It seems to me that we used to hear about the 3 R’s being reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmatic. That was a long time ago now. The 3 R’s that I am curious about are RIGHTS, RESPONSIBILITY and RESPECT. Those used to be very powerful words. Now it seems they aren’t important anymore, to some.
RIGHTS used to be left for the important stuff, like the rights of The People or the rights to bare arms, the rights the constitution gave the people of this country. Now it seems it has become the RIGHTS a child has over their parents and other authority figures.
Rights as a kid? Seems like I used to have the right to meals, roof over my head and clothes on my back. If I had ever dared tell my father he didn’t have the right to punish me in the manner he saw fit when I broke his house rules or society’s rules; that man would have marched my unhappy butt to the woodshed and he’d have taught me a few rights. I had the right to be scared if I broke the house rules, I knew the consequences. If I choose to ignore them, he had the right to remind me in just about any way he saw fit and appropriate without the fear of someone looking over his shoulder.
I know that we have problems now with people bringing up their children and questioning what their rights are as a parent. Evidently we have dozens more rules now than we did when I was growing up. I understand that someone felt it was necessary to develop these rules to protect the children being abused. Look around whoever you are; do you truly see any improvements? No, I didn’t think so, because the people who are the abusers are still abusing. Laws don’t change how they react when they get angry or drunk. I don’t see how these laws have improved a thing for the caring and responsible parents.
What I see is a whole generation of question marks. What can a parent do to put the fear of “wrong is wrong” in their children? Come on, we all know that a lot of what kept us from getting into bigger trouble was the knowledge that we would be caught and suffer the consequences. Mothers used to be able to just look at their guilty child and say, “you just wait till your father gets home”. If you had any smarts at all you began worrying just a second before those words came out of her mouth, we all knew it was coming. The “waiting” was the worst punishment. More often than not for me the punishment was a lot more chores to do to keep me from having the time to get into trouble again. However there were occasions where the punishment called for more action and I don’t remember the drawing line for that one being real clear to me. That may have been the plan in Dad and Mom’s heads all along. Keep us wondering, sort of like a roulette wheel, where will it stop this time around. Before you would act out again, if you had been Clint Eastwood’s child, you might have thought the words, “Do I feel lucky today?” were appropriate!!
When a nasty word came out of our mouth that first time and our mother surprised us with her idea of how to clean it, usually the method was soap. You know, like dirt=soap. We learned that equation quickly. My granddaughter actually liked soap, that soft soap stuff, we had to watch her or she would be in the bathroom eating it. However her mother learned that she didn’t like vinegar. Cleaned up her little mouth in a hurry and the funny thing is it only took once, maybe twice, but she is a pretty quick learner.
Now they tell me that this can be considered a form of cruel and unusual treatment. I don’t think so.
I believe cruel and unusual treatment is to allow these children to run around thinking they have a right to say or do anything they want without fear of retaliation coming from parents or teachers or any other authority figures. You remember those people, the authority figures, the ones we used to RESPECT.
Before we talk about respect lets do RESPONSIBILITY. My parents saw bringing us kids up as their responsibility, not our teachers or anyone else, but theirs. They took this job seriously. They felt it was their job to teach us right from wrong, good from bad, appropriate from inappropriate, healthy from unhealthy and they did it in whatever manner they felt appropriate. Now remember if you have an abuser in residence they aren’t necessarily interested in these factors. They just may be venting anger or just feel like being a bully today because someone said something they didn’t like or some other stupid excuse. But our responsible parents of today are struggling to stay within laws that have not been written out for them. Anyone seen a print of these laws, I haven’t but I would like to.
I would show the person giving me this copy of parenting rules, the updated version since I grew up, the results of all these rules over the parents, the responsible ones. We now have children running around who have no understanding of what the word RESPECT means. They know what it means in terms of the respect for privacy that they want. The first time I heard my granddaughter tell her mother this I laughed right out loud as I was leaving, I knew I wasn’t staying around to hear how that lesson turned out!! I pretty much knew what the results would be. ‘
I have even overheard kids saying something like “they have to earn my respect”. Earn their respect, whom are they kidding? When I was growing up the mere fact that someone was older than me gave enough reason for respect. I think their term now is something like “dis”, like short for disrespect. A comment might be that “Susie dis’d me. That kind of talking ranks right up there with “Instant Messaging Speak” and that is another story in itself!
The saddest loss of respect is “self-respect”. I think that must be the first respect to go because if they had any respect for themselves I don’t think some of these kids would behave the way they do.
Somehow in the seminars the kids sit through about “abuse” the lines are not clearly defined. While they are having these seminars for children I think the parents should be there too so they know for sure what the new rules for the game are. How can you play without the rules?
What’s really scary is that a child can go to school and talk about their mouth being washed out with soap and the next thing the parent knows there is someone knocking on the door to inspect the situation. However if you have a child who is out of control there is no one to help you. Interesting, isn’t it. One family tried enlisting the help of a local deputy with their 16 year old out of control daughter. There is only one problem with this the fear factor won’t work. You see she has no respect for authority, because she has her rights and she knows them.
We have a problem in this country with our children not learning the 3R’s, Rights, Responsibly and Respect. Too many of our children are growing up without the basics that previous generations took for granted as their rights and responsibilities. Our children don’t know the true meaning of the word respect. The abusers are still abusing. Too many of this generation are soon to be parents themselves; this isn’t a pretty picture to me. What new set of rules will come out unpublished, to guide this next generation to raise their children.