Lies I Was Told

In the discussion on parenting styles, Mommy Wars (working moms vs. SAHM), twixter woes, and related topics, I thought I would list some of the lies I was told in my own generation ( tail-end of babyboomer). They went like this:

  • Don’t have more than two or three children
  • divorce is better for the kids than unhappy parents
  • You can’t afford more than two or three children
  • Making a home doesn’t count, having a stylish home base does
  • You are only as worthwhile as the paying job you hold
  • Being with children deadens your mind
  • You have power to mold your children contrary to any other factor
  • You will not be able to wait til they are in school!
  • You will have a life again as soon as your children are in another’s care
  • Your generation is different- and better
  • Old fashioned mores aren’t applicable anymore

Those were just the ones I grew up with, after becoming a Christian I took on a few more lies:

  • Children need discipline starting early- show them who is boss by making them “cry it out”( leaving them in the crib)
  • Your children should be exemplary examples of what you can do with them
  • They, and you, need to “act right” – the way the great WE deem best
  • Christian women who ‘work’ are better than Christian women who don’t
  • Volunteer for everything you can
  • Be at church every time the door opens
  • Don’t have so many children that it crimps your volunteer availability
  • Christians who dress right and dress well and who have children who do, are better
  • Women ought to shut up- especially you

The thing is, you have to wade through lies that don’t appear to be lies …everyone else is giving their lives to the same prospects…and you are all on one great lemming run together. Along the way are interventions of revelations, stop-and-view-the-results moments, harrowing experiences of seeing other people’s lives fall apart, and some honest looks at what your Bible really says; along with reading historical accounts of people and hearing speakers that found insights into alternatives. Supported with actual results.

But sadly, those last two examples are few, most is “live and learn”. It seems the norm for humans to go through phases of reassessment. In fact, maybe all these discussions on twixters? Maybe those are the reassessments of the thirty, forty and fifty somethings of today. Who are ready to give the very best five years of their lives to raising those ungrateful kids… and then feel they deserve a grand retirement with all the frills as compensation. Like their moms and dads received.

Twixters?

But, you know, life as we have known it in the past couple decades seems like an unusual blip on the history of the generations being responsible for and to each other. There is so much out of balance that the corrections look like they will be very harsh. I hope not, but I think that it will take more honesty than the present discussion has given forth. It will take more than snarky Simonisms, tongue-clucking, and slick commentary.

Perhaps it will take a social valor we find uncommon, in finding the course and staying true- with all the sacrifice that means for our own little kingdoms and fairy tale castles in the air. I am not sure we have the heart for it, to tell the truth.

Our lies have made us so comfortable….not unlike our kids……

Twixter : Yuppy Hothouse Produce

I could be very wrong in this. Very wrong. But I was following the discussion on “Twixters” a bit and it occurred to me that it is an unlikely phenomenom for large families like mine. I think what got me started on this line of thought was this phrase “A flat screen television, it seems, takes priority over getting an apartment and growing up. Besides, I’ll bet Mom does a great load of laundry and makes a mean lasagna.” From Kay R. Daly

When you have a big family it soon becomes obvious that you can’t play housemaid to more than two or three slovenly pigs. Oops. I mean pampered princelings and princesses. It is not humanly possible…. without making sure that at some point it is over. But the Yuppy lifestyle of fawning parenting along with a schedule that would drive presidents mad doesn’t allow for time or will to suffer stand-offs or mistake-laden training sessions in growing up.

However, in saying that, I must also say this: I read through the little list of parenting tips by Daly and I don’t know if she has any children past pre-school age, but I have to beg to differ with her. Some of her advice was a bit sophomoric. If that is all it takes to raise kids right more of us would have had an easier time of it.

It isn’t all the parents fault.

Although some of it is. And that goes back to my submission that each generation buys into certain lies and needs to get themselves out of that entanglement and onto a proven track.

You see I have raised children that are now in that Twixter generation, and they have struggled, though only one to the point of returning home for a temporary retooling of life choices. My kids were raised with hard work and having to earn their own way. They have been putting themselves through those overpriced educations and they have been taking care of their own expenses…since age 18. I don’t completely recommend that, but if you had drill-sargent me as a mom you would’ve seen that as freedom and paradise, too.

I am not raising the younger children with as much vinegar stringency as those first five. I have had to work very hard to strengthen ties and give guidance to my older ones… they would have accepted it better if I had not bought into such silly ideas as “letting babies sleep through the night”, and “first time obey”. Not all children are so compliant; boy, I wish I could have put someone with that idea for just one week in my household in those years. I had children that would have broken that idea quickly. I have a better suggestion: get the parents on the same page about how those children should be trained, and what is expected. Start there.

Earliest mothering needs to be intuitively felt along…. and completely supported by those closest to the mom. That doesn’t happen as much as it should and that is how you raise tiny babies…. Babies need pure love and as much as you can muster.

The lie that women just need quality rather than quantity time with their children…that there can be absentee parents and well adjusted children- I don’t believe it. I haven’t seen it. There are families that are bound together in united work ethics or causes… those can work and things like that, but if you aren’t bonded in some way, don’t kid yourself. Humans of good character and ability do not just happen. They are nurtured, somehow, someway.

But back to the Twixters…. I maintain that if we will not take a good hard look at our own misconceptions we sure won’t do much to rectify theirs… I think Jesus said something along that line:

First remove the beam from your own eye…. and then you will be ready to remove the splinter from anothers.

From generation to generation some things don’t change….

Twixters?

Vodkapundit, Steve Green is bemoaning -albeit apologetically- Kids Today. And he has company in linked Ed Driscoll‘s blog.

They, drawing off a Times essay on Twixters feel that children are overindulged into staying immature and irresponsible. That societal shifts have created a new and mystic environment.

I say it is the same old dilemmas dressed in new clothes. And my! What a wardrobe of fantasy garments are available.

The challenge for each new generation is to decipher their particular form of cultural lies that they are asked to buy into; but other than that, the themes of finding meaning, purpose, and belonging are quite familiar in the story of man.

It is just that today’s generation has been told that there are no markers to the path, and they are trying like mad to blaze a trail for themselves with marred maps and missing map legends.

So in the laundry list of parental mistakes and society’s shifts, which are the real cause for the pile of work we find before us?

How does that list look? Mostly like questions.
Continue reading Twixters?