“I missed my damn plane!” REALLY???

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By Kenneth Justice

God I hate my life!

~ I was sitting at an airport terminal on Friday and the mid-30ish woman sitting next to me was clearly in a bad mood,

Not having a good day?” I asked

Not at all!” she said, “I got to the Airport two hours before my flight was supposed to leave and after I went through security I figured I had plenty of time to sit and get a drink. So I had a couple cocktails, and then twenty minutes before my departure time I walked up to the gate and they told me that my plane had already left!

It seemed a tad bit strange to me that she missed her flight while she was sitting at the airport but as we talked longer it became apparent that she isn’t a regular traveler whatsoever. She was dressed in the typical yoga pants that so many women wear these days and had one of those circa-1980’s short-cropped hair cuts (think Madonna), “I teach spin class in Toledo, Ohio” she explained

Originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania she met a guy from Toledo ten years ago and her story sounded oh-so-familiar to a million other stories I’ve heard like it; her and the dude fell in love, he moved her from Philadelphia to Toledo, they had a couple children, fell out of love for a variety of reasons, and now she is divorced and stuck in a city that she doesn’t want to live in…..but she stays there so her children can finish out school and not feel uprooted from the only life they know.

I’ve only been officially divorced for less than a month and I’m still not used to this feeling. I feel like my entire life came to a halt and I’m starting all over….I’m nearly forty years old. It’s a strange feeling” she said

What stood out to me the most was the way she kept talking about Philadelphia and how much she missed her hometown….yet because of her children she had made the decision to stay in a place she hated.

It’s really tough because I associate so many bad things with living in Ohio; it took me away from my family and friends, and now with the divorce I feel as though I’m living in a hell hole” she said

In the past two months I’ve met a number of different people who’ve made major life decisions based on their children. The simple fact of the matter is that when you have ankle- biters it changes your life. Of course, nearly everyone I meet tells me that their children have made life better; but in the fast paced society we live in, it’s hard not to admit that children also complicate things.

The cost of raising children rises every year. The mere cost of gasoline being more than four times the price it was back in the 90’s has really hit our pocketbooks hard. After all, if you’re driving your child to school or to an extra-curricular activity, you’re paying a hell of a lot more than you would have paid twenty years ago.

Even worse is that it seems like Western Culture is becoming less-and-less child friendly. As computer technology, smart phones, and tablet computers begin to dominate every facet of our society; parents are spending less time in face-to-face connection with their children. A recent study found that parents who take their children out to eat in a public restaurant spend more time looking at their smart phone than they do looking little Johnny in the eyes.

As Western Culture becomes more disconnected in our interpersonal relationships I often wonder if the nuclear family is becoming nothing more than something we see in Norman Rockwell paintings; will we ever return to a time when families sit around the dinner table each evening? Will we ever return to a slower pace of life when parents sit out on the porch with their neighbors and watch the children play ball in the front yard?

I’m very sensitive about these questions because having traveled to Latin America quite a bit; I see a world South of the United States that is still clinging to a way-of-life that I only read about in storybooks. Latin America has held on to a level of community and connectivity that I am jealous of; they aren’t worried about scheduling friendships or setting up play dates. They live in communion and connectivity with their family and friends in a day-to-day organic way of life.

But of course, Latin America isn’t really at the forefront of shaping the world we live in. Fast paced Western Countries like the United States, Australia, and Great Britain are the ones setting the trends that the all the nations are adopting.

Just a few thoughts as I sipped my coffee this morning,

Kenneth

 

I met a lot of good people in St. Louis this past weekend and am very excited about arriving in Minneapolis this coming weekend! If you live in or near the Twin Cities I’d love to have coffee with you or even a beer! I’ll be at two coffee houses on Saturday or you can email me for more info.

