Don’t Blame a Selfish Generation on the School System (or the Government)

Sometimes a post or a comment can trigger a string of thoughts. Often I just ponder them throughout the day, but, once in a while – if I have the time to sit down and write – a new blog post is written. A few months ago, I noticed a paragraph that got posted a few times on my feed by different people and so even though I often skip long status updates, I ended up reading this one through many times. And each time I read it I thought, hmmm…it’s very interesting how whoever wrote this felt the need to both write off an entire generation of people and blame the government for making them that way.

Here’s the post:

R.I.P. Canada You are too soft. You raised the cost of living so high that both parents are always at work, rather than spending time with their children. You took authority out of schools. Parents were told ‘No you can’t discipline your kids’. Well, Canada You shall reap what you sow, and we have lost a percentage of next generation adults as the soft approach turned them into rude, selfish, disrespectful humans who have no respect for people, property or authority…

(Ok I deleted a big section of this long-winded rant, but I left the conclusion for you 😜)….

Things need to change! Copy & paste if you have the guts too!!!”

Now, I would agree with some of the thoughts behind the post, but today I’m not writing about politics or my concerns about our current government’s shortcomings. Today I want to address a FAR more important issue that’s damaging households and families in every background and social status across our Country.

Let me start off by saying this:

Fellow parents, it is not the governments fault or the school system’s fault if our children turn out to be selfish, disrespectful and rude. It’s OURS. If all our children are really turning out that bad, we just have to look in the mirror to see who’s really at fault.

I hear again and again that “both parents HAVE to work in order to survive these days” and I have to tell you, in the most respectful way possible, that this simply isn’t true!

I got pregnant as a teenager. I got married at 18. My husband was making only $24,000 a year when our first son was born. And you know what? We have been living off of one income for the past 12.5 years.

Was it easy? No. No it wasn’t.

What teenager wants to go from living in a wealthy home in a nice neighbourhood, to living in a mouse infested trailer in the trailer court? What woman (or man) wants to be stuck at home all day with a baby because there’s no money for a second vehicle? What teenage new mother wants to stop wearing makeup and buying new clothes because she can only afford the used ones? Or go without internet, satellite, or a smartphone (gasp!) and settle instead for a landline.

Not very many – I assure you. Not very many are willing. But don’t tell me it’s not possible! I’ve lived it.

But here’s the thing: my baby boy couldn’t care less whether he was laying on designer sheets, in a fancy house, with a well decorated nursery – or a plain white sheet, in a used crib, in a trailer.

All that mattered to him was that he was being loved and tenderly cared for.

Now don’t get me wrong….I’m NOT saying you need to homeschool or stay at home and live on one income to raise good children. But you do need time. And it’s not the governments fault that we haven’t made time for our kids.

It’s our own busy lives that do that.

If us parents would be really honest with ourselves, all that stuff we buy for “them” is really not for them at all!

It’s for us.

The fancy themed bedrooms with matching decor, the name brand outfits bought for that perfect photo shoot, the outrageous Pinterest birthday parties, with the perfectly decorated cakes (as I gulp…guilty over here 🙋🏼‍♀️) …all these things never were really for them in the first place. They were for us. To boost our egos. To make up for what we fear we lack. Social Media and Pinterest have only fueled this struggle for parents because deep down we want our kids to have the best childhood! We really do!

Yet, I look at so many children and do you know what I see? Emptiness. Sadness. Disconnectedness. The result of parents not giving them what they deeply wanted and needed all along.

Parents: All your children want is YOU! From day one. This is why the new fancy toy set you just bought for them remains in the corner a few days (or hours) later while they whine and cry at your feet…they didn’t really want it in the first place. They just want YOU!!

Twelve years have gone by. My husband went back to school for a college degree and got a job in a field he loves. Four more kids have been added to our home. My oldest boy is in grade 7 and has been in the public school system now for the past couple years. My husband is making a lot more and we are living in my dream home in the country. But we still are making “sacrifices” so that I can stay home. And somehow, looking at the relationship that we have with our kids, I no longer see them as sacrifices. I willingly give up a finished basement, a shiny new vehicle, or a perfectly manicured yard to finish raising my children well – to have them feel safe and loved and connected. To have time to teach them to work hard, to volunteer, to cook and clean.

