Friday, January 23, 2015

When We Were Too Busy to Be Kept Busy

Once Our Minds Were Challenged
"Billy? Dinner time!" There was a one-time built-in "ignore" function on this particular command, but it was not worth much since the follow up command would come almost immediately on the heels of the first, and with more emphasis.

"BILLY, NOW!" would soon follow, which was acceptably countered with one simple and plaintive objection; "Five more minutes, PLEASE?", which was then met with a more emphatic overruling.

This was the era of my childhood, the time of innocence and equal mischief. The time when kids were left to explore the recesses of their own minds and to use their imaginations to entertain themselves, rather than being pre-programmed by the State and their parents so as not to become "bored". It was a time when we learned what worked and what didn't, what succeeded and what hurt.

It was the 1960's, and we who rarely went to university still managed to get jobs and become somewhat critical thinkers without the alleged benefit of advanced professors. In short, we who didn't require rigid structure, but rather the freedom of becoming acquainted with our own possibilities, and who "miraculously" found success despite the absence of the societal prescription of strict guidance and channeling, made it relatively unscathed.

Intellectuals today would sniff dismissively at the notion that we were busy, insisting that we were merely wasting our time, but the truth cannot be denied that the children of the time prior to 1970 were better equipped to deal with the world than their contemporary counterparts. The adults referred to our activities -- when not in school -- as playtime, and while it's true we were playing, we were very busy doing it. And we learned volumes of invaluable lessons.

So what is the primal need today for parents to plan every move their kids make?

Well, much of it is due to the pressures of the new society we've permitted our so-called public servants -- politicians -- to inflict upon us "for our own good". We're now told how we should raise our own children by people who have neglected theirs in the quest for their careers, and at the risk of losing them to the State. Didn't see that one coming, did you kids? My parents never imagined that by simply letting us walk home, alone, from anywhere would one day lead to them losing custody of us. The very notion of it was too ludicrous to ever consider.

Never mind that we walked home -- or rode our bicycles -- to and from anywhere. In summer time we were away from home all day, only knowing it was time to come home by the sun or, if we were in close proximity to home, by the sound of our mothers calling or our fathers whistling for us. Our days were filled with endless and ever new adventures created by our own imaginations, and we reveled in them. For instance, the photo at the top looks like a simple shipping container, but it used to be so much more after the contents were unpacked.

That box was a palace, it was a simple cabin, it was a locomotive, a plane or a submarine, to mention a few of the possibilities. And hold your hearts, people, because this next part is going to shock you...sometimes we cut ourselves on the edges we had cut. And we bled! Can you imagine the horror?

Give most eight-year-old's a large cardboard box today and they're liable to look at you incredulously as if to say, "What am I supposed to do with this"? There is no Xbox in there, no Netflix, and no internet service. Completely useless to a child today. (And besides, you're late for a dance recital or soccer practice).

We played baseball in any field we could get to and played football in the street. Yes! The street, made of hard asphalt and traversed by fast automobiles. We occasionally broke neighbors' windows, and got spanked by them first and then by our parents. But no one died and no one sued.

We did have little league baseball, but -- wait for it -- not everyone made the tryouts! We were the ones playing sandlot, and we probably had more fun doing it. And when a parent swung by where ever a game was being played to take one of us to an actual appointment, there was wailing at having to leave on such a beautiful day.

We actually performed work around the house on certain days too, so we could earn an allowance, which we learned how to spend wisely when we were out on an adventure and worked up an appetite. And when we ran out of money toward the end of the week, we'd make a pact with our friends to meet back at a designated spot after the dreaded trip home for lunch. And the only thing more excruciating than those moments was the inevitable one happened only hours later...the "call to dinner". That meant that if you were lucky, you had perhaps one more hour afterward to complete the days activities.

No, in the 60's, we were not bored, not by a long shot. We were way too busy to have our parents find something for us to do, and much too busy for something organized by adults who could barely remember what it was like to be us. We learned problem solving, how to deal with pain and adversity, and compassion.

Today, kids only learn to go where they are told next. Everything is laid out and scheduled for them, and they are shocked by the realities of life after school. Which is probably just the way the government, the Department of Education, and our new society designed it.

