Blog Entry

The future and our children

Posted on: March 4, 2008 10:34 am

Odd thoughts while wondering whatever happened to Hal Greer:

Every generation seems to live with the same dilemma:

How did this upcoming generation of young people miss the mark so far? Why are they so much worse than we were? Our parents felt that way about us, and their parents felt that way about them.

Now we transfer that to the current generation.

The truth is, this generation is smarter than we've ever been. They are more worldly. Unfortunately, they are forced to grow up much younger than we had to.

We've polarized them. They either believe strongly that there is a God of the universe, or they don't. Many come from homes with incomplete parental influence. Male role models/father figures are in scarce supply for a number of reasons.

In spite of all this, this current group of young people give me hope. You see, they are smarter than we are. All we can provide them is wisdom. My business mentor taught me that good judgement comes from excercising lots of bad judgement. Therefore, he who screws up the most AND learns from it, wins. Wisdom comes from living life, not reading books or looking up stuff on the internet.

Our issue is, we don't let our kids screw up. We do it for them. While they are smarter, they don't have to do anything. Parents are always trying to make sure they give the kids all the advantages they never had as a child. The biggest advantage they can give them is the ability to work their way out of a problem without the parents solving it. Kids will fall short of the mark, and the parent will cry, " But I gave them everything they wanted". The problem is we give them too much of what they want, and not enough of what they need. The one thing we all need is the tough love approach of working out a problem we got ourselves into.

Understand this: the child will never appreciate that lesson. Not at the moment. It isn't until they live some life that they will appreciate you allowing them to struggle. Struggle = stress. Stress = growth. Nothing grows in the absence of stress. Our job isn't to make our children happy. Our job is to raise them. Unfortunately, we fail them most of the time. Happiness is a byproduct of how we live our life. We are not promised happiness, just the pursuit of happiness.

I've always operated by several life principles concerning young people.

  • Kids are not afforded the constitutional right to the presumption of innocence.  Kids are guilty until proven innocent. This serves them well, unless you are trying to raise a world class liar. They will push you as far as possible. If your child tells you a teacher did something to them at school, they are lying. Of course, this is only 98% true, but calling it early will keep you from having to distinguish between fact and fiction when the rubber meets the road in the adolescent years. Partner with the educators. You will be amazed how quickly your child will stop playing the game and get to work when they realize they can't play you and the teacher against each other.
  • Kids will do what is expected of them, no more and no less.   If you expect nothing, you will get it. If you expect great things, you will get it. It is a self fulfilling prophecy. How many parents raise their kids telling them that they will amount to nothing, then be able to say "I told you so" as they are marched off to jail? Expect great things from you kids, and celebrate the attempt to reach that lofty goal.
  • An explanation is not an excuse.   They can explain until they are blue in the face why they don't get their stuff done, but it does not excuse it. To accept less totally goes against helping them achieve their potential.

I am in an environment daily with high school aged kids. I've never met a kid yet who wishes to be a failure. My role in their life is to show them that they must work hard to get above the 'average' line of life. It all comes down to high expectations, genuine caring about them as people and consequences for actions.

Our future is in great if we'll just do our job of nurturing it.

Take care!

Category: General
Tags: kids, Parenting

Since: Dec 18, 2006
Posted on: March 27, 2008 10:39 am

The future and our children

Great blog Unitas

Our kids definately need us to be an example to them. Most of the time what they see their parents doing they want to follow. That is why we must carry ourselves in the correct manner, and teach them the correct morals. Our kids are our future.

Unitas, your blogs are very good, and I can see that you have quite a bit of wisdom. Keep it going. I look forward to reading them.

Since: Sep 27, 2006
Posted on: March 5, 2008 11:13 am

The future and our children

It's funny that you say that, jcvg.

I think every generation wants their kids to have it better than they did. With that said, every generation has something in common. Regardless of how great of a job the parents did, every kid must 'overcome' their upbringing.

We are flawed people. We make mistakes.

Just last weekend, I was talking with my son, daughter-in-law and a few others. They are expecting their first child in June. He told everyone that he wanted to be a better dad than I was. Everyone looked at him with shock that he would say this in front of me. He then turned to me and said, "He (referring to me) wants that for me, too."

It was a proud moment for me. I've always told my kids that I want them to be the best of me and their mother. Discard the rest. If they do that, they will be better parents than we were.

All he was doing is repeat what I taught him. I wasn't offended, I was delighted.

Take care.

Since: Sep 13, 2007
Posted on: March 5, 2008 9:45 am

The future and our children

Something just popped into my head.  At the moment, it seems pretty good - hopefully it comes out the way I'm thinking it.

You're right, our kids will not learn from our mistakes.  At the time they most need to listen to what we say, they will think we are old and lame and that they know more than we do.

But we can learn from our parents mistakes.  Not the ones they made when they were teenagers/young adults, but the ones they made as parents.  I can think of quite a few things that could've and should've been done differently when I was growing up  - mistakes that I won't make as a parent.  That is how, hopefully, I can lay the stronger foundation that will help keep my kids on the right path.

Since: Sep 13, 2007
Posted on: March 5, 2008 9:31 am

The future and our children

True.  They'll definitely make mistakes.  There will be a time when they think they know more than we do (remember how much of a punk you were when you were 15?)

