiting room appeared to have been close to the same age range, around 60ish. The life we experienced was much different from the one kids are experiencing today. Because of this our expectations might not be very realistic.

In truth this is a completely different world we are living in, in so many aspects. Things that are available now weren’t then. Access to certain resources was not accessible to us as it is to them. In spite of the differences we act as though they should just put on our same shoes and handle life the way we did… BUZZZZ…NOT!

Not only do they wear totally different shoes, everything that they put on has changed. By this I am not speaking about their clothing. It’s more like we were traveling the universe together and they got off on a totally different planet than us.

Most wouldn’t condone some of the illicit and many times disrespectful behavior that we see coming from our youth today. Some of that behavior we must be willing to take the lion’s share of the blame if we want to see our children prosper. Throwing our arms up in disgust won’t help them. Only by setting very clear boundaries with serious consequences for violating them will children respond accordingly.

The comment I heard most in the waiting room was how stern our parents were with us and how few choices we had regarding our upbringing. Several said that they did not have the choice to be stupid, disrespectful, uneducated, immoral, or in any way contrary to the lines established by their parents. Because of those clear lines with very severe consequences most of us faired well.

Being popular with children did not seem to be on the agenda for our generation. Giving children everything they wanted without having to perform dearly was not part of our program. Having too much of anything was not a problem that we experienced. In fact nearly everything you achieved was earned by blood, sweat and tears. That was the culture of the times back then, but it’s certainly not the case today.

It appears that our generation, the baby boomers, thought our parents were unduly tough on us so consequently we vowed that we would not treat our children anywhere near that manner. As the results of our easing up on the screws we actually screwed up our children by not enforcing clear restrictions with consequences. The issue at hand is finding a way to turn around what we screwed up!

Another point we must accept is the fact that we alone can’t fix the problem. In order to put Humpty Dumpy back together it will require some of the same maturity factors that happened to us. We finally grew up and learned the error of our ways so we decided to change many of our devious behaviors. We ended up going back to the parental guidance that was forced upon us. In hindsight it was the better way.

Our children have already found this out for the most part but their children are almost double-damned. We damned them so they damned their children. If being damned gets to be the culture then anarchy would be the only real solution. Tear the whole house down.

I’m not ready to throw in the towel, not just yet. I don’t think anyone is ready to give up in spite of the severity of the situation. We just know that the problem will be tougher to fix than anticipated. People will actually have to commit to rolling up their sleeves, getting down into the nitty-gritty, and start working on the issues. Whatever it takes and for as long as it takes to achieve measurable results is the posture we must be willing to adopt.

We need to stop pointing blame-fingers because that is not productive. Everyone can just take a part of the blame while they take on part of the responsibility for real change. Many get excited in the short term about getting involved but after the meeting is over there is usually little to no follow through.  If there is no reinforcement in the homes we leave too many gaps in our plan. Parents must step up and guard their own, even though it appears to be a very tough and loosing battle. You had them, so they’re your responsibility.

Anyone who has survived tough times knows the first step is fully committing to the long haul. When things seem unbearable commitment gives us perseverance like a shot of adrenaline. Without it the sheer pressure will crumble you. We cannot afford to give up on our future generations.

One simple motto is that each one, teach one. Make your goal reachable. Reach out and help at least one kid, even if that one is in your family. If you have several children make sure you take full responsibility each one of them. Take them as your personal responsibility and lead them into the future as responsible citizens.

Yes, it is a “tough row to hoe,” but we must make “tough” our expectation, anything less would only be gravy. When you are braced to handle the worst… things only get better from that point forward. I’m not giving up…not just yet!

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