If you would like to add a comment to any of the threads here on AADB, registration with blogspot.com is not required. Simply click on the ‘comments’ link at the bottom of an essay, and either enter a nickname under ‘choose an identity’ or post your comment anonymously. Serious comments are always welcome.


Below are the two final essays to be posted on Allegiance and Duty Betrayed. The first one is written by a friend -- screen name 'Euro-American Scum' -- who, over the past four years, has been the most faithful essayist here. He has written about everything from his pilgrimage to Normandy in 2004 to take part in the 60th–year commemoration of the invasion, to his memories of his tour in Vietnam. His dedication to America’s founding principles ... and those who have sacrificed to preserve them over the past 200+ years ... is unequaled. Thank you, E-A-S. It has been a privilege to include your writing here, and it is a privilege to call you my friend.

The second essay is my own farewell. And with it I thank all of the many regular visitors, and those who may have only dropped in occasionally, for coming here. I hope you learned something. I hope a seed or two was planted. But, even if not, I thank you for stopping by ... 25 March, 2010


Roots and Wings


When our children were young, we had a plaque hanging on the wall of our bedroom that read:

There are two essential things you can provide your children.
One is roots. The other is wings.

Roots, so that they might know from whence they came, and where they can always look for affirmation and love. And wings to provide a sense of independence, and the tools and the spirit to strive to be all that they can be.

A good friend, the contributor known as ‘First_Salute’ here on AADB, recently forwarded me a Wall Street Journal article entitled, What’s Gotten into Kids These Days? In it, the author describes the growing trend among children, as young as pre-school age, toward anti-social behavior, lack of self-control, irrationality, anxiety and rage.

After describing such increasingly abnormal behaviors, and referring to several ‘expert’ opinions on the frightening nationwide trend, the author concludes with the following:

Experts' recommendations contain wisdom for parents:

  • Avoid pushing your children to read, write and do math too soon, at the expense of social and emotional skills.

  • Find classrooms well-equipped to handle behavior problems.

  • Consider delaying your child's entry to large-group care.

  • Reduce children’s stress.

  • Prepare your child to control his or her own behavior, even when other children don't.
I choked on her list -- as I invariably choke on most lists compiled by modern American 'experts'.

First_Salute, in his own commentary to me, wrote:

Little minds are so vulnerable, because in their world, digesting is really most of what they do, as they attempt to learn each new ingredient necessary for their survival, and their brain is actually still growing, being wired.

To which I say ‘Amen!’ The five recommendations at the conclusion of the article above provide little or no insight as to the cause of a young child’s self-destructive behaviors – they simply provide superficial ways in which we adults might deal with them, after the fact -- after the wiring of the little brains has been weakly and ineffectually accomplished. I suggest that the reason the genuine causes of the poor wiring are ignored is that looking them square in the eye might either (1) make us entirely too uncomfortable, or (2) cause us, as a society, to have to personally sacrifice entirely too much in order to turn things around.

We want to provide our children the ‘wings’ without the ‘roots’ foundation. We want our children to fly without ever having received proper lessons in how to get off the ground or where their wings should find their strength.

It’s in the providing of those lessons that we have failed miserably.

In order to provide a child a sense of ‘roots’ we ourselves must appreciate and respect from whence we came. Yet today’s modern American has little appreciation for his ancestry (Old World, New World, familial, moral, or spiritual).

  • We don’t care about the heroes of two centuries ago who endured more hardship than we can even imagine, yet who meticulously sculpted a moral and prosperous nation from a wild frontier.

  • We don’t care about the indescribable personal sacrifices that were willingly made in order to ensure that we would be allowed to grow ‘wings’, unfettered by the iron fist of tyranny.

  • We don’t care that elite tyrants – in government, academia, and entertainment -- have more say in the formation of our children’s lives and thoughts than we do. As a matter of fact, many of us are grateful that the tyrants are willing to ‘pick up the slack’. It leaves us more time for ‘more satisfying’ personal pursuits.

  • We don’t care that those tyrants are telling our children that morality is situational. That ‘heroes’ sing well, or shoot baskets well, or are able to commit crimes without retribution – while names like Thomas Paine and Patrick Henry are unfamiliar to those same children’s ears.

  • We don’t care that the words of the major candidates for the position of leader of the free world bear no resemblance to their deeds or ideologies. Worse yet, many of us are not even aware of that fact. Nor do we care that our children are unable to tell the difference between truth and deception. We cast our ballots, if we do so at all, based on ignorance and fragmented, illusory ‘information’ -- as will our children.

