December
10
2007

Common Sense

For thousands of years
We’ve pulled it off. — Loosen up!
It’s just parenting.

Written by Captain Hops.

References: I’ve been thinking about this for a while, but I was finally inspired to write this haiku by Jay’s recent post on mothers (and fathers) getting together and enjoying a social drink while their children play safely together. I didn’t want to write this haiku (or go on this rant) because it shouldn’t be necessary. However, there seems to be a very vocal Guilt Industrial Complex out there that is hell bent on making parents feel awful about exposing their children to any type of reality or potentially difficult situation. They prey on fear and butcher the truth in their efforts to make other people conform to their puritanical beliefs.

Now, I grant them that raising good, healthy and responsible children is a noble goal. However I don’t think their methods really achieve that goal. In fact, I believe it is doing the opposite. They seem to think that anything that has the *potential* to cause harm or damage should be demonized, removed, and hidden away until they are adults. I believe it’s better to demonstrate the responsible way to use or enjoy something and warn of the dangers of using something in an improper or irresponsible manner. Teach a child (or anyone) how to tell the difference between good and bad, responsible and irresponsible, safe and dangerous and they will be able to use that skill their whole lives and in any number of situations. Dictate right and wrong and use guilt and fear to enforce your beliefs and you end up with a confused individual with no ability to safely navigate and enjoy our strange and wonderful world.

Notice I am drifting away from alcohol here. It just seems to me that society at large is expending great effort at attempting to remove all adversity and obstacles from our precious children’s lives rather than teaching them how to deal with adversity and obstacles in a responsible manner. It’s no longer anyone’s fault if they are unable to cope with choices in the modern world. It’s the fault of the person that put or left that choice in their way without giving them explicit instructions on what the “correct” answer is.

The thing is that people have been parenting for quite some time and the human race has managed to survive. It isn’t hard to teach responsibility and keep your children safe at the same time you are enjoying yourself. In fact demonstrating responsibility, safety and enjoyment is a much more productive educational tool than guilt, fear and lies. Loosen up. It’s just parenting.
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Thing of the Day: The Three-Martini Playdate: A Practical Guide to Happy Parenting or Three-Martini Family Vacation: A Field Guide to Intrepid Parenting

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Comments

  1. Captain,

    I like the post… and agree with the spirit of it. It is tough being a parent. I remember it being tough to be a kid too. In hindsight, I doubt that I’d be as good a person as I am had childhood not been tough. How we handle adversity is a large part of what defines our character in my book. We shouldn’t sterilize life to the point that our children never learn to live it. To do so is to do them a great disservice.

    This extends to my view of adult life in America as well. We have all kinds of social programs to bail out the “less fortunate” from every stupid thing that they might ever do in life. What kind of crap is that? If you have the view of raising kids that you have shown, then you and I would likely agree on a whole host of other things in the realm of politics and indeed, life in general.

    In short, I’m tired of being told by my government what I should drive, what I should eat, what I should drink, what gun (if any) I’m allowed to carry and a whole host of other issues on which I feel I’m perfectly capable of forming my own judgment. Adults must be allowed to make mistakes and learn from them just like kids do. If that is your philosophy (as it is mine) then you clearly must avoid and defeat liberalism like the plague that it is.

    /Dude’s rant

  2. Hey Dude,
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    I think there is a lot of common ground between us, but I don’t blame extreme liberals exclusively as you seem to do. I think there are plenty of people on both ends of the political spectrum chipping away at my freedoms.

    I like to think that I fall solidly in the center. I think it is dangerous when either side gets too powerful, numerous, or has simply been around too long. When that happens, I believe it is up to me to throw the bums out and shake things up.

    I suppose I have libertarian tendencies, but I don’t think there is any way to form a practical government with that philosophy. You need some rules, because there will always be someone trying to take more than their share.

    I don’t really mind the current system. In fact, I love gridlock in Congress. If both sides can’t compromise and deliver a watered down law that is balanced and ineffective, then I don’t want either side to pass anything.

    However, when power shifts over to one side or the other and one group starts passing a lot of laws without compromise and balance, it’s time to watch out and start building up the other side.

    I am going to get pounded for this next statement, but I generally feel that it takes longer for Democrats to threaten my rights because they are so disorganized and incompetent. Republicans are much better organized and therefore need to be thrown out at a much quicker pace. πŸ˜‰

    Ah… The life and mission of an independent.

    As long as everyone can keep their sense of humor and share a beer at the end of the day, I think the country will be okay.

    Cheers!

  3. Hello Captain,

    I don’t blame extreme liberals exclusively at all. In point of fact, many of the current crop of Republicans we have in DC seem to me to be just about as bad as Democrats in regard to giving away civil liberties and spending tax money willy-nilly with no regard for the debt being incurred in the process. I too consider myself an independent. Also like you, I have to recognize that libertarian philosophy is great but libertarian politics are unrealistic.

    I do have to disagree with you on this part though:

    “I generally feel that it takes longer for Democrats to threaten my rights because they are so disorganized and incompetent. Republicans are much better organized and therefore need to be thrown out at a much quicker pace.”

    We’ve been feeling the effects of Democrat control for much longer than we have the effects of Republican control. With that said, I think gridlock is a taxpayer and civil libertarian’s best friend:

    http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/dems-and-gop-deadlocked-as-adjournment-draws-near-2007-12-12.html

    When they fight, it gives you and I more time and money to sit back, write haiku, play music and drink beer without the undue interference of some gubmint bureaucrat with a bad combover. United we stand, but when they’re divided, we party!

    πŸ™‚

    Thanks Captain, and I’ll do my best to not get my beer and political blogs mixed up. It ain’t always easy though.

  4. Well, I guess if one reasonable independent beer drinker thinks the left is a little too strong and another reasonable independent beer drinker thinks the right is a little too strong, then things must be more balanced than they seem.

    Hey… I’ll drink to that. πŸ™‚

    Cheers!

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