Saturday, March 21, 2015

Chores? What's That? - Parents? What's That?

My wife and I were talking at breakfast this morning and she said to our youngest daughter to finish breakfast and to get ready to do her chores before she had to leave the house for a scheduled appointment. I said to my wife, the word "chores" sounds strange in 2015 and most children today probably do not even know what "chores" are. Certainly those of us born fifty or more years ago or who grew up in the south, or maybe even southern or mid western children today may know what chores are; but I am willing to bet that the average urban or suburban child for that matter, does not know what a "chore" is in 2015. I am saying that because too many parents are no longer willing to assign chores to their children and as a result of this our children are growing up with no work ethic or discipline, both of which they will need to cope in society. 

As an educator I work with children and parents every day and it would blow your mind if you were to hear some of the things coming out of the mouths of parents about how they cannot do anything with their own offspring. The blowing of your mind would only be surpassed by the level of disrespect shown to adults whether it is to their parents or teachers by these same children. To my horror and to some degree, I experience the same thing with my own children. My children have gotten away with murder in comparison to what me and my sister would have gotten away with had we tried those tricks with our parents. When I say that, I am not talking about the normal teenage pranks and rebellion experienced by most teens as they process through life; I am talking about the blatant disrespect both verbally and in actions that just would not have been tolerated thirty, forty or fifty years ago. I have had twelve year old students tell me as the principal of a school that he/she does not have to do anything that me or any teacher in the school asks him/her to do. I've had my own children tell me that "Somebody needs to tell me about myself." I've had my own children flat out refuse to do what they have been told, such as make up his/her bed, keep his/her room presentable or wash the dishes. So I am not just writing about "they" or "them," I am writing about my own experiences as well, with the only difference being, I have not experienced the magnitude of disrespect that I have seen others experience. Personally, I would not let it get to that level as it is bad enough that it is at the level that it is with me. 

So I decided to do a tiny bit of research on this thing called "Parent." I wanted to know how is "Parent" defined. I wanted to know if the definition included a job description? I wanted to know if the definition included a list of things a parent is to do and not do. So I looked up the word in the Merriam Webster online dictionary and it defined it as below:

What I learned after reading the definitions was that most of the parents that I come into contact with clearly fulfilled the "A" part of the definition but are struggling terribly with the "B" part. So I looked up the phraseology in the "B" part where it read "Brings Up" and learned the following:

It then became very clear to me where our problems lie with our children. Too many of us as parents are NOT educating, rearing, teaching, cultivating, developing, disciplining, forming, nourishing, nurturing, schooling, fostering and training our children. Far too many of us are looking for someone else to do these things for us, i.e. government, schools, churches, programs, childcare centers, day camps, recreation centers, babysitters, etc. etc. etc. I have seen far too many of us who truly exhibit behaviors that would have one believe that their responsibility stopped at the begetting and the bringing forth of the offspring, or in other words, in the delivery room.  Yes, this is a scathing commentary on our society today and why I hold the position that if we as parents do not start educating, rearing, teaching, cultivating, developing, disciplining, forming, nourishing, nurturing, schooling, fostering and training our children, society as we know it is going to fall just as the Roman Empire did. It cannot help but to fall because we will have a generation who will not know how to do anything other than to destroy, rant, rave, and throw temper tantrums when they don't get their way or what they want.

We are raising children who are in a fantasy land, who honestly believe that they are supposed to have and are entitled to having it their way and on their terms. They believe that if they kick, curse, scream and rebel enough, that they are supposed to get what they want. They believe that if they name-call and bully enough, that they are supposed to get their way. This is a fantasy land because society does not work like that. Rules, regulations and order are still in place despite what we see and for those who choose not to follow the rules, there are consequences awaiting them. Too many of our children today are not being taught to follow the rules and have made breaking them their norm and what's even sadder is that many parents condone the breaking of rules. No respect for authority or authority figures whatsoever. 

We are living in some sad days. I see it at home; I see it at work; I see it on the news around the world. As Malcolm X once said, "the chickens are going to come home to roost," and when they do, we are going to wish that we had educated, reared, taught, cultivated, developed, disciplined, formed, nourished, nurtured, schooled, fostered and trained the offspring we beget, better than what we have been doing. Unfortunately by then, it will be too late. Something to critically think about. 

I invite you to join me live each Saturday at 6:00 a.m. ET on and WP88.7 FM as I host The Reading Circle, a show developed with the hopes of increasing the audiences interest in reading. You are also invited to follow on Twitter @thinkcritical01 and @readingcircle01.  

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