But I think we can to some extent minimize the mistakes they make if we lay the proper foundation when they are young and don't tolerate the extreme behavior as they hit the teenage years.  Your experience with your son getting involved in the illegal supply trade is a perfect example.  Certain things can't be tolerated.  You handled it the right way and he came out of it better for the experience.  I think too many parents these days look the other way.  They want to be the "cool" parent, the pal; not the disciplinarian that kids (especially teenagers) need.

Great thread, Unitas.  People my age who will be having kids soon need to think about these things, prepare, and have a plan.  Thanks.


Since: Sep 27, 2006
Posted on: March 5, 2008 9:14 am

The future and our children

The problem is, nobody learns from someone else's mistake.

If they did, there would have been one war fought in the history of mankind. War rarely solves anything, yet we continue to do it.

All we can do is give our kids a good baseline of knowledge and values. We have to act them out. Part of the problem is that we spew value based stuff with our mouth, then do something exactly opposite with our actions. While they learn some by what we say, they learn most by what we do.

To try to prevent them from making the same mistakes you make is futile. Just be there to help them stand up after making the mistake, and love them in spite of it.

When they see the unconditional love, they'll begin to appreciate all the lessons you've tried to teach them. While you can try to instil values, the value base must be established by the individual. You can't do that for them or to them. They must do that for themselves. That begins to happen as they suffer consequences for actions.

Take care

Since: Sep 13, 2007
Posted on: March 5, 2008 8:48 am

The future and our children

I think one of the toughest things, and something I'm not looking forward to when I have kds in a few years, is how normal disfunctional behavior has become.

How can we convince our kids to stay away from drugs, take it easy on the drinking, have some self respect and not constantly screw around, when everyone else is telling them the opposite and telling them its perfectly fine to get wasted, do drugs, and go home with anyone that seems attractvie at that particular moment?

The message is there for teens and young adults with shows like Gray's Anatomy where people hop into bed the second they "feel something" - nevermind the fact that they are married to or involved with other people.  A newer show called Gossip Girl is about high school kids - most of whom are slutty, selfish, and manipulative.  Its scary the influence that could have on the pre-teens its marketed to. 

The funny thing about this, though, is that I was absolutely no saint when I was a teenager and young adult.  These days I sound like such a grumpy old man.  I just don't want my kids to make the same mistakes I did.  I want my son to treat women with more respect than I did and not waste so much time drinking and partying.  When I look back, I see a lot of missed opportunities and wasted years.  I'd like to instill the values in my kids that will prevent the same thing from happening to them.

Since: Sep 27, 2006
Posted on: March 5, 2008 7:42 am

The future and our children


Good luck with your recovery.

I'm not able to speak to the mind and intellect of women, but I can assure you that most males are idiots from the age of 15 until 24-30. The only remedy is a lot of tough love and allowing the issues they deal with to take their course.

One of my sons was involved in 'marketing' illegal substances his senior year in high school. His older brother alerted me to the seriousness of the situation. After consulting with friends (one of whom was the head of our city's drug enforcement agency), I realized I had to confront him. He was 3 weeks short of his 18th birthday.

I informed him that he had 48 hours to break his association with his 'people' or I would turn him in to the police along with any other names I knew. He told me that if I did that, he was 'a dead man walking'. I told him he was a dead man walking anyway. I also knew if he walked away and didn't rat anyone out, he wouldn't have much trouble with the boys.

He walked away, and they left him alone. Two years later, his best friend at the time, who didn't walk away, was dead.

On my sons 22nd birthday, we were out fishing. He told me thanks. He said he probably wouldn't have been alive had I not intervened.

Sometimes we don't always know what to do....but doing nothing can never be an option.

Take care.

Since: Oct 2, 2006
Posted on: March 5, 2008 2:23 am

The future and our children

damn,you guy's are good! to be able to xpress youselves the way you do impresses the hell out of me. you must xcuse my typing, am going one handed at the moment. had to have a couple fingers re-attached due to a mill mishap. the vicadins' and IC Light r now starting to take effect. LMFAO! at the moment i feel i've failed my son. tru, he's in his 1st year of college BUT the way he's acting and his attitude is driving me nut's. i relize he's at a stage of his life where he's growing into a man but i feel he's going about it too fast. lotta conflict. as i look back comparing him to me at the same stages' in our lifes he is actually a saint. at his age i was in NAM, he's in college. maybe i'm envious but also glad that he isn't in the situation i was in. wow i just stopped and re-read what i just wrote and i definitely have to stop. too much self-medicating. so i'll raise this ICLight to you and bid you good nite.

Since: Sep 27, 2006
Posted on: March 4, 2008 5:04 pm

The future and our children

Thanks momluvs...

I really tire of people speaking of young people so negatively. I am blessed to vividly remember just how big of an idiot I was.

Of course, some will contend that I should have replaced 'was' with 'am'.

Take care

Since: Sep 9, 2006
Posted on: March 4, 2008 4:24 pm

The future and our children

We have to let our kids "skin their knees" and take the bumps.  We do them a disservice when we try to protect them too much.  Not doing so tends to hurt their ability to become independent and responsible when they become adults. 

Another great blog Unitas.

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