By Craig Funston
A couple of Internet news clips grabbed my attention recently, and I want to share them with you. I’m sure you’ve seem them both.
It involves girls—the pro-active teen type, if you know what I mean—so if you feel the following material is for a more mature audience, maybe you should plug your ears.
A little background is in order here: These are very difficult times for parents these days, especially for those who feel a moral and ethical responsibility towards raising their children—kind of in the old fashioned way, you know. It seems so much is against parents—movies/DVDs, Internet, school, government, courts, and even the church, believe it or not.
Somewhere in recent decades we seem to have lost our way as a nation, especially in supporting and/or modelling sound parenting skills. Many good parents have been stripped of their authority and relieved of their leadership they once had–and still should have.
If “stripped and relieved” of their parental duties is too strong, let me try another angle: They have been discouraged from training and teaching, mentoring and monitoring, their own kids. Again, movies/DVDs, Internet, school, government, courts, and the church have usurped both the authority and leadership of parents, leaving them on the child-rearing sidelines.
Let me stick my neck out here: A society-raised child will never match what a parent-raised child can become. (Obviously, I’m referring strictly to good parents here. I am aware of the few exceptions where good homes can produce bad kids, and good kids can come out of bad homes.)
That’s quite a wordy background; sorry for that torrent, but it carefully sets up the rest of the column. You see, in these cases in the USA, two sets of families took a stand against the wanton behaviour of their daughters—and the news of the parents’ actions was presented as something good, right, and positive. I was both shocked and relieved at the response of both the courts and the public.
In the first case, a daughter sued her parents because they took a stand against her reckless, immoral lifestyle. They had cut off the girl’s allowance because of her behaviour, so she sued them. Interestingly enough, the court sided with the folks.
In the second case, a mom came across a young man in her home who was there at the invitation of her daughter. (And no, Maurice, they weren’t playing checkers in her bedroom.) Momma held the young man in question (allegedly eight years older than the teen) at bay with a gun until the cops arrived.
Beyond this feel-good story, the comment threads on the news blog were in support of the single mom (the court of popular opinion?), even suggesting they would have done even more to the young man–something about “rewarding” him where sun didn’t shine.
Parents have both the right and the responsibility to raise their children teaching them morals and ethics. Kids reared in these sorts of homes have a better chance of becoming moral and ethical citizens in any given society. We need more of this, not less. We must encourage this vision of parenthood.
Tragically, your average sit-com, classroom, magazine, and Internet tends to undermine this view.
I am not sure when the shift came into the Americas, whereby the home was supplanted as the bedrock of the culture—maybe 30 to 40 years ago. Working with a house metaphor, you might say that the home was once the foundation of the society; now it is a mere lawn ornament.
Because this column focuses more as a lighter commentary of life, I don’t feel I have the liberty to plummet the depths of cultural woes and trends. However, it doesn’t stop me; just slows me down.
Parents who have had their parental rights stripped from them—or worse, those who have willfully chosen to turn their kids over to an institution or two to raise them—are really victims in this lose-lose scenario. Kids need to be raised in loving, stable homes (two-parent or single-parent), where they learn to respect authority, serve others, and receive affirmation.
Without trying to over-simplify issues, kids raised by a good moral and ethical parent (or two) will have a positive impact on their culture. And we need to support every mother and/or father who are committed to doing this.
But if need be, cutting off someone’s allowance or pointing a rifle at someone’s belly could be a great back up plan.