Archive for December, 2013

It was by far the oddest setting she had ever experienced.  The room was full of Democrats and Republicans, energetic, idealistic youth, middle-aged mortgage holders with job woes and the calmer, slower elderly battling arthritis and other ailments. It was not her definition of an ideal party.

She watched from  her corner perch. People flowed through the kitchen, dropping off dishes full of treats as they exchanged hugs. Wine and conversation flourished. Music exploded from a nearby speaker as young cousins ran hand in hand. Doctors, Lawyers and Judges clinked glasses with waitresses, mechanics and store clerks. Drinks flowed, food disappeared and laughter grew. One by one the group migrated to the festive living room.

It was here people handed each other brightly wrapped packages. It was here they related stories of their past. It was here they passed out more hugs than gifts. It was here she realized that she was going to like the family she married into. It was here she discovered the values that shaped the man she loved. It was here that she realized she loved her new family.  It was here that her husband pulled her into the group for a hug. It was here that she realized the perfect gift didn’t have to come from a store. It was the ideal party.

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I vividly remember a Saturday afternoon, the summer of nineteen-sixty eight. A summer I was camping with my parents. I had done something wrong, I don’t remember what, but it was enough for my usually lenient mother to send me to the trailer, and bed as punishment. After what seemed like hours, my father came to talk to me. Feeling abused and unjustly treated, I wanted to tell my side of the story to my father. I also decided to include a new phrase I had  heard around the lake in my talk. When he told me how upset my mother was, I sat up and spouted my newly learned phrase.

“Well, she didn’t need to shit a brick over it!”  I did it! I pulled out an adult phrase showing my displeasure over their actions! I felt proud and strong. Then the hammer dropped, the room fell silent, my fathers face turned to stone. I shriveled in my skin, I had done something really bad! I spent the rest of the weekend in the trailer while my friends swam.

Years later, in the fun times known as the ’70’s, I sat in my usual place at the table during a family dinner. Feeling hip and grown up, I said, “pass the potatoes dude,” to my father. Things changed so fast I could hear the tinkle of ice as it shrouded the room. Dad slammed his fork on the table and mom fixed me in her stare. I was excused from the table and learned that I could call people dude at school and play, but NOT at home. I began to see the social rules, the morals and norms that kept families together. The values that helped us navigate the world.

Then came the children of our generation. We had already tested the water,  using lingo unique to our generation. Many of these new parents didn’t want to be “un-cool.” They let their kids be kids, speak anyway they wanted, with few boundaries. They continued to evolve, using new words and giving less respect to their parents and family. This has evolved into;

Suck it
This sucks
What ev
Meh
omg
Hate

We need to teach our kids  how to speak, with respect to themselves and others. We have to stop being “cool” and be parents. I don’t want my kid uttering the word “sucks” all day. I don’t want a “what ev” when I ask t hem to empty the trash. I want them to be able to converse, spell and build healthy adult relationships. It is up to us to give them the tools and discipline. We owe it to them to teach them how to speak, listen, learn, show respect, command respect and act. We can’t sit back and let their teenage, online communication form their adulthood. We need to have as much, if not more, input in their lives as social media.