 



Categories: Culture & Society

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77 replies

  1. Since having a kid, all of my decisions have revolved around what is best for him. He is my responsibility and it would be wrong not to take him into consideration. And boy oh boy has he made my life considerably more complicated – but I wouldn’t change it for anything!
    I’m also happy to report that when we go out, we spend more time interacting than we do on our phones 🙂

    Of course, he can be one room over and I’ll Tweet him instead of yelling for him or going back there! But, it’s more fun to send him pictures of cookies and treats and such 😉

    • Great comment Kate…I love that you spend more time interacting with him then with your phone, I understand that not everyone would agree with you and me on that, but that’s okay. I think it is good to put the phone down 🙂

  2. So this time I made it as far as:

    She was dressed in the typical yoga pants that so many women wear these days and had one of those circa-1980’s short-cropped hair cuts (think Madonna), “I teach spin class in Toledo, Ohio” she explained

    Had to giggle because I can’t believe the look is coming back.

    Children only add to the beauty of life’s messy canvas. Just pick’em up and go, I say, As long as mom or dad are stable they prosper anywhere.

    I used to live in St. Louis. Love that city!

    • St Louis was beautiful. I didn’t care for all the driving; there is no public transportation and without a car, its simply impossible to get around in that city!

  3. I agree. I’ve often envied the sense of community and family in Latin countries and may choose to move to one when I retire.

  4. Life definitely takes on a few more challenges with a child, but as any mommy I sure would tell you it is worth the rewards. There are many days though that I miss my sleep and being able to do simple things like running to the store without having a 20 minute battle with getting my toddler in the car. I have found myself guilty on engaging my smart phone while playing with my child. It is a bad habit that I am trying to break. Now when I come home, I throw my phone on the charger to try to keep the temptation away to use it. Unfortunately, with working and being a mom, it does seem to be the only way for me to keep in touch with the outside world. I can not tell you how hard it is trying to set up a simple dinner with a girlfriend or a play date. It seems almost impossible. And with friends with equally hectic family and work lives, even getting a live voice is virtually impossible. It is sad but true. I am in agreement though, that family time should be family time and that the technology should be stored away for later. I don’t want to miss a moment because I am staring at my phone.

  5. Kenneth – I can’t believe you would use South American society as an example of ‘a way-of-life that I only read about in storybooks Latin America has held on to a level of community and connectivity that I am jealous of’.
    Are you really suggesting that the USA and European countries should emulate them?
    According to many surveys, almost 45% of children in Latin America are ‘street children’. This could mean that they belong to families in desperate economic situations who send their children to seek work on the streets. Alternatively they are children who spend all of their time on the streets and do not have homes or contact with their families.They are street vendors, street workers, and street entertainers, as well as beggars and thieves. FORTY FIVE PERCENT
    In Brazil and several other South American countries street children are commonly viewed as threats to society, as thieves and criminals. In recent years, vigilante “death squads” have formed to rid society of street children by murdering them. There are even places in S.America where ‘bounties’ are paid for killing street kids.

    You may think that a bored,de-motivated child/teenager who hangs around the mall in the USA , and who has indolent, lackadaisical parents and lacks a sense of ‘belonging’ has a poorer life than that of a child in
    Latin America….I’m not at all sure you are right.

    • ^ I was thinking along the same lines, Hershcelian! Not a great comparison…

      Also, referring to children as ankle-biters…I get the humor but it places children on the floor with dogs. Children are not burdens to loving parents in any sense; financially or emotionally.

      And why so harsh on this mom who is doing what’s best for her children…critiquing her travel clothing, hair and describing her age as mid-30ish!

      I hope I never run into you or ‘star’ in your blog, sheesh!

    • Herschelian,

      I think we have to differentiate between poverty and socio-emotional health. Because I wrote and researched extensively on psychological health during my college years and compared industrialized western cultures like the United States and Great Britain versus countries like those found in Latin America.

      Its undeniable that there are higher rates of poverty in many Latin American countries; but statistically you’ll also find much lower rates of depression, andxiety and other psycho-emotional mood disorders among people in Latin America compared to the United States or Great Britain.

      So is there poverty and children living on the streets in Latin America; sure. But in my mind that is a different subject in relation to whether or not industrialized nations are experiencing a higher rate of disconnection between parents and their children.

    • I would have to agree with you on this Kenneth, I was born in El Salvador (Central America) however I have lived in Australia all my life, except for three years where I moved back to El Salvador in my mid 20s. I definitely found that there is poverty and crime and violence, however depression is something almost unheard of, people are so very close with their families, something I found hard to understand as growing up my family was not like that. Saying that Western countries have nothing to learn from Latin American countries is a very limited thought as they have, in my experience, higher familial bonds than what we are acustomed to in our “advanced” societies

    • Depression is real, but it can also be a luxury the poor cannot afford.

  6. Great blog! I was raised in Brazil, so I know exactly what you are talking about. My son was born here, but I do raise him the Brazilian way…and he loves it. He’s very well mannered, has age appropriate interests, does well in school and is popular with friends. We talk a lot too.

  7. Sometimes I think having a close family is a learned behavior, but then again I know some people who grew up in the same family and half the kids bolt out the door at their first opportunity to “escape” while the rest cling to routine family visits. If the value of family time is downplayed enough, even people who grew up in close knit families may not be able to stand firm against the message they perceive society is shouting at them. Parents who still do (they seem to be a dwindling trend) make decisions based on what is best for their kids may end up inadvertantly teaching their kids the opposite lesson. Kids who grow up knowing their parent(s) is/are unhappy may vow that they won’t live a life like that and could fail to grasp the lessons of self-sacrifice. They in turn could choose to be selfish parents and teach that trait to their children. Every action we take could be interpreted numerous different ways by other people, depending on their experiences. That is what makes life so tricky. I wish Western Culture would stop trying to fix things that weren’t broken and stick to cleaning up the messes it’s caused by the incessant need for profit. When money is valued over family, can society really succeed?

    • “when money is valued over family, can society really succeed”

      Of everything you wrote that closing sentence is especially powerful; I think we are at a point in western society where we are all coming to terms with that very reality which you are pointing out.

  8. Divorce is always messy, but she has the children and needs to be happy if she is going to do a good job of raising them. I say pick up and move back to Philadelphia. The children will adjust and adapt, and mom will be a happy parent.

    • I agree bamauthor.

      Children DO adjust and in general, make new friends quickly. On the other hand, some parents find it very hard indeed (when divorced or losing their partner to illness).

      The hardest thing must be when all your friends are married or in a permanent relationship. Just how do you meet someone new when your divorce.

      (I never recovered when my parents and us 3 siblings moved 49 years ago. I was shy, solitary and a bit of a geek so I never really made friends in the new location, but I still think a single parent should do what’s best for her/him as they are the example their children are going to follow).

    • Vicki,

      The level of openness in your comment is truly endearing. Divorce is such a difficult subject, often there are never any ‘good’ answers and all that people can do is make the best of a sad situation.

    • In many states you can’t just pick up and move the kids without the permission of the other parent or the permission of the court. That’s the case in Massachusetts. Just sayin that it isn’t always an option.

  9. It’d be nice to think we could find our way back (if it existed) to those oh so nostalgic Norman Rockwell paintings. Funny you mentioning how South America doesn’t “set the trends” in the world. That’s too bad, community-wise. The US lags far behind in the happiness department. The happiest people? Those who are part of close-knit communities. I do think it takes a village. Believe me, I live in the suburbs and it’s awful. Doesn’t help being divorced w/o children.

    Driving to get anywhere, people return smiles less than half the time, kids play-date and extracurricular activity-scheduled 7 days a week. Seriously, one of my oldest friends has her four kids scheduled for stuff 7 days a week. “They love it and are very happy,” she said. “Are you happy?” I asked. She didn’t respond. So I’m moving to the city, selling my car, finding work I like, and looking forward to finding a circle of friends or community feel where there is none here.

  10. Missed you in STL. Where were you?

  11. I am Latin American, and you are right, we do place and importance on family and friends. My son’s wife got very perplex when I took her cell phone away at the table. We are having a family meal and she can text her friends later. Raising children as a single parent may be very hard and we sometimes have to make sacrifices that we may not like, but to me the bottom line is we strive to give our children a better life than we had. We should not take the easy way out.

  12. Kids certainly do add a “complicated” aspect to life, but it is what makes life so great. Love my kiddos, and wouldn’t trade having them in my life.

    It’s a conscious decision to make family/community time. It’s hard work, and there are sacrifices, but it can be done. And without moving to Latin America. Living in south Texas, I see the influence of families of Mexican decent. We have begun to incorporate what we see into our family.

  13. Hi Kenneth! Having a child is a huge responsibility. One that is very expensive and time consuming, like you mentioned. Having a child isn’t for everyone and that’s what a lot of people don’t understand. Society puts a lot of pressure on every woman of a certain age to have children, whether they wan to or not and it shouldn’t be that way. A child is a blessing only if that child is wanted. Only if that child is going to be well cared for, loved and educated. I don’t think people should have children just because it’s expected of them. We’re over populated as it is. So if you don’t want one, don’t have one! If you feel your job or social life is more important than your child you should never have had him/her. Bottom line.

  14. “Even worse is that it seems like Western Culture is becoming less-and-less child friendly. As computer technology, smart phones, and tablet computers begin to dominate every facet of our society; parents are spending less time in face-to-face connection with their children.”

    Even before the new technology was available, parents were unable to connect with their children. The kids spend all their time in school while the parents both work jobs. The lack of free time to relate to children was already a problem, but cell phones and television made it worse.

  15. My first reaction: I’m glad it wasn’t YOU who missed your plane.

  16. There’s still a fair bit of connection here in the south of Andalucia. I can look out of my window most evenings and see the kids playing soccer on a rough pitch staked out by a neighbour setting two sets of goal posts in the ground. In the UK some council worker would come along with an order to take them down.

    Kids go out with their parents to the cafes and bars, but things are changing. As the fishermen lose their quotas, and living on the land no longer pays, kids drift towards the big cities, where US and mianstream European culture dominates. They listen to hip-hop and rock instead of flamenco, and they dress like everybody in every major Western city, as local culture is subsumed by a mass of homogenous global trash from food through TV to music and clothing. And then there’s the bright side, as the sun peeks from behind a cloud.

    • Bryan, great points. There are definitely pockets of good connection still out there…..I simply fear that as the years go by we are going to become an entirely disconnected race of people

  17. Oh as someone whose “kids” are all raised and on their own, I have to say that sure parent/child time has been breaking down over many decades and has always been a battle of balance. But what so many aren’t getting is that more and more parenting is done using technology to babysit when the family IS all home together. Kids are getting their social learning more often from media and this is frightening as in seeing what comes on tv, on radio, on video, on utube (and the lack of so many parents to even know what their kids are seeing and interacting with on their computers) is what so many would say is a matter of moral judgement for adults but I promise you is totally off the wall for children to be iimmersed in. I admire those cultures who may be living less material lives but have tight family bonds- parents who aren’t afraid to parent, children who have a childhood. Ok there are street children and horrific things happening to them. I don’t say that lightly. It is horrendous. But who are you gals kidding? Look at our streets in America. Look at child trafficking. Look at the level of sexual and emotional, physical abuses in our country. Look at our childrens’ social service system- at the size of it, how it’s overloaded and that happens from the products of the previous generation. It’s frightening to me.
    I had a doctor who had said to me when I was raising young children and confided the fears I had in decisions that affected us all as a family. He told me that I should remember our children come into our lives. We share our lives with them not vice versa and that what he has noticed is that if the parents are okay, are balanced and happy, the children will follow suit and rise to the occasion. We are caught up in a feeling about not shaking what we see as a child’s stability. Children know what we teach them is normal. The stabilities and consistencies that matter most are the amount of loving support and the building of belief in their faith, family, and in themselves and their ability to adjust. We sometimes place a lot on kids in saying basically that we won’t be changing this or that because we are sheltering you because we don’t think you’ll learn to grow and adjust in a positive way. How does a child learn their strengths if they are not allowed to experience the challenges to them? I am not saying it is necessary to give a child a helter skelter lifestyle. But I am saying in todays America there are a lot of parents trying to clear the path for their kids, trying to make life fair in all sorts of instances- Imagine why so many are stunned into inaction as they become adults and wonder how life could be this unfair (meaning bent in their direction).. SOrry so long winded.

    • Don’t be sorry! Great comments and I totally agree with you on all that you wrote. And I like how you used the terms “stabilities” and “consistencies” those are two things that I believe are extremely important in family dynamics.

  18. Good article. I am glad that you are open to talk to people you do not know. Makes life better I think. Yesterday I was at my brother in laws house for easter and there was a military family invited over (very nice family) and they have three teen age girls. My girls are more grown now but it was nice to talk to them. they held themselves very nicely. I had a great conversation with them. I think the world is a better place when we take the time to just talk to people. I will say that it can be odd at first but you soon get over it. People seem to appreciate it as well. Thank you for sharing your stories. I do hope we can make a comeback of old fashion community. where neighbors actually know each other and so on. Have a great day.

  19. This is another funny one because the thing you say is missing – sitting at the dinner table every night and talking to neighbors on your porch – were things I grew up with in my small town. We’re only talking 10 years ago. I did notice, however, that this changed when my brother got into sports. His events often happened over dinner, so that didn’t happen as much. When I left for college, the whole sitting for dinner thing almost stopped completely. I think they still try and do it as much as they can, though.

    It seems so odd to me. I just sort of expect that whole dinner thing to take place. Even if it’s just me and my boyfriend, I still expect us to eat dinner together. But then… I guess there’s usually a TV in the background, too.

    Another interesting thing. We just went out with another couple to Buffalo Wild Wings. They now give you these tablets where you can play a quiz game while you wait for your food. It’s fun, but it encourages you to look at the screen more than the people you sit with.

    • Dude, I didn’t know that about Bdubs, too weird! Tablets at dinner????

    • Kenneth, Nolan Bushnell’s uWink concept was not unlike this. Chuck E. Cheese and Atari were his other projects. I am not surprised one *iota* something finally took. As a child of the Golden Age of Arcade Games, I followed the news as such. I followed what Bushnell was doing for a long, long time.

  20. Where I live there’s still a big community feel, and I find it’s the hardest thing for me to get in the habit of being one of these outgoing types who wave at their neighbors and stop by for conversation and such, but it’s something. I’m pushing myself to do because I want that kind of connection, especially with my neighbors and especially if I want to take a two-week surf trip this summer.

  21. Normally I’m all ‘Ireland’s different, Ireland’s great’ but unfortunately it’s all play dates, times and schedules. If you want to meet another mum and her kids it will probably need to be planned well in advance.

  22. I agree that children change a person’s complete life. Like most parents you mentioned, my child changed our life for the better. I married right out of high school. Eight months later, I found out we were expecting. We live in a rural area, so we move at a slower pace. Yet, I have to demand for my daughter to put down her phone at times. Times are changing for sure.

    • Anna, yea, I totally get that there are pockets, especially in rural areas, where there are exceptions. And I’m thankful for places like where you are describing. I only hope this new wave of technology doesn’t destroy the entire face of the world in a negative way.

  23. Having children definitely changes things. I also know, the act of having children today, has changed from when I was a child and of course from prior generations. Technology has made it so, the computer, smart phones and television spend more time with the child than their parents. I graduated from college and realized one thing about my generation: they can tell you how to create a website and all other things tech related, but very few have the ability to hold a face-to-face discussion. I cannot blame technology, because I don’t have that issue. If this is the state today, just imagine family life in 20 years?

    • Errol, thinking ahead 20 years is scary! Gosh, who knows what lies ahead of us if we just sit idly by and don’t do anything about these negative trends.

  24. The moment one decides to include children in their lives…their lives forever change.

    With or without technology…the growth potential of the human being expands exponentially when children arrive. Emotions will vary from indescribable joy to the most disheartening and back again as you travel along the journey. And the journey doesn’t really end when they become adults…it just changes as they become the parents. And you learn to watch and let go…and allow them to experience the joys for themselves. Being a grandparent can have its own joyous moments. 😀

    • “their lives forever change”

      Right on Mrs. P, you know better than me about making sacrifices for your children; btw, are you ever gonna write a memoir about your life?

    • As far as memoirs are concerned, been mulling it around, started on parts…haven’t decided whether to publish or not at this point…it’s still an evolving idea. Thanks for your interest. 🙂

  25. I agree about the technology thing. One rule I am strict about in my house is around meal times. We sit as a family, we talk and there are no phones allowed. My teenage boys try and manipulate me and act like they’ve forgotton, but I am adamant that families that eat together stay together. So far, so good!”!
    Great post!

  26. People tend to say their deceisons are because of their children. Well, in a way, certainly, we all want the very best for our beloved ones, however, our children can assimilate much easier than we, whenever we are harmonius, balanced and happy. This give them strength…

    I was very surprised, looking around the western-type civilization: less and less parent hold their children hand, hug them, or just simply play with them in the playground – they most likely “around”, “next to”, instead of WITH them…

    So, alienated culture starts, when we alienate our little ones, claiming our “private time”, “being tired”, or “working”… all these things are less relevant, can be done later or together… children needs the parent mostly, not ina scheduled and planned way, but always, every and anywhere. The end of this civiliazation started, when everything else became more important than the life together, being more intellectual and less heartistic.

    So, there is the saying, Heaven starts in the family, and well, the opposite too…

    I hope, this lady will also realize, she is responsible for herself, and with guts can be a more harmonious, balanced, happier person, so her children can be, too…

    • Your totally right with your observations about parents at the playground…. times are changing SO MUCH. I’m really afraid of where we are headed as a culture.

  27. Hi, I just wanted to thank you for reading my blogs. Well done that so many people like your posts. You are an encouragement. Again Thanks, Angela

  28. America, Great Britain, and…Australia?!? When did we make that list? 🙂

  29. That poor woman much have been in her own little world, because as an infrequent reveller I sure as hell wouldn’t be sitting in the bar in case I missed my flight. I would fall apart if that ever happened.

    As for staying out and not uprooting the kids. We’ve made 3 really big moves (across country) with kids in two and they have survived. Kids are pretty resilient. Even the quiet ones. I get the inkling she may not have the courage to make that move and start fresh over again. Which, truth be told is not as hard as it might sound.
    That being said, we’re not going to move again until the youngest is either in high school or finished.

  30. My chemistry adviser used to constantly remind me that “There is no free lunch”. He meant that life is full of choices and trade offs. When someone chooses something, there is a cost somewhere such as money, energy, time, or opportunity.

    I adore my baby and am so fortunate to have her in my life. However, I can not say my life is better because of her. I was happy before I had her. If we never went down the baby path, I probably would have continued being happy and doing the things I can’t do right now because we have a baby.

    Similarly, I love my husband and enjoy sharing my life with him. But, there were trade offs as well such as leaving the dating scene, considering another persons needs in life decisions, etc. If I was never married, I could be equally as happy on my own.

    I don’t think the choices we make in life create happiness or better it. I think when we make the trade offs we want and sacrifices of our choosing for the things we desire that is what makes a life happy or better.

    I’ve always had an issue with people who talk about how much better their life is because of their children. It is unfair to childless couples to insinuate their life is somewhat less because they chose not to have children. Just as it is unfair to bring a child into the world expecting it to make one’s life better.

  31. To stay in close proximity of the children is something we do admire. Sure she should ask herself if her children or the rest of family are more important. She is there for the kids right. Make up your mind.

    If we want the laid back or slower life we need to create it for ourselves. Problem being that the town we live in as said today in my thought are more like institutes. Follow protocol or be left out.

    And surely not something to admire,, where we leave those who do not want to tag along

    • And surely not something to admire,, where we leave those who do not want to tag along
      what I meant is that we need to slow down if we want unity. not ask others to walk faster or just be left out.

  32. Reblogged this on Citizen Tom and commented:
    This post illustrates Kenneth Justice’s knack for taking a coffee bar conversation and generalizing what one person is feeling to rest of us. Here the focus here is on children and the family and the growing isolation of people from each other in Western societies.

    Ken talks about disintegration of the nuclear family. What I fear too few of stop to think about is the extent to which the relationships our forebears had with their extended families have almost disappeared. There was a time most people would grow up, live and finally die in the company of brothers, sisters, parents, grandparents, sons and daughters, grandchildren, aunts, uncles….. Now many experience relatively little of that. We consider ourselves fortunate if we grