Parents Can't Get No Respect!

Have you noticed how hard it is to find well-mannered young folks with deference to authority?

On our daily walk, my wife and I were discussing some incidents we had observed. Most recently, she had been working with a group of preschoolers for which she is a volunteer reader. Certain members of her group repeatedly attempted to tell teachers what to do and when. They showed absolutely no patience for delayed gratification.  I don't think that's uncommon anymore.

Maybe it's an artifact of the modern two-earner family, where parenting is squeezed in-and-around job responsibilities and whatever social enjoyments young parents may be able to keep up.

Maybe it's an artifact of the modern one-parent household, where a single parent attempts to act as both, as well as maintain a job and a home.

But I've got another idea: maybe it's an artifact of modern humor!

When my kids were small, Brenda and I read to them constantly. One of their favorite series was The Berenstain Bears. I remember grouching that anytime the little bears needed a bad example, all they had to do was observe their dad. Papa Bear eternally exhibited heedless behavior which Mama then had to gently correct and thus show the young bears how they should behave, in situations ranging from keeping a tidy room to withholding negative judgments on bears who were not well-liked.  As a dad myself, I didn't like the use of Papa Bear as a frequent negative example.

Now, I've not studied the topic scientifically, but... after talking on our walk, I came back, unfolded the comics in today's paper (which in our town are a measly single page!), and wrote down this list of daily comic strips that routinely portray the family father as the clueless, shiftless, feckless, thoughtless, or silly one of the family: Blondie, Marvin, For Better or Worse, Dustin, Sally Forth, Baby Blues, Hagar the Horrible, Snuffy, and Zits. If you want to include mothers of that description, some of those and perhaps one or two more would qualify.

Why do we find parents (especially fathers) behaving badly (or uncool) funny?  When did that trend start?

And what are we teaching kids about having respect for their parents?


Trim the 1%

Incensed about the "1%?" Think they own too much of the money and don't pay enough tax? Stop paying them!

While certainly not accounting for all of the moneyed class, the sports stars you idolize are included in it. Their fortune is totally due to the voluntary transfer of wealth from the sports-consuming public to them. They play games you played for free as a kid. But through your purchase of tickets, branded merchandise, endorsed products, and cable TV coverage, they get billions every year.

It's so crazy that even non-players get rich. Dabo Swinney is something of a minor god here in northern SC (in spite of Clemson being squashed in the Orange Bowl). I haven't heard a word in the media regretting his salary and bonuses, which run somewhere around $2 million. Per. Year. Heck, the coach of Boise State just got a RAISE of $375K. The members of the State Board of Education in Idaho, who granted the raise, almost certainly don't make that kind of money themselves. Seven people could comfortably have been employed for that much money, but the Board regarded it as important to get Petersen up to $2 million. Like Swinney.

Need I point out that Swinney and Petersen coach teams of AMATEUR sportsmen?

As a very sad postscript to this story, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) put out a press release in January, 2011, grading Idaho's four public universities which the State Board oversees. Here is part:
It offers a Pass or Fail grade in four key areas: what a college education costs, how the universities are governed, what students are learning and whether the marketplace of ideas is vibrant.
Cost & Effectiveness: F
Governance and Board Accomplishments: Pass/Incomplete
General Education: F
Intellectual Diversity: F
The report finds:
• Undergraduate tuition and fees in the state of Idaho have been outpacing inflation in recent years and taking an increasing bite out of the average household’s income. Meanwhile, retention and graduation rates remain below national averages.
So, Idaho - you're getting failing grades on your colleges, but, by God, you're getting a hell of a football team! Hope you like the trade-off!

In the pros, you get people like Albert Haynesworth, whose $100 million contract made him think he could dictate the defensive scheme to his coach and ended up suspended for the season. Oh yeah, and this is the guy who in 2006 removed an opponent's helmet and stomped on his head.  Now, there's a winner of a 1-percenter! When pay scales are based on satisfying a player's ego as a top practitioner of his position, there is NO upper end except the amount the consuming public wants to pay for its sports addiction. And salving monster-size egos is not a reasonable method for income distribution.

Think your "Occupy" movement will transform matters? Your "Occupy Stadium/Arena" movement is part of the problem! Want to reform the 1%? Start by pushing sports idols out of it; if we can do that, then we'll go after the bankers!