  • We don’t care that our children fill their bodies with empty calories, nutrition-less, chemical-laden prepared foods – and their minds with electronic garbage posing as entertainment/education. We don’t care that the extent of their exercise consists of walking back and forth from the computer to the refrigerator.

    fast food.jpg

  • We don’t care what our children are being taught. We don’t care that they are being told that they need a detailed map, provided by ‘experts’, in order to progress from Point A to Point B – that, if they needed to blaze a trail themselves, they would panic and wither away, before having set foot beyond the boundaries of familiar ground.

  • We don’t care that our children have little knowledge of, or respect for, the lessons that previous generations can teach. We have taught them, through our own lack of interest in the lessons of history, that today is all that matters – that whatever material wealth they can wring out of today is what is of most value. The past is simply a boring blur, in which people who didn’t understand about the ‘good things of life’ existed -- if the past even existed at all.

  • We are allowing our children to believe that a sense of achievement is learned rather than earned, and that taking responsibility for one’s own actions is a sign of weakness or inability to use ‘the system’ to one’s own advantage.

  • We are teaching our children that they matter more than those around them, and that attaining happiness matters more than the means used in its pursuit.

  • Over the past four decades, our homes have grown larger and our backyards have grown smaller. We have no time to maintain a large yard, and no more games are played there anymore. Electronics do no perform well in tall grass.

    video games.jpg

  • Over the past four decades, family meals have dwindled down to each member grabbing what passes for nutrition on his way out the door or up to his own bedroom to communicate with his ‘internet family’.

  • Over the past four decades, the concept of ‘morality’, as taught by family example and discussion, and the invoking of scriptural truths, has evolved into the striving for politically-correct diversity, multiculturalism and tolerance – during which the scriptural concepts of good and evil, truth and falsehood have become dangerously passé.

The ‘experts’ believe that, in order to provide our children the focus necessary to reclaim who they are, we must expect less of them, adapt to their ‘it takes a village’ environment, and impose upon them a myriad of other escapist politically-correct strategies -- as evidenced by the advice in the above-referenced article, and countless others that attempt to impose their will upon us every day. They would have us put a tainted band-aid on our children’s wounds, and then send them back out to play in traffic.

Our children’s roots are shallow and weak.

One cannot climb a ladder at all if the bottom rung is rotten. The ladder we have provided our children is no longer worth climbing. They will either fail at the first feeble rung, or they will be horrified at what they find at the top. And we have no one to blame but ourselves.

~ joanie


proudpodunknative said...

I can't say it's beautiful Joanie, because the picture you paint is horrible. But as a commentary on our society in general every word is true. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely brilliant.

john galt said...

One of your best, Joanie, and that's saying alot. God bless you for fighting the good fight!

Anonymous said...

God bless you and strengthen you. You're fighting a major uphill battle.

lori_gmeiner said...

Joanie, we've forgotten the wise saying "The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world" and we're going to pay a terrible price.

Thank you for your wise commentary, as always.

Anonymous said...

I am speechless yet sad. Thank you.

jim said...

The elite tyrants, apathetic parents, television and junk food that you mentioned are worse enemies to our children than Islamic terrorists.

M-T-R said...

Your best bet is to do the exact opposite of what the liberal social engineers recommend.

johnsteever said...

Here's an interesting related article, "What We Owe Our Young People":


Marcus Aurelius said...

We don’t care what our children are being taught. We don’t care that they are being told that they need a detailed map, provided by ‘experts’, in order to progress from Point A to Point B – that, if they needed to blaze a trail themselves, they would panic and wither away, before having set foot beyond the boundaries of familiar ground.

I was just watching the Fox News morning show while drinking my coffee and the lead-in to the next segment went, "Coming up-- We're going to tell you how to "talk politics" and sound smart when you do. Stay tuned."

I'd say that qualifies.

all_good_men said...

One cannot climb a ladder at all if the bottom rung is rotten.

That statement should be added to Bartlett's Familiar Quotations and placed on bumper stickers everywhere.

Unlike in "olden times", childred are not the future which must be molded into self-reliant, self-sufficient members of society. Children are something you have that will not be inconvient to your "comings and goings" or your self-interest.

kathymkynczak said...

Joanie, you need to submit this to National Review and Human Events. Please do that.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this excellent column. The pictures are powerful too.

3timesalady said...

Train a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not turn from it - Proverbs 22:6

Arlene Albrecht said...

I tried to pick out the most important one in your list of "we don't care that our children...." and comment on it myself but I couldn't. Everything on the list is just as horrible and true as all the others.

Thank you for taking the time to write this. I wish every voter would take the time to read it.

Anonymous said...

Wonderfully written as usual.

The photo of the little girl with the Big Mac makes me wince.

First_Salute said...

The manner of your upbringing

As a youngster, your mind needs time to digest what it naturally absorbs. That digestion, is naturally three dimensional and relational across the concepts that you store.

For example, you observe some food. You store that. You store the colors of the food. You store the tastes of the food(s).

You could, now, see all that on a set of shelves arranged by rows and columns, but the relational part, is that your mind also can store all the possible connections between each of these items ... connecting the taste to the color of a food.

With time, you learn that the color yellow is not always lemon, but your mind remembers that yellow and lemon are related.

Our minds are fantastic relational databases. The field of computer science, where relational database software and its uses are developed, is merely the applied science of what we do naturally.

Where a child is vulnerable, is in the interruptions that do not give the mind the opportunity to test and practice what is being digested (what is being stored and the relational links).

You are fortunate, in the manner that you were raised, if you were given that time.

George Washington was given that time. He managed to observe quite a lot of how people behave, what mattered in their actions and conversations versus what did not, as much.

He naturally took up duties that were in keeping with how he digested what was going on around him, by becoming a scribe (he copied correspondence and letters for those engaged in business around him, which afforded him more time to observe action, conversation, the matters of the day, what worked, and what did not work), and becoming a self-disciplined man of action to the point of not appearing to be all that active at all, yet clearly to men around him, he had a mind disciplined to action instead of acting.
(Recommended: http://gwpapers.virginia.edu/documents/civility/)

Joanie's father was a master machinist, and his manner around his daughters, afforded them the time to digest his actions and his words.

How that came across, was different for each daughter, because each daughter is a different person, but overall, the sense that your father loves you, when he is able to be around you, is a major attention getter, and you tend strongly to be almost all pupil, digesting these moments, so that they remain with you.

It is in those moments when excellent digestion occurs.

It is in front of a TV sets (and has been since the 1950s), when indigestion occurs.

If you remember one of your parents' remarks when you were little, as you sat in front of a TV set, as she or he spoke to a neighbor, you may recall their laughter while lamenting what they quickly defined to be "the boob tube" and what it was doing to our young little minds.

The TV can be a great tool, but most often, and more these days, it is simply mind boggling and will make you sick, such that the symptoms are difficult to understand, how you, or some youngsters got to be so screwed up.

My two cents are, forget that. Set times for TV, period. "Oh mom...!"



cw-patriot said...

Proudpodunknative, John Galt, Lori, Kathy, and Arlene,

Thank you all for your kind and supportive words. :)

~ joanie

cw-patriot said...

Marcus Aurelius,

An excellent example of the point I was trying to make!


cw-patriot said...

Unlike in "olden times", childred are not the future which must be molded into self-reliant, self-sufficient members of society. Children are something you have that will not be inconvient to your "comings and goings" or your self-interest.

All Good Men, the amount of truth in that statement is truly frightening. Thank you for your insights.

~ joanie

cw-patriot said...


Thank you for the very pertinent scripture reference.

~ joanie

cw-patriot said...

Very well said, as always, F_S.

I like your reference to ‘excellence in digestion’ vs. ‘indigestion’. A beautiful set of descriptors.

I especially appreciate your description of Washington’s accumulated ability to absorb knowledge, and discard irrelevance, by observing those around him. That is a rare gift indeed, which goes a long way toward explaining his uniqueness of character.

Thank you, also, for your tribute to my dear Dad -- appreciated more than you may know.

~ joanie

Anonymous said...

Here's an extreme example of what you're talking about:


Tom Bergman said...

You make many excellent points First Salute, especially: "Where a child is vulnerable, is in the interruptions that do not give the mind the opportunity to test and practice what is being digested (what is being stored and the relational links)."

Bombard a child with propaganda and don't teach him how to evaluate "facts" and you can mold him however you want.

Tom Bergman said...

I don't know how anyone can argue with your arguments Joanie. We see examples of your list of most parent's "sins" right in front of us every day. Children are not being raised the way they used to. Parents are too busy to set the right example, or firm rules, etc. Neglecting the proper nurturing of our children will be deadly to our society over time.

Anonymous said...

Great article C.W. I just sent $50 to Fred too. I'll send more when I can.

softballmominva said...

May I be so bold as to elaborate and expand on one of your points?

Parents of the boomer years gave up on their responsibility to give their children spiritual roots. They look back on their days of sitting in the pew with disgust and a claim to allow their children to choose what they believe when they are adults. Unfortunately with no religious training at all, these children flounder and search for a higher power - but reject Christianity due to their parents disdain. The grandchildren of great Christians turn to forms of paganism, instead of the faith of their fathers. Some parents are aghast, but should they be? The parents neglected the spiritual education in favor of sleeping in on Sundays, and personal enjoyment.

All human beings have within them an innate desire to find purpose and meaning beyond the here and now. Parents who all their children to choose should not be surprised when the choices show no resemblance to the parent's beliefs.

cw-patriot said...

Thank you for your wonderful insights, SoftballMom. I agree with all of your well-expressed points.

I am afraid that the kind of self-absorbed attitude to which you refer is prevalent among the children of many baby boomers. They tend to take credit for their successes, rarely step back and count their blessings – always looking for bigger and better, never content with what they have, and always attempting to fill the God-shaped void within them with things of this world.

Again, thank you for your contribution on the thread – such wonderful spiritual relevance to the subject at hand.

~ joanie

Anonymous said...

From "Baby Boomer Children: What's Wrong?":

The truth is that some of those kids, who are in their twenties and thirties by now, are not all right. They’re failing to thrive. Despite having every constitutional and environmental advantage—including healthy minds and bodies and loving and intelligent parents—many of our children are not growing into the independent, generous, kind, happy, successful, law-abiding, contributing citizens we expected them to be.

The result of all this is a growing population of angry, scared, resentful, worried, embarrassed, and guilt-racked parents who can’t escape the feeling that their children are missing out on life because of something they did or failed to do when they were younger. One woman related her frustration at watching her 27-year-old daughter move home for the third time since college and sit around the house, aimless, depressed, bulimic, unemployed, and in debt.

Meanwhile, parents are putting off all the things they said they’d do when their children were on their own. They’re waiting for their kids to clean up their act, show a little character, take on some responsibilities, or take care of the ones they already have.


Luis said...

very well written Joanie.

Sadly I don't think these problems are solely American. Here in England we seem to have a significant proportion of children who appear to lack from good parenting. This can be seen in any town or city especially at the weekends when large groups of teenagers roam around causing trouble and disruption. Sadly it is common to see them drinking alcohol. Our minimum age to buy alcohol is currently 18 so it is relatively easy for them to get hold of it. Drugs and gang violence also play a part.

I recently saw a large group of teenagers close to where I live passing around a bottle of vodka on a Friday night and breaking other bottles. Some of the group seemed to be as young as 12 and 13.

I felt then and this is reinforced by your article that ultimately it is the parents who are at fault here. Even one generation back a parent or grand parent would have intervened and taken their children home before it got anywhere near that stage. Now the emphasis seems to be on the parents "enjoying" some time when their children are out of the house without any apparent care as to what they are getting up to.

To avoid giving an unbalanced view of England I should of course emphasise that this is not typical of all families but sadly it seems to be the case for a growing minority.

I will try and remember your words on roots and wings as my wife and I rise to the challenge of bringing up our 6 month old son !!

The picture of the little girl and a burger is disturbing and again poor diet for children is a problem here too.

John Cooper said...

We can all see the collective problem, but the answer lies within the individual.

Anonymous said...

Your commentaries should appear in a major newspaper.

trustbutverify said...


We can all see the collective problem seems to say that the whole premise and argument of this article is obvious to everybody, and I don't agree at all.

the answer lies within the individual.

I think the article tries to point out that most "individuals" today don't have the ability to come up with "answers" because they lack the tools.

I usually agree with your comments but I think you're belittling the author on this one and on shaky ground.

smithy said...

Cooper, your comment does seem to trivialize the essay. I'd like to see more of your thoughts on why you think Joanie's arguments are obvious to everybody. They may be obvious to the people you know, but I don't think they are to most Americans.

If the answer lies within the individual, and we're raising individuals to not care about what happens to their country, how does that philosophy make the points of this essay not matter?

smithy said...

First Salute,

Your food analogy on storage of information and relationships between information stored is easily grasped. And your comments on television are right on the mark.

Good work.

cw-patriot said...

Luis, thank you for your kind comments.

Your observations about certain parts of life 'across the pond' parallel comments that I read from a pen-pal (of fifty years) of mine who lives in Nottingham. She often laments the decline in the behaviors of the younger generation, and, like you, places much of the blame on 'relaxed parenting', as well as government interference in family life.

