I was working all day in my home office on the blog and studying for a test. Things hadn’t been too smooth in the morning. One of the oldest woke up with a bad attitude and proceeded to take it out on all the younger siblings. Yelling seemed to be the methodology de jour.
It doesn’t have to be this way…
So the idea that setting the day by the behavior of another isn’t always firm and fast, but it doesn’t help that it tends to set the tone.
The culmination came when, from the back room at the end of the day, my daughter screams for help. And no one came. Except me…after waiting a bit to see if anyone who in the living room would respond.
The oldest girl was busy making dinner. She’s always busy with something – schooling is her modus operandi for getting out of work most of the time, or cooking meals which she enjoys. But helping with the baby or laundry? Ask. You will get large eyes rolling in the back of her head followed by a string of complaints.
And if there is a need to be done with or without asking, it will be dutifully ignored, with the excuse that she couldn’t hear as she was plugged into an MP3 player…or was busy with her homework so she didn’t see anything.
One or two others were inside, and immediately exited the building.
The rest of the crew were already outside. They were enjoying themselves, blowing into PVC pipes like horns, and tramping through the woods.
What happened was that header baby had decided that he wasn’t getting enough attention. So he made a bold move. After all, mommy was busy trying to do her own work (editing a video to ready for uploading), and everyone else wasn’t paying attention to him.
So he pulled a lamp on his head. Followed by mommy’s scream for help. Loud enough for everyone outside to have heard.
And no one paid attention.
So what is going on?
Today’s world seems to be plagued by children who are motivated by self interests. To do work they don’t like is taboo. Chores are out of the question.
Back in the 1960’s, college kids were marching for “peace” complete with “make love not war” signs. They wore long hair, had sex with anyone within reach, turned their backs on their parents and family ties, did alcohol and drugs.
For the first time, they were let loose without any oversight.
So they did anything and everything. In college psychology classes, their vulnerable minds were retrained to think of things differently.
They were told that the things their parent taught them were optional. Question religion. Question authority (except the professor who taught the class and controlled their grades). Now they were old enough to make up their own minds. And they were taught the antithesis of what society at that time agreed were the boundaries of good character.
Psych 101 class.
Obedience was out of the question.
Then they grew up…
Those kids became parents and had children. The children were taught that they shouldn’t be chained to such archaic notions as boundaries, morals, religion, ethics, rules. Offspring were to be “free thinkers”. They were to be allowed to “make up their own minds” about what they believed.
But how can anyone make up their minds about what to believe without guidance?
Guidance is something that comes from the experiences of those who have gone down similar paths before. You don’t learn how to drive a car from a two year old any more than you learn about moral law from someone who isn’t moral.
But in college, all that understanding was stripped away.
Children are a blank slate. They have no experiences to fall back on. Theirs is a world of wonder and adventure. It is limitless.
But if a child were to try to touch a hot stove, instinctively the parents would warn them of the consequences and prevent them from hurting themselves.
But what about the harm of the mind? What about the harm caused by making choices that will lead them down a path of self-destruction?
A study showed that children, allowed to play outside the school buildings, would all play right next to the building.
Until a fence went up around the yard. Then they went as far as the fence.
There was a sense of safety having that physical boundary.
Why is it such a difficult step to allow those same boundaries to exist for a child’s mind?
So how does that apply to obedience?
To teach them rules and values that are important to the family unit is subjective. And it is up to the parents to determine what those boundaries are.
If a child wanted to have birth control pills, for example, and they were underage, yet that went against the values the parents were trying to teach them, the child would win in the eyes of society today. A decision of moral law now lies in the jury of others.
But if a child were allowed to play on the freeway because it was their own choice, the parents would be thrown in jail. A moral law that exists by governing authority for the protection of society is okay.
If a child wanted to divorce their parents, that would be allowed. It already has been allowed by a 16 year old in Florida years back.A decision of moral law that lies in the hands of others made precedent.
However, if an 8 year old was allowed to drive their daddy’s car because they wanted to do so, the parents would be punished. A moral law that extends by governing authority for the protection of society is accepted.
Where should these rules come from?
The question comes down to development and authorization of the rules. Is it from the government or those in charge of our society at large? In some cases, such as traffic laws, the answer is “yes”. It affects everyone in society.
However, if they come from moral teachings, then where should those rules come from?
