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Thursday, November 03, 2005

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‘Mean Society’ Complicates
Job of Good Parents
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This is definitely a dilemma. But for now? I am concentrating on teaching my daughter (and eventually my son) that IN OUR FAMILY we try to be good, caring, responsible, and honest people. And just because other kids act mean & naughty, doesn't mean she is allowed to. As she gets older I'll expand on the evils of the world...

I think about this topic from time-to-time when reading news articles. In addition to teaching values, I hope to encourage my daughter (at as early an age as is feasible) to volunteer her time and expertise to worthy causes, and more importantly, causes that exist because of greed or ignorance (the two issues which I see as causing most of the world's ills).

Grace and AJ: I wish folk with your sensibilities were running this world instead of those other jokers.

The question you pose is a timeless one.

I can imagine a young Jewish father transporting the wife and kids through desert and his son looking up at him and asking, "Daddy, why are we banished to this horrible place while Pharoah has a big house and plenty to eat?" The mines may be different for us but the minefield has always been there. Springsteen aptly summarized it when he sang "Well, sir, I guess there's just a meanness in this world."

Having said all that, Grace, AJ, and you articulate great ways to deal with it. I'd also like to put in a plug for organized religion, any organized religion. Organized religion ain't perfect (we're Catholics in Boston, beleive me, we know!) but I think it can help children to rely on faith when trying to make sense of life's harshness.

On a related note: Abercrombie and Fitch now sells t-shirts to girls with slogans emblazoned on the front such as: "who needs brains when you've got these?" and "if you can earn it, I can spend it." What the hell is wrong with that company? I suppose it's not enough for businesses to marginalize workers, they'd like to dehumanize our daughters and sons.

Pat, I love your Pharoah metaphor. As for Abercrombie and Fitch, I guess they are run by the Paroah's descendants.

I teach my kids the same things you do, and I also tell them that nice things happen to nice people. I hope they still believe that in ten years. The world wants to teach them something completely different.

It sure does.

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