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Friday, January 9, 2015

Losing Paradise: From Land of the Free to the Home of the Besieged

"You call someplace Paradise,
kiss it goodbye". -- Eagles, The Last Resort.

It must be obvious to everyone by now that not all of us have thought of America as Paradise. I would disagree, but I am but one man. Certainly I have many allies across this great land, but we have been defeated by an insidious enemy that has captured the minds of our youth. When the young fall prey to these cretins, we lose all leverage. And yes, we have let it happen.

We have actually aided in our own demise, I might add. With all of our kvetching about how hard we work, how we are taken advantage of by our "evil" employers, and how we need more vacation time, we have fed the beast which would eventually devour us. And the real irony lies in the fact that we are never overworked. We, as Americans, thrive on work, and we always have. And yet we willingly gave our children over to the Jimmy Carter Federal Department of Education, and from there it was all downhill.

We gave our kids to the government, and we now wonder how our society has been turned on its ear. And just wait until the current crop of school kids reaches adulthood...let's see how Common Core reacts to the real world. That's just the latest travesty to affect our youth, but the damage goes back several decades.

It is natural for kids to rebel at a certain point in their lives. It is a rite of passage as we begin to mature and develop thoughts independent of our parents'; that we question the wisdom which for the first ten years of our lives we viewed as unassailable. But in the 1960's, the Progressive left found a way to keep the trajectory away from the love and wisdom of our parents going, and many of us ended up alienating those precious ties forever at the behest of evil individuals who cared nothing for us, but rather coveted our young minds. Then, with the passage of the Department of Education Organization Act, the move was on to indoctrinate our young at ever earlier ages.

This is the attack the left has long envisioned and cultivated, and it is almost a complete coup of the American way of life. We Baby Boomers can well remember our way of life as children, and many of us cling to that very notion, where we eventually realize the wisdom of our elders and form our lives and bonds from there.  But we are being marginalized by a society we never intended, and being overcome by children we no longer recognize. This may sound a bit like a "Stepford Wives" conspiracy, but there is more to this than mere fantasy.

In the 80's, my oldest daughter came to me seeking help with her math homework. I was delighted because math was my second strongest suit in school. What she presented to me was completely foreign, and devoid of any numbers whatsoever. The problems were something to the effect of, "If this is this, and that is that, and this is that, but that is not always this, what is the correct answer?"

I was stunned and demanded to know what this "math" was called. She told me it was called logic. I didn't complain to the school because it seemed like a new subject I was not aware of, but nothing sinister. Unlike Common Core today.

One must wonder what is behind the thought processes of Common Core? Why would our Federal schools want to make math so deliberately confusing? My theory is that while the schools teach our children all about climate dangers, tolerance for the intolerable, and the evils of their parents, they can pretend to be teaching math, too. Of course, this math will never help the kids balance a checkbook or make change at a cash register, but the schools don't plan on any of these kids working anyway. The schools claim to be preparing our kids for the world beyond formal education, claim to be trying to keep up with the rest of the world, but our kids will be hopelessly lost when they get out of school if "educators" have their way.

And so they will almost all of them be forced to rely on the government to care for them. We're not producing the future of America, we're facilitating her demise.

Now, couple all of this with current events, in which we see a President who refuses to protect our borders, our very sovereignty, and we do indeed risk losing the paradise our fore fathers bestowed upon us and for we have fought valiantly as one for centuries. There was a time in my youth when the very idea of losing America was anathema to everything I believed. Yet now, in the course of a few short decades, and in the immediate sense, the course of only 6 years, I have seen the end draw near at an accelerated pace.

The Left in this country is patient, so patient as to closely resemble the current scourge of radical Islam which now threatens us beyond my every imagination. And it seems that but for a minuscule portion of today's youth, only the Baby Boomers are left to understand this threat. And only we can plan for our defense, if only the young and able are prepared to listen to us. But with a Commander in Chief and a phalanx of maoist advisors decimating our military, the best of our young soldiers will be fighting in the trenches alongside the aging citizens when the time finally arrives.

Folks, it is time to start praying: praying for guidance, praying for strength, and praying for awakening among those who have facilitated this pending tragedy through a misguided attempt to make the world a better place. The world is not ours for which to care.

Our domain is the United States of America, and it is time we started believing in her again before she is gone.

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