Continued good wishes to you, your wife, and your new son. I know he is blessed with parents who truly place his best interests above more self-absorbed pursuits.

~ joanie

Anonymous said...

NR: "A Thompson Supporter Looks Back, Ahead"


Anonymous said...

Don't have a stroke, but Katie Couric disagrees with you on some of this:

CBS: Parents Need Government Help to Raise Kids


danthemangottschall said...

Who gives a flyin' F what idiot Couric thinks about anything?

Anonymous said...

I know it's speaking in generalities when the rest of the article isn't, but your last paragraph says it all. It's a terrible image of where we are.

dawnsearlylight said...

This was written a few years ago by a 16 year old American student who attended public school until she was 15 and then started attending a private Christian school. The article is 4 years old but still relevant: “America’s Failing Public School System.”

This is for all the parents and their children who attend public school. I attended public school all my life, until September 2002 when I began attending a private, Christian school. The differences are incredible!

Reading, writing, and arithmetic used to be what a child learned in school. Is this what you think your child is getting in school?

Throughout most of my time spent in public school, the kids in my classes only read one or two books throughout the whole year. I was identified as being smart/dumb enough to go to "Gifted and Talented" a.k.a. Advanced Placement classes. The Advanced Placement courses have now been replaced with IB classes, which are part of the International Baccalaureate Organization, UNESCO, United Nations. In this class, we were assigned numerous short stories to read, mostly about the myths of other countries, and about their religions. This class bragged it was a higher-level class, in which advanced students could "maximize" their learning capacity. I was busy learning about the religions and cultures of other countries, but never knowing such authors as Henry van Dyke, Washington Irving, O. Henry, or even Henry Wadsworth Longfellow until I attended private school. These authors and others like Mark Twain and Emily Dickinson are purely American, and the basis for all literary writings in America to date. Why were they never taught to me? Even in the so-called advanced classes we never read "Rip van Winkle."

Instead, we were assigned books like "The Giver" by Lois Lowry, which gave the details of killing babies and living in a world where no one was special and a person's worth was based on his/her ability to conform to the group. Was I being conditioned?.....


John Cooper said...

We all know the "system" is rotten, but knowing that doesn't fix anything. That's all I'm saying.

If you want your kids to learn the important things, then homeschool them or send them to private school.

If you want them to eat healthy foods rather than Happy Meals, then fix them healthy foods.

If you think TV is bad for them, then don't let them watch it.

You can't fix an epidemic all by yourself - you have to cure one patient at a time.

cw-patriot said...

Dawnsearlylight, thank you for the steer to the essay written by the sixteen-year-old. I don't think any of us could have said it better! When I have the time, I will probably post it as an essay of its own here. I appreciate the find. :)

~ joanie

Anonymous said...

This is one of the most truthful, hard hitting editorials I've read in months. Have you sent this anywhere for publication?

Michael Robinson said...

You present some very good arguments. But even if the "average American" read them and understood how important they are, they'd forget them in a couple of weeks. We have no longterm memory anymore for things that count.

John Cooper said...

Joanie wrote:..."We don’t care that our children have little knowledge of, or respect for, the lessons that previous generations can teach."

What do you do with a child who doesn't care to learn the "old ways", or even the "new ways"?

Two years ago, we had a family Thanksgiving get-together at our cabin in the woods. My 65 y.o. Mother-in-law was with us, as were my daughter, her (second) husband, and all the teenage grandkids and step-grandkids.

We adults were all in the kitchen preparing the meal, and my Mother-in-law was showing us how she had always done a turkey. I went out and asked the 18 y.o. step-granddaughter if she wouldn't like to come in and learn how it was done.

She declined. Not interested. She was watching TV.

(I guess showing her how to butcher a hog would have been out of the question.)

This attitude confirms what my son has told me about the girls he dates. They don't know how to *do* anything, and don't care to learn. They can't cook, don't want to clean, and raising children is the farthest thing from their minds.

This same girl who didn't want to learn how to roast a turkey is now going to college. She lives in a dorm with *room service*, if you can believe that. Her room is actually cleaned for her, and all her meals are prepared.

We call her "the princess".

Heck, I learned to cook out of necessity when I went to college. After living on canned pork and beans and pop tarts for several months, I knew I had to do something.

I bought a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook (which I still have, and used this afternoon as a matter of fact), and learned how to cook.

The "princess", and many young people, are going to have a rude awakening.

Anonymous said...

“Every child in America should be acquainted with his own country. He should read books that furnish him with ideas that will be useful to him in life and practice. As soon as he opens his lips, he should rehearse the history of his own country.” —Noah Webster

Montypython2 said...

I think everybody has family members like you two described, and it makes you wonder how bloodlines can wander in such different directions. :-)

cw-patriot said...

An excellent quote, anonymous. I, too, read that somewhere recently (Patriot Post?) and wanted to remember to file it away.

robmaroni said...

Hunter endorses Huckabee:


Hunter's lost a lot of credibility in my book.

First_Salute said...

I am in favor of child labor laws.

As in, the parents instructing the the child, about the chores that the child needs to do around the home and elsewhere.

I am not yet a parent, so I get to imagine quite a lot before reality sets in; and here goes.

1) Kids take care of the feeding and watering of all animals, as soon as the kids are old enough to physically take on these chores.

2) Also, as soon as physically able, children collect the laundry and help Mom.

3) Also, as soon as physically able - and more coordinated, kids help with setting and clearing the table.

4) A litle older by now, the children clean all the bathrooms.

5) By age 11, children begin to learn to cook - really cook, the main meals for the family.

Of course, by this age, kids are playing around with all kinds of skills, but the duties mentioned - week in and week out - they need to "be saddled" with these, because they will need --- *need* --- to have this discipline all the remainder of their lives ... which could begin any day, much earlier, than "Launch Date from School."

6) At school, every child between 7th and 9th grades, cleans the school.

7) At school, every child in the 10th grade, has duties maintaining the kitchen - cooking, cleaning, ordering food, making sure that everybody is fed.

8) At school, every young adult in the 11th grade is responsible for helping the teachers.

9) At school, every young adult in the 12th grade is responsible for administration of everything.

In all these positions of responsiblity, of course the jobs / tasks are scheduled and these kids and their teachers and parents all organize accordingly. You, kid, know in advance, that the 7th week of school, you will be running the kitchen, or some teacher's assistant for that week, or the supervisor of the school crossings. Etc.

10) Back home, all kids at the 10th grade and older, do not get dinner until they report in about the safety and such of all single or other adults in some kind of state that somebody should look in on them. ("Is Mrs. Smith OK, did she get her groceries today?" If no, off to the store, get Mrs. Smith's groceries, and then come home and eat - we will wait for you.)

11) Then there is the food supply, and the wood supply, and all the other heating supplies. We have no need of hiring illegal aliens, when we have over a hundred million kids in our country, who are sitting in front of a TV set. *They* can pick the lettuce, the fruit, and otherwise help around farms and ranches.

12) Because our / your liberty, youngster, is not something that you turn to a menu and select, when it occurs to you that suddenly, you need it.

You do not want to find out, that your life has no liberty, when the electricity stops coming from walls, at some point in your life where you also, suddenly find out, that thousands of men and women doing all the work of bringing electricity to the walls, either need *your* help in doing so, or they retire ... but you are un-prepared.

When suddenly, it is *all* up to you.

Instead of that, be prepared; the more chores that you are trained in, the easier your life will be.

You are raised with some expectation in you, that you will have some family, but you must be prepared to live alone, and be on your own, especially away from home.

All this training helps you for the day, when you discover that many people are looking to you for guidance and moral support, in which role as chief, you may find some alone-ness despite being surrounded by people, even family.

When you were young, a parent or older family member may have said, "You're in charge, take care of your Mom."

Now, as an adult, you are in charge, and all the care of those around you, is your charge. Be glad that you trained for this job, and that you learned how to teach others to such jobs.

All these foundations of your liberty, the work that your ancestors did, to "simply" be able to get a letter from George Washington to Ben Franklin, you need to learn, so that you can graduate to knowing how to manage your work load, before you leave the home of your youth.

You will be in charge of the management of all the work load in your life, the work that you need to complete for yourself, and for all those people around you.

When you apply for some job somewhere, and the employer asks you if you have had any management experience, ask this prospective employer for couple a blank 8.5 x 11 inch sheets of paper and begin writing --- all the above, you will easily be able to draw out in good time.

If this prospective employer, cannot see that you are a manager of work and time already, thank the employer for its time and move on to the next prospect.

Because this particular employer who does not understand your explanation of how you got to be a manager of work and time in your life, and in the lives of others, only knows that it is in trouble.

It does not know *why* it is in trouble.

Nor does it know how to fix its problems.

All it knows, is that there is a lot of work to do, and it hopes that somebody or something will appear from beyond its walls ... conveniently on a menu (a list of resumes) for it to choose an easy solution.

Sound familiar?

If you took that job, on the chance that they offered it to you, and you manage to fix things, the odds are very, very high, that the company is still not going to know *why* their problems went away; and in addition, they are not going to attribute the solutions to you, nor understand your value to the company.

Because again, they do not know ... *why.* Ask around, if you don't believe me, and you will find confirmation of this phenonmenon, where *you* suddenly are "let go" from this company, and the nephew or niece of the boss, is put in charge, with all the glory.

Now, be glad you are out of there, and go find the better employer who knows *why* they need you, all the time recognizing, that you may be that better employer and venture forth on your own, building your own business.

Because, as a child, in all the instructions of all the chores and duties and obligations, mentioned above, that is what you trained to do - manage your work and your time, so that you can be of service to yourself and to your family and to your business.

Two more things:

Learn to whistle. Learn to make music without electricity. It will be an enduring source of entertainment for you and for your children.

Every skill that I ever learned, and every practical science tidbit that I managed to remember from my formal education, as well as what my parents taught me, I have been surprised to discover, that I have used nearly everything (and I wish that I had paid closer attention).

So let that be a lesson to ya.

Jan. 24, 2008

daveburkett said...

Interesting ideas, First Salute. Bookmarked for later comment.

cw-patriot said...

First_Salute – An absolutely brilliant essay, which, I suspect, would have most modern American adults calling you ‘reactionary’ or a ‘slave driver’. Yet, in reality, your outline would prepare young Americans to live their lives more independently, productively, and satisfyingly than any course of instruction in public or ‘higher’ education.

Nowadays, the average American seems to interpret placing responsibility upon a child as punitive or oppressive, when, in reality, it serves as the greatest source of instruction that exists.

As I know I’ve told you many times before, I judge (too arrogant a word, but I can’t think of a better one at the moment) the worth of a person (temporarily leaving spirituality and honesty out of the equation) by asking myself, ‘Does he have the wherewithal -- initiative, creativity, strength, courage, endurance -- to survive on a deserted island?’

As you so eloquently point out, parents who instill a sense of responsibility in their children from very early childhood are providing him those tools.

Over my years of teaching, I have noticed a distinct and consistent correlation between the amount of responsibility parents place on their child, and the amount of (1) interest in achievement, (2) willingness to work, and (3) familial love that results in the child.

I have taught children as young as four years old who are responsible for making their bed every day, cleaning their room thoroughly once a week, and clearing the table after dinner. A few young children, whose after-school hours are generally fairly full, are required to awaken a half hour earlier than they otherwise would have to in order to practice their piano before they leave for school each day. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of such children, who are assigned responsibility very early in life, who resent those responsibilities in any way. And invariably, they are achievers, very much interested in learning, and they love and respect their parents and siblings.

I have told you about the young man in our neighborhood who is one of the wonderful exceptions to the general laziness of today’s younger generation.

Just this afternoon, he spent about three hours in twenty-degree weather with his chain saw in the woods behind our house, cutting up downed trees for firewood. This is a young man who is living at home, attending college fulltime, works at a part-time job, as well as doing other odd jobs, and thinks nothing of spending his limited free time working to provide the means of winter heat for his family’s home. He does it willingly, without being asked, and with a sense of innate duty and love for his family.



As you so beautifully point out, parents who begin training/nurturing their children in this way early on are accomplishing two major things: (1) a sense of responsibility (to the family and otherwise) and work ethic, and (2) the ability to do for oneself.

Would that most American parents still knew how to raise such children.

John said in his post above, in reference to his somewhat pampered grand-daughter, ‘The ‘princess’, and many young people, are going to have a rude awakening.’

When the economic and geopolitical earthquake that is looming over the horizon becomes a sad fact rather than wild conjecture, the millions of princes/princesses in this country will stand around flat-footed and open-mouthed. The children (and adults, for that matter) who understand responsibility, the rewards of hard work, and who grasp the meaning of personal initiative, industry and creativity, will be able to weather the storm. And most of them will be able to thank their parents for having provided them such precious tools, rather than the superficial, frivolous material kinds of blowing-in-the-wind foundation upon which most young Americans’ lives are now based.

A last aside ... I adore your ‘Learn to whistle. Learn to make music without electricity.’ advice! It has such profound meaning, on so many levels!

Thank you, F_S, for this excellent, thoughtful essay. It is a privilege to include it here.

