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May 14, 2009


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I don't think it was so decisive that you got whacked in the mouth. What was decisive is that parents were around, a lot, other adults were around, and children weren't out of adult eye and ear shot very much. The best behaved children I've met were the only child surrounded by about ten adults. They had no chance to be anything BUT good, and it didn't take hard knocks. A lot of kids now spend a lot of their time learning from nobody but each other, and supervised by nobody but "the group." Surprise! Socializing a child takes total immersion. Because there were higher standards when children got a lot more adult presence, sheer insolence was so unheard of and off the wall that you were likely to get socked in the mouth. Modern kids would wonder what in the world this adult is upset about anyway.

I've seen a lot of kids who, if you tell them they owe respect to anyone, of any age, or that there are rules to follow, it simply doesn't compute. They're not being bad. They haven't a clue. Partly that is because in 1996, the government decided mom should go to work when the youngest child was two years old. Now, everyone is moaning about "why aren't the kids being supervised?" Because, mama is at work.

If we are honest about "the good old days," they weren't all that good, as Moms Mabley said in our good old days about HER good old days. Adults can be totally erratic and self-serving about what they sock a kid in the mouth for. That produces another kind of delinquent. But our culture doesn't really value children, not real live flesh and blood children who take twenty years to raise. If we did, we would make sure that parents can each work 20-30 hours a week and still afford a mortgage on a three bedroom house, so BOTH parents spend a good deal of time with the kids. Then we need to bring back gramndma.

Sorry to be so long-winded, but a sometime passenger on my paratransit route told me his grandmother in New York saw some boys jump an adult man, take his wallet, and were about to run off when she stepped out on the porch, firmly instructing them to return his wallet and wait right there while she called the police. They did exactly that. Why? "NOBODY messed with Miss Odetta!" We need more grandmothers like that.

You are so funny! I know what you mean!

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