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