~ joanie

Tom Bergman said...

I can add nothing to what both of you have said. A lack of responsible behavior and a lack of sense of duty are killing our society. Well done!

First_Salute said...


Seems to me, that your observation about family love, is something almost entirely overlooked by "experts" who are dictating the current, politically-correct, left-wing cultural jihad against our families and against our homes and country.

The answer, on how love grows, is right there in front of the noses of "experts" who will not see it, but my guess is, they missed out on it, some, in their own lives, and they work too hard at trying to get the attention that will make up for what was lost --- they naturally do what will get them attention - throw something, usually words, what I call wordity.

They worry, obsess, and profusely word-to-death, the horrors of parental guidance --- as in, all parental direction is brutal.

They never seem to point out, what is so obvious, what is found in your great observation.

When a child jumps off the diving board into a pool of water, the child almost always pops up looking around for a parent, and yells, "Mom, did you see me?!"

All accomplishments met with positive reinforcement (moral support) by a parent, are actually stunning achievements - as measured within the child's mind - and it shows, in how well these are stored in the previously mentioned "relational database."

The feeling of this accomplishment, is love.

It is why every kid needs a dad, and especially every young boy, every young man, needs a father.

Men are natural born warriors, by design. Young girls may "mature earlier," but young men are full of vim and vinegar, and they require more of the discipline that grows by way of these accomplishments reinforced by a quick look at Pop's approval for that neat little grin ... and then back to the game or chores.

This loving relationship, is the most powerful stimulus package, that a family can have, and it should not be burdened by gov't nor by gov't "experts" who are obsessed with there NOT being any barking of orders, to the point of almost outlawing the above process, the loving relationship.

I have a saying, "You know a father's love, by his restraint."

You also know a father's love, by his adapting to situations, with how he keeps to himself, his observations about the differences in his children, so that none of the children feels that he or she is un-equal in his eyes, despite their individual personalities and talents. (I cannot recall, ever, my dad playing favorites, and his gentle touch on such controls, that a father summons for that need to be fair, was right on - "needle, ball, and airspeed").

There may be a few occasions when a bark is necessary, or a firm grip on the neck, but for almost all of a child and young adult's life, the estabishment of the loving relationship that reinforces so many things in the child's, and the family's, lives, requires the gentle nuzzle of a nudge here and there.

As the child, when grown to be an adult, will find, it is the requirement for guiding both new youngsters and the oldsters.

Jan. 25th

SharonGold said...

Here's an outline from a wise Jewish web site that pretty much agrees with your ideas, Joanie and First Salute:


I don't have children yet, but after mulling over your "reactionary" ideas I think I'm in favor of just about every one. :>)

robmaroni said...

John Cooper tells a story about how his granddaughter has a cleaning service and room service in her college dorm and she would rather watch TV on Thanksgiving than learn how to make the turkey with the older women.

First_Salute talks about how we should expect our children to take on their share of the family responsibilities, and even the school and community responsibilities.

Joanie talks about what she has seen with her little students who are given responsibility early in life and the young man in the neighborhood who doesn't mind using his day off to chop wood for his family.

As I see it most parents see nothing wrong with sending their kid to a college that has room service and they ask very little from their kids at home. So we are raising a nation of spoiled brats who think about nobody but themselves and who have no idea what it takes to live on their own in this world. That sounds like a sure fire recipe for disaster to me---on a national scale.

Anonymous said...

I came here for the first time today. A friend told me about this article. I'll read more of this site when I can but there are some very good comments under this article. As a young father, thanks for the brain food!

GretaHoffman said...

Did anybody see the films of Chelsea Clinton speaking on behalf of her mother in South Carolina? I must have seen 3 separate clips of her and Bill and Hillary together, and you can tell from their interaction that they never hug or kiss one another if there isn't a camera around. Their awkwardness in showing real affection to each other is so obvious.

robmaroni said...

I noticed the same thing Greta, especially with Bill and Hill. They put their cheeks together in public as if they're going to run to the restroom once the cameras aren't rolling to wash each other's imprint off.

Barry up the road said...

Another great piece Joanie, and the comments by some readers are spot on as well. Thanks again.

FGS said...

Truly a masterful treatment of the subject and a wonderful piece of writing joanie. In it you have touched on what I believe may be the most contemptible evil I see being used to bring our country and our culture to its knees.

“What one generation tolerates, the next generation accepts and the following generation embraces.” — John Wesley(?)

The children are our future? God help us.