A Thanksgiving treat from the most delightful man on planet Earth.
Children now are like animals who have no natural predators left.
There it is at last! The one sentence I have been seeking in my head to describe the Trophy-gathering Generation more succinctly!
I think it was Mark Twain who said, “Beat your children once a day. If you don’t know what for, they will.”
But seriously in my 12 yrs of education by nuns, never was a child struck. The nuns had a much better weapon. Shame. There is no worse punishment than having to stand before your 49 other classmates and confess what you did, have the nun shame you, then call your Mom so you could go home and admit to shaming your family. You never make that mistake again. And you develop a conscience. I don’t think kids are taught to have consciences anymore. They are never wrong, it’s always someone else’s fault, it’s Unfair!!
To call my aunt Mattie a ball-o-fire was to seriously understate the issue. Her husband had lost his right arm - the whole arm - when it was literally yanked out of the socket in a 1930s mining accident. Back then, before the union was a thing, a one-armed miner was no longer useful and lost his job immediately. There were no jobs for women, but she and her husband, growing and selling produce, honey and living frugally, managed to send three boys to medical school and one into dentistry. Just before his death, Uncle Omer showed his bank book to my older brother: just over one million dollars. "And none of it came from my children: I earned every penny." Indeed he did.
Mattie kept her brains until her late 'nineties; even in her early 'nineties she was still a force of nature. One Thanksgiving she and several helpers had prepared a sumptuous dinner for the entire family - a lovely affair, with close to a dozen in attendance. We laughed and joked, everyone aware and respectful of how hard life had been for Aunt Matt and Uncle Omer and how successful they had been.
Except for one - her now-also elderly daughter, Mary, who soured the festivities several times by repeatedly cutting-off the old matriarch in mid-sentence and once or twice giving her the senile-old-lady-tut-tut and condescending smile.
Aunt Matt was far, far from senile - and not one to tolerate such things. After a final subtle insult from Mary, Aunt Matt slowly rose, walked around the table until she was squarely behind her now seventy-year-old daughter - and slapped her across the face.
... and then the classic line, which we still laugh about at every Thanksgiving dinner: "I'm still your mother, young lady!"
Young lady. Oh I love that. A Thanksgiving to remember.
I never thought the simple truth could make me laugh so hard! Like the author, I remember my mother clobbering me, and my demanding, “What was that for?”, to which my mother replied, “That was for nothing. Now think what’ll happen if you do something!”
As a mother of ten, including "the skinny, weird one" and "yes, I'm afraid she is," I smiled at this article.
No lost limbs, no felony records.
I think it’s inconceivable to boomer parents and younger that parents are not their kids’ friends. They are Parents. That means discipline, disappointment, being made to wait, punishment, teaching them they are not number one all the time, and telling they are acting like selfish little jerks. Tough but necessary lessons. I was called a mean Mom many a time. Never bothered me. My parents were way harder.
I live in Oregon where we legalized hard drugs and now have a “drug crisis.” Last month a state legislative committee invited various “experts” to come and share what they know. I’ve noticed that in this state when a subject is related to the social sciences, many of the experts are female.
For the first three hours of this four-hour meeting, all the experts were female. There is no more “Wait ’til your father gets home.” It’s all about wiping noses and tying shoelaces. That could sum up Oregon’s approach to dismantling its criminal justice system — and might have something to do with our “drug crisis.”
Our legislature needs to hear from an expert like David Sedaris. Instead, the chair of the state Senate Committee on Human Services is a fan of Paris Hilton.
You are not the boss of me. Anyone over 60 ever say that to their parents? Or their neighbors for that matter?
Kids are like puppies. They need training! What seems funny when they are little and cute, becomes a major issue when they are full size.
Consequences! If your actions have no consequences, you have no responsibility. If you are not responsible, you have no worth. Some of these youngsters are simply worthless.
Oh my goodness how BRILLIANT! I’d like to share a story. My son, at the age of maybe one year, was rolling around in his little wheeled walker, and started pulling on one of our heavy mahogany bar stools. I told him, forcefully, “NO” and pulled him away. My husband asked why I would scold him as he was too young to understand the word “no”. I told him, “well, he need to learn early what it means and now is as good a time as any.”
Thank you very much for hitting the nail on its head. I am still laughing.
Is it any wonder we have runny nose Harvard students spreading evil like the KKK?
Imagine the President of Harvard taking names and expelling all of them forever.
TFP is so precious.
When we went into a store, my step-mother would tell me to put my hands in my pockets and keep them there until we left. If I had picked up any object, even God couldn't have helped me.
Hear! Hear! Spot on commentary.
I have an interesting anecdote on this very subject:
A couple of months ago, I was in South Africa with my wife who's from there. She tracked down an old friend who is currently an elementary school teacher at a public school of limited means. It'd probably be considered impoverished by US standards. I accompanied my wife while she briefly met her friend to say hello. We stepped into the classroom, which was in session. Being the eve of a holiday, the ten year-old students were quietly engaged in light activity, perhaps an art project; our disruption was not unwelcome. Upon entering, the teacher instructed her class to greet us. They arose in unison and very politely recited, "Good morning, Mr and Mrs Makous! Welcome to our school." I was instantly tickled and heartened that children could be so well behaved. This, evidently, was in stark contrast to the situation widespread in many US schools, as DS so wittily describes.
Let me add South Africa to Japan as a model where discipline and manners still prevail.
David, you are amazing. And I think I can say this because you just nailed this. But if that cure for herpes isn’t out by next Monday, I’m going to have to edit this comment and it won’t be pretty!!!
Bad behavior in children is almost always the result of bad parenting. Bad parenting festers because it is often tolerated by others in the presence of said behavior. If a child is running around a restaurant and the manager refuses to take steps to put a stop to it then it is entirely within the rights of the irritated to get up and leave. If you decline to do this when the manager takes no action after you’ve asked for it to stop then you became a party to tolerating the child’s behavior. One problem with society today is that there is too much “cost shifting”: The “guilty” end up going cost free because the innocent are willing to pay it rather than put up a fuss. Next time cause a scene.