The Children Are In Charge Today…the Parents Are Simply Along for the Ride

Posted: September 12, 2012 in From Student to Teacher
Tags: , , , ,

Earlier this summer, as I began the ritual of camps for number 5, I was waiting to pick her up, along with several other parents.  We had the same look on our faces, akin to the look a person has on their face as they prepare for an injection of Novocaine.  (By the way, how is it that we have landed on other planets but can’t find an easier way to numb the gums?)

The shock of the day began with a cute tow-headed boy and his lovely svelte blond mother who were seated nearby at another picnic table.  It went something like this:

“You’re so stupid!  I don’t even know why I listen to you!  You don’t even know what you’re talking about!  Just shut up already!”

Is your mouth hanging open now?  No?  Maybe you’re not surprised at all, considering the state of this country.  It doesn’t matter how often I see this, I’m still profoundly disturbed when I encounter things like this.

Before I share mom’s response, let me preface by setting the stage.  This is Chapel Hill.  Home of the Tar Heels (crap).  It has the highest property taxes in the state of North Carolina.  Only the best of the best, the wealthiest, classiest, and most educated people live here.  Let’s not forget how progressive Chapel Hill people are as well.

Whatever! (My students would be proud to see me be so avant garde here!)

In Chapel Hill, children are bright, well-adjusted, two-parent loving, bible thumpers.  Their understated yet over-priced clothing is a testament to their right to belong in this upper echelon of society.  Enough said.

So, mom crumples up into a ball of embarrassment, turns her head away from her handsome son, probably in an effort to hold back tears, and they proceed to give each other the silent treatment.  I shared this scenario with my mate. He said, “The kid probably treats  her like that because that’s how the father talks to her too.”  I don’t know if that’s true or not.  But I know this:

If this is what it takes to raise good kids, in a good neighborhood, surrounded by good people, then give me an urban, crowded, loud, crime-ridden town any day.  I don’t want my children to grow up with this sense of entitlement that is pervasive around here.

Side note:  One day while still teaching, I was talking to my doctor about blood work results, when a foreign exchange student from Sweden waltzed into my room (my lunch period) and sat down to read a book.  I looked at her as though she must have fallen and bumped her head, and asked her if she needed anything, to which she replied, “No, it’s just too noisy out there.”  THE AUDACITY.  The NERVE.  How dare she assume she could take such liberties, and stroll into my classroom without knocking or asking if it was alright to sit there?  I didn’t even know her.

I completely agree with this quote by John Rosemond, a parenting expert:

What’s happening in America today is parents are emphasizing their relationships with their children instead of leadership.  Anyone in leadership will tell you, you cannot have a warm, fuzzy relationship with people you are in charge of leading. 

His parenting approach is no nonsense, realistic, and perhaps a bit traditional in comparison of the last few decades of “be your child’s friend” garbage.  This is a huge part of the problem in education today.

I may sound harsh here, but I have told my own children the following life and death mantras too many times to count:

1. I wish you would try to talk to me like that…or roll your eyes at me…or twist your neck at me…or dare to even raise your voice above a whisper.

2. ‘I don’t know’ is not an answer.

3. If you ever think you’re too big for a spanking, rest assured, I will stand on a chair and take you down if necessary.

Truthfully, I was disgusted by that mother, repulsed by her weakness and at the same time, afraid I would remain in this Stepford-like town for so long that I would succumb to the “let’s all be friends club”.  As a “former” teacher, I stand firm that a good number of the children’s problems stem from parents who are afraid to be parents. They’re so afraid of screwing up the way THEIR parents did that they’re inadvertently screwing their kids up.  Wait, I think I just screwed myself up!

To that end, here’s a recent picture of my three baby boys and a family friend, (the other half, the three girls were running around elsewhere) in an epic Nerf Gun Battle Showdown.  My role was simply the countdown to annihilation person and photographer.

Aside from the obvious violent subtleties, aren’t they cute?

I just spent an hour trying to figure out how to rotate this and I give up.  All suggestions are welcome.  I clicked on the edit photo icon in the top left corner but all it allowed me to do was crop.  I’m using the desktop today and it’s getting arthritis.  Sorry.  Anyway, that’s half the volleyball team of mine.

Parents, it’s time to wake up and stop being your children’s friend.  Stop giving them everything; you’re making it so hard for those of us who can’t.  Step up, put your big girl panties and boxers on, and stop ending your orders to your kids with, “Okay?”

I’m off to Fedex!  Ciao!

  1. Ms. Nine says:

    and pusillanimous principals who kowtow to children are just as repugnant.

    • I’m about to reveal the full extent of my geek-ness right now: when I used to teach my students that totally juicy word “pusillanimous,” I told them a great way to remember it is that PUS hides under the skin; likewise, someone who is pusillanimous is timid and rather cowardly. Haven’t we ALL met principals like that?!? Thanks for reading my rants.

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