With all due respect to Merri and Steve (jamminalong) on RV Dreams forum, I will have to disagree a bit with a comment they made on a recent thread there, and kindly allow me to explain. I do not believe that anything they said was intended to be derogatory, nor do I believe that their comment does not lack merit. It is simply that their comment made me consider what has happened to the condition of our families.
First, here is a link to the thread on which they commented:
I am 65 years old and grew up in the Oklahoma Panhandle. You don't find people much more independent than the folks out there. The earlier settlers had children and those children were expected to help the family by working on the farm. As time and generations progressed, things got somewhat easier for the families and the farms with the advent of more equipment with which to work the farms.
A couple of years ago, I had a conversation with our oldest son, the only one married and with children, and he told me that he and his wife believed that the priority for the family was the children. I disagreed with him, explaining that the priority is on the entire family. Just because a child has a "need" doesn't mean that the adults do without things, possibly leading to health issues, and then be unable to provide for the family.
In essence, no child is more important than the family as a whole. While it is natural for good parents to want to provide a lot for their children, I think it leads to a situation where the kids begin to believe that it is what they want that is important. This is not necessarily the fault of the parents. Sometimes the children get those ideas from their peers. (What? You only have a cell phone and not an I-Phone?)
Sadly, some areas of the country are worse than others about fostering a selfish attitude. To this day, children in the Oklahoma Panhandle grow up knowing that at some age, they will be expected to help work the farm. Most of them relish the thought, wanting to drive the tractor, until they see how many hours a week are needed to get the jobs done. But, in the end, they fully realize the importance of the help they provide. I think that gives them a better perspective on the importance of the family.
At what age do we quit providing for our kids? How long in life are we going to keep 4 bedroom homes just so the kids can still "sleep in their rooms?" At what point are we free to say that now we live for ourselves. A lot of people have worked for 50+ years and I feel they deserve something for themselves, especially since the children should be able to be independent and provide for themselves.
I hope this does not offend anyone. I am a firm believer in having strong families, but not families where some members try to hinder the others of their families. In the past, I've worked jobs where I was away from my family for day and weeks at a time. It was something I sacrificed to try to provide for my family. To this day, I think one of my sons disrespects me because I "wasn't there for him" and the other, oddly the younger one, shows me great respect.
So, did I fail the family by my absence? If my wife and youngest son recognize the sacrifices I made, should I worry that the older son doesn't? I don't. In our family, everyone but me holds a college degree. Everyone that has a degree worked for them and that has bolstered my pride in all three of them.
So, when considering our children of this day and age, it would be advisable for parents to make sure that the children know that the “family” comes first before any single individual of the family. If a child has serious health issues, then the family should work and sacrifice to help that child. But, if a child of a family admonishes a parent simply because that child is selfish, it is simply a wrong attitude and a wrong admonition.
OK. The old codger has spoken and demonstrated that the “reactionary” upbringing he had led to an “outdated” opinion. But, having seen the independence of a people who suffered much during the depression, the “Dirty Thirties” and the “Dust Bowl,” I’ve learned the lessons that they taught and those they demonstrated in the way they lived their lives.
I find it sad that the families of today have not had the chance to see the difficulties that were encountered, but also that those difficulties built steel into the fabric of those families.
Oh, heck! Why not say it….
It was the Hippies and that generation that helped foul up this society. I think morality, drugs, and attitudes changed drastically with that generation. Sadly, I was a part of it, being 18 years old in 1964, but I didn’t participate. While others went off to “find themselves,” I knew exactly who I was and where I was. I didn’t need drugs then (or now) because I am high on LIFE!