And I don’t worry about the negative affect of the school systems policies, because I’ve done the hard work at home. No matter what happened at school, I know my boy can come home and talk about it with me, feeling safe and loved. It wasn’t up to the school to raise him.  It wasn’t up to his coaches to teach him respect, or up to his Sunday school teachers to teach him about God and morals. It was my job! And unfortunately not all parents understand this!

Parenting is a hard, draining, often uncertain and lifelong commitment. It’s a parents job to teach respect and morals. And in Canada we still have so many opportunities and freedoms to do so! You know the best way to change your country? It’s not simply changing the government. It’s raising the next generation to be confident, caring, compassionate, hardworking individuals who believe that their most important job in life isn’t the one that pays them to be there, but rather their responsibility to the lives around them.

You want to change Canada? Then do!

But don’t try to change it by copying and pasting some whiny rant against the government. Change it, one person at a time, by taking responsibility for what’s happening in your own home.

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Quiet Blogging

Yesterday I was at a birthday party and someone commented to me that they missed reading my blog posts and asked if I was still writing at all. I replied that I am absolutely still writing, I’m just not posting it.

I’ve been writing, but I’ve been doing it quietly. Much of my silence has to do with time and my former misuse of it. Some of it has to do with being tired of conflict and negative feedback.

Writers have feelings. GASP! I said it. And although I don’t expect everyone to agree with everything I have to say, I don’t need to be told every time I’m disagreed with. And it was becoming an issue, because let’s face it, usually we don’t give our feedback to people unless they have upset us in some way.

So I have climbed back into a writing shell. For now. Until I can find some way of writing without having to get so emotionally involved.

But there’s always more to the story…

I’m also not OK with wasting hours a day on my phone anymore. I’m not OK with spending so much time writing articles that get read by a few dozen and all too quickly forgotten. And I’ve realized that I’m far more content, patient, productive, alert and relaxed when I’m off social media. Simply put I’m a better parent when I’m not on Facebook.

I love socializing. Part of this contributes to my up-and-down involvement on social media. I’ve quit Facebook before, re-joined, only to quit again, re-join again… You get the picture – it gets old very fast. This time unlike the others, my exit from Instagram and Facebook was silent. No warning, no sappy post about my intentions or convictions. I just…left. I didn’t care to make a big deal about it. I didn’t care to get any attention because of it. And just like all the other times, I really felt so much relief after I made my decision. The only difference was that I actually deleted my account this time.

This time it’s for good.

Since quitting, I have had so much joy. I don’t ever wonder what’s going on in the internet world. I mean, I DO wonder about people – but then again, if I really care, I can call or text. It’s not like I’m moving to a deserted island with no communication to the outside world…

Please don’t misunderstand, in no way do I think all need to follow in my footsteps. Facebook is a tool, neither good nor bad, but as all tools it can be misused. And I was mostly misusing it.

I spent time reading articles on some random persons vacation plans rather than doing dishes.

I browsed the comment sections for hours, reading arguments of people I didn’t even know and scrolling through endless debates, only to get up in a worse mood than when I sat down to “rest”.

I told my kiddos to “just wait, I’m doing something important” while I posted a carefully worded paragraph about what God’s teaching me, when really I should be teaching my kids (they’re homeschooled).

Then I proceed to check for likes and comments every five minutes for the next 2 days. Sound at all familiar? So I quit it. And my parenting has gotten better.

Whoever is missing out from my absence online can be rest assured that my family is gaining from my presence.

There are people I miss when I think of Facebookland. I could name quite of few of them. But the one thing they all have in common is that I never really knew them before joining Facebook. And they never really knew me. If if there was a hint of friendship forming, there were no attempts by either of us to connect in real life.

One thing that has become abundantly clear after leaving Facebook is how I need real close friends in my life.

After a month of separation from the many people who I had come to know closely online, I’ve realized just how lonely I actually am without them. Facebook has done a tremendous job at masking how isolated our culture really is. So instead of longing to rejoin the online social world, my efforts have been channeled into finding these connections all around me.

Honestly it’s just so much more rewarding. I love being in the presence of real people.

So what’s to become of my blog?

I’ll continue to write, daily in fact – but I will not necessarily post my musings immediately. I will wait and sit on each post for a few days, proofreading cautiously, bringing authenticity, honesty, as well as sensitivity into my posts. I don’t want to be one who unnecessarily bulldozes down people and hurts them, even if what I have to say gets a larger reaction when delivered with a harder punch.

So keep on following, friends. I’m still here. Just quieter, gentler…and possibly a bit more joyful.