A Lady's Ruminations

"Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right." -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Children Gone Wild

Great post by actress Jamie Lee Curtis over at Huff-Po. It is titled "Mom, It's Not Right". In it, Curtis questions how young women like Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, and Lindsay Lohan have gone so wrong, asks where they got the idea that rules don't apply to them, and wonders why their mothers allowed them to grow up believing such things. It is an excellent column and asks very important questions.

Here is a portion:

As the denouement of a really upsetting celebrity scandal came to its close, a tearful child pleaded to her mother... "Mom, it's not right."

It was a painful episode to watch. A young woman, begging her mother, the person who should have taught her right from wrong, to help her, to teach her the rules of life. It was a little too late. And so she wept as the Universe was bringing the teaching and settling the score.
We reap what we sow. Paris, Britney, and Lindsay behave the way they do because their parents did not raise them to be good, upstanding, moral people . . . and they have chosen to continue making bad choices.

I hope their mothers are worried sick and wondering, "What could I have done differently?" And our culture should be asking the same question too.

What we need to do is look long and hard at our part in all this. Where did our children get the message that the rules don't apply to them? And where did we, the Mothers, get the message that if we abdicate our responsibilities as Mothers, the Universe will do our job for us? And it does, but without any of the love and tenderness and compassion that we could have given, along with the lessons.
Our culture should be asking the same question. Have you noticed how absolutely rude and ill-mannered children are these days? And their parents laugh bad behavior off or think it is adorable. Even at church! I really can't stand it.

Too often I see (and hear) children, in public, behaving in a way I never behaved at my worst. They run around like they own the world, screaming, shouting, making noises, running into people, throwing things, hitting their parents or others, and more. What ever happened to teaching good manners?

There is a time and place for children to be noisy and enjoy themselves, but church (during Mass) is not a place for loud laughing, screaming, and talking. Most children do not naturally know how to be quiet or sit still; they must be taught these behaviors by their parents and other well-mannered adults. Unfortunately, from the looks of things, well-mannered adults (especially around my age of 26) are becoming scarce.

And because our culture has become so focused on forcing self-esteem, no one tells children that certain behaviors are bad or ill-mannered or rude. Everything goes.

That's not how I want to live. I don't want to have to sit patiently in church while that rude child makes so much noise I can't hear the homily and his mother laughs and doesn't do anything about it. I want to live in a society where, first of all, the child doesn't make noise, but sits quietly, and, failing that, the mother takes him out until he quiets down. Is that too much to ask?

And when these children grow up, they think the world of themselves. They can do no wrong and anyone who tells them to behave is a stick-in-the-mud or the one being rude. They don't make good students because they talk back, won't work on their assignments, and don't know how to sit still (and as a teacher I have first-hand experience of this!).

And when they get a little older, they think nothing about drinking and experimenting with drugs and sex. They don't even care about laws or possibly hurting or killing themselves or others. They just want to have a good time and do whatever they want, whenever they want to do it. And we end up with Paris Hiltons, Britneys and Lindsays.

Let's clean up our culture. Let's teach manners and personal responsibility. Let's be respectful, responsible, and right.

My previous post on Paris Hilton: It's So Right

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