If we look at other countries, each one abides by similar societal rules. They have traffic laws, housing laws, laws regarding murder, stealing, etc.
Their spiritual beliefs are all different. And it is from their religion – or seemingly lack thereof – that these other rules spring.
Lets look at a few countries…
In Muslim countries, thieves have their hands cut off. Lewdness and sexual behaviors are strictly enforced. The countries view the interaction of people through the eyes of the Muslim teachings. Their laws are reflective of those principles.
China has their moral principles based on atheism and worship of the state. What is deemed moral is decided by the governing party. Whatever the governing party decides is acceptable, all the people must abide by that. There are no outside influences in these decisions. It is strictly based on the decisions of the ruling class.
Our country was founded primarily on a different religious viewpoint. We had our laws and mutual understanding on how to treat each other through the eyes of Christian principals.
When a country loses any moral bearing and believes that anything is acceptable, then the country sways like a ship tossed in stormy seas. Instead of agreed upon boundaries, anything becomes acceptable.
Like killing babies from conception up to a year after birth. Or defining the rape of young boys by certain people in society as “young love”, while condemning other people for doing the same thing. And the insane decision in handing out crack pipes to anyone who asks, causing an increase in drug abuse and brain damage.
Those are all moral principals. And they are regulated under the authority of moral law. Something governing bodies should recognize and uphold.
And those moral principals are often taught to the children through their first encounter within a community. They are decided upon by the parents.
They are changed by society when the children are sent to public schools. At that point, what is considered correct by the people in charge takes precedence over the teachings of the parents.
Unless parents pay attention.
Parents want what is best for their offspring. It is instinctive. No reasonable parent would allow their child to get into dangerous situations, or do harm to themselves.
Family rules are imposed by the parents, such as curfews and areas of responsibility within the family structure. The child would be given a set of consequences should they choose not to obey.
It isn’t to make their lives miserable. It is to make sure that they are trained to learn right from wrong, safety from harm. They learn to take responsibility for their actions.
Without boundaries, children grow up like wild weeds. They harm themselves in their thoughts and actions, sometimes ending in despair.
And, if they make it to adulthood, they become wild weeds in adult bodies as they grow up. They remain locked on a path without direction.
The grandkids aren’t bad children. They are testing the waters and exploring their options.
We have rules in place. They are taught repeatedly what those rules are. When they bump up against the rules of the household (such as, no jumping on the furniture, no running in the house, etc), they are disobeying.
Rules are set in place to keep them safe. And they choose to see how much they can get away with. Which isn’t usually much with adult eyes watching.
Their good or bad character appears when they think the adults are preoccupied. The kids jump on the couch, run in the house, and act like wild beasts.
Until they are caught.
Function of obedience…
Obedience isn’t trained because it’s nice to control someone else. Control is authoritarianism run amok.
Instead, obedience is taught so the child will grow up being able to govern themselves with self-control. These kids don’t need someone to tell them when they’ve misbehaved. They already know it based on the model given them as children.
And they become good citizens, obeying just laws.
Originally, their values didn’t come from the state. They came from the parents.
Family is the first society any child will encounter. Except for authoritarian regimes which demand children at incredibly young ages to be indoctrinated with the government’s ideology, parents usually have a good idea of what the ideal adult should look like.
And they define the rules in the family based on that model.
Those rules may not be right for everyone. And others may disagree with the concepts.
It is up to the parents, the ones who gave birth to those little people, to enact and enforce those rules.
Unless those rules subject a child to torturous abuses, parents should be allowed to follow their own decisions for their children.
And the children should learn to obey by abiding by those rules.
It is part of the structure of human society.
It starts in the home.
It’s a frustrating, and often painful road to go down. In the end, every parent hopes for the best out of their kids.
In the end…
I’m proud of my own kids. They turned out to be good adults. And they were willing to own up to their mistakes they made in their adult lives and turn them around.
One of them lives with me. I get to see what she goes through on a daily basis with her own children.
She has accomplished a great deal with the kids and I am proud of her. She is a good mother. I don’t always agree with how she handles things. In the end, they aren’t my kids. I trust that she knows what is best for her own children.
So. I try to stay out of the way…unless I hear her screaming for help, .
There is a gold rule in this household:
if momma ain’t happy, no one is happy.
But if grandma ain’t happy, RUN!