Sunday, June 28, 2020

Water-cannon love

Language is a slippery and imprecise thing. Unfortunately, most of us think in "language". It is how we encapsulate our thoughts and mentally manipulate them. It can take us strange places.

Consider the statement "A parent's primary job is to love their child"

Hardly seems radical, right?

The problem with that bit of boiler-plate is that "love" can be a verb with the vigor of water-cannon or it can be a passive emotion like a cat basking in a sunny window. Our thought processes rarely specify which kind of "love" the advice refers to.

Suppose your child is young....maybe three or four years old. As a traditional parent you would have your child do some minor chore before receiving any treat. First the work, then the paycheck. As the child gets older the chores/responsibilities increase commensurate with the privileges. Those parents raise their children in a way that the transition to "the world" is not a shock.

To more permissive parents, that seems coldly transactional; it does not seem "loving". Those parents are filled with the warm glow of "lovin' feeling" when they sprinkling treats on their child for no overt reason at all. Those parents conflate "I feel the euphoria I associate with love" with "I acted in a loving way that placed the other person's needs above my own".

One child grows up to be industrious, gets good grades, learns useful skills, and earns a good job.

The other child grows up to feeling entitled. He gets passing grades, a diploma that suggests he has skills and he is given a good job. He becomes angry, often times violent, when he is denied what he is sure he is entitled to.

There was a time when the entitled kid's nose ran into the rock of reality. His mommy and daddy lied to him. He was not special. He did not deserve all good things "just because". He was not going to get a raise just because everybody else did.

The rock-of-reality keeps getting pushed back. The brat is humored and mollycoddled. The business reality of carrying deadwood on the payroll is borne by the other employees. The enterprise does not thrive. In our current environment, if the the business is too-big-to-fail it is given protected status. That shifts the cost of failure-to-thrive onto the consumers (poorer choices, higher costs) and taxpayers (more taxes) and savers (debauched currency as money is printed to keep foundering businesses and governments afloat).

Diluting costs does not make them disappear. Bundling risks does not make risks disappear. Rather, bundling not-alike-risks together poisons otherwise sound employees, businesses and governments with that risk. If you are going to get chlamydia anyway, why shouldn't you have the fun as well?

The parents who stunted their child's development have been replaced by the politician who wants to stay in office and the SJW who will never have children but craves the warm-rosy-glow of being a part-time parent with no responsibilities.

What can we do?
Keep parenting in the "Love as a water-cannon" way.

Ever seen seeds push through black-top? It can happen. The crew doesn't scrape away all the top soil. They black-top over seeds or tree roots.

Nature can be temporarily denied but she always wins in the end. It is the nature of humans to grow into adults. Some kids will wake up, perhaps when there are no other productive adults around to paper-over their deficiencies.

They will scramble around looking for better models. We can be that model.

It might be our kids. It might be our grandkids. It might be somebody else's grandkids.

Run your best race. Fight your best fight. Pray that you are never on TV.

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