We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Wednesday, February 28. 2018
I know that I have never made the most of these gifts, but have made a good life given circumstances, chance, opportunities, and life's exigencies. I had choices. I had college classmates die of drug overdoses. Character traits and talents are far more important in managing life than IQ. I am bright enough, but without special talents, and lacking in a high level of ambition. I just like to be content and to pursue my various interests in a serene environment.
Had I been born to a single crack-addicted mother in Baltimore, God knows where my life might have gone financially and otherwise. Likely not too well, because it was only external discipline which kept me on productive tracks. I needed that because, despite some innate curiosity, I am someone who would always prefer sports, fishing, hunting, etc. than sitting in a classroom or office. Since I do like to make money, I might have been a drug-dealer although, being me, I might have had conscience issues with that. Who knows?
Nothing in life is distributed fairly, especially parents and genetics. In my case, I credit my parents for making the efforts and sacrifices to set us kids up as best they could. Doing the same for my own offspring has been my main goal and satisfaction. At the same time, my life has been rich in many other non-financial ways.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 15:07 | Comments (11) | Trackbacks (0)
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I agree with you. For these reasons our government has a responsibility to stop being an enabler to fatherless families and chemical dependency. In the name of doing good we have done terribly bad. It is a disservice to all the families on welfare and families not on welfare but who are on the bottom rung of societies ladder that our government has mismanaged programs intended to help these very people. A substantial amount of welfare cash and benefits goes to alcohol, drugs and cigarettes. We would not want our own children and families to be treated like this so why should we allow the government to do this to the most needy? The entire welfare system/racket needs a complete overhaul, the sooner the better.
You are absolutely right. And I fully agree with the statement "I had parents who set a good example for responsibility, affection, discipline, and self-discipline. I was also advantaged by an IQ over 100 and a fully-functional, somewhat-athletic body." I believe my only child would say the same about me and her mother. Which brings me to a critical and personal observation...all those qualities can be, and are often wasted, if you do not find or choose the right spouse. It would have been easy for me to go off the rails had I not married the woman I did.
Very hard to build a rich life without a high-functioning partner.
You are so right. I know of one wonderful man whose wife freely acknowledges is a terrific husband. He was married before and while his first wife is a nice woman, they suffered significantly in how they raised their kids. He, of course, wanted rules, consequences (aka discipline). She was soft on the rules, and was willing to excuse things that should never have been excused. Guess who won?
It takes two like minded parents with moral fiber and a sense of direction.
I look around today at some of the adults and so many of the young people and it frightens me: their values and lifestyles and thinking patterns are so skewed, so dysfunctional. And it makes me weak in the knees a bit to think that the only reason I did not become like them is because I had parents and family who knew enough to tell me no, who cared enough to give me rules and structure, and loved me enough to teach me faith.
What a child doesn't receive he can seldom later give. ~P.D. James, Time to Be in Earnest
Key word, that : NO!
Ranks right up there with "I love you" and : "Let's read this book!"........as the most important things true parents (not the kids' "best friends") can say!
Oh and true parents strongly guide their kids toward peers who exhibit traits the parents want in their own kids.
While I was growing up, my mother spent absolutely no time wishing she could be friends with my sister or me. In fact, I think she went out of her way to make sure we viewed her as our elder. We were always just a little afraid of her. She never abused us but we knew she predictably would lay down the law in ways we might not foresee. We could count on it.
Now that I am in middle age, I realize that in a sense, she was our best friend for the simple reason that she put our needs and what was best for us first. Now my mom and sister and I talk every day, just like best friends! We laugh about it but my mother will tell anyone she raised kids so they would turn into adults she would like. I’m eternally grateful.
I didn't have any of those advantages except for a high IQ and a mother who loved us (but couldn't provide a stable, non-violent home--we were raised in a hippie environment circa Altamont, not Woodstock). Notwithstanding the fact that all 3 of my parents (mom/dad/stepdad) came from upper middle-class families by parents who made sure that they had good educations, etc., they didn't seem to believe that they had a responsibility to do the same for their own children. My anger about that(*) grew with the size of my own family, and propelled me to work at 150% capacity to provide for my kids' material needs, to be there for their homework and activities and emotional needs, to do things that frankly didn't make me the happiest (like continuing to live in a city I don't like and staying married to a leech of a husband I can't stand to look at, because kids need stability, not gallivanting around to a new school every year because Mom and/or Dad crave novelty) because that's what parents do.
If they have their own kids, it's my hope that they will pay these sacrifices forward and do right by them.
(*)Why have there been no memoirs by the children of hippies? I would read the heck out of them. I should probably write one.
A great scholar who fled to England during WWII (and whose writing are hence accessible to English speakers) describes free will as a battle zone - parents can determine where the child's free will begins, but not where it ends. Through selfish, immoral behavior one can lower the level at which free will operates in your life.
This is a pretty good paraphrase of his famous article about free will:
When two armies are locked in battle, the place where the struggle takes place is called the front line. This line is drawn at the place where the two forces meet. On either side, there is territory that belongs to that side and is thus not the location of battle. The front line moves and changes, but battle, generally speaking, occurs only where the two sides meet. Our moral choices can be thought of in a similar way. There are decisions that we have made in our lives so many times that they are no longer decisions. It is obvious to us that we will respond in particular ways to particular events. Those choices are within our territory. There are also choices we have never had to make and likely will never have to make. They are beyond the realm of our experience. They are firmly out of our territory. The place where these territories meet is the place of choice – bechirah. On the spectrum of what we know to be ethical and what we know to be unethical, we make choices only at the bechirah point. This is the point where our values come into conflict and thus the choices are not obvious. Each individual’s bechirah point is unique, and it moves as we grow and change. By recognizing the bechirah points in our lives, we are able to set our sights on expanding our moral territory and thus becoming better people."
The irony is that without discipline there really isn't any "self-fulfillment" and certainly little "empowerment"- as the original post says.
We saw many children of the 60s and 70s start out at a high level of "bechira" (choice) and then ride the gospel of "if it feels good, do it" and the giddy, fleeting joy of postmodern rebellion - down to a very low level of freely willed life.
Now many of their children are starting low and building themselves up through disciplined choice. My brother-in-law runs Jewish education programs for people in their 20s, and it is both inspiring and heartbreaking to watch some of these young people do their work, including gingerly testing the waters of trusting, committed relationships.
Privilege, you mean the work ethic? Makers vrs takers. Producers vrs rent seekers.
Concepts like self actualization, self discipline, fairness, loyalty (though not blind loyalty), valuing individual lives, integrity, rectitude, civic mindedness, reliability and accountability, courage, autonomy, problem solving, saving and postponement of gratification, being productive and contributing to the community and the economic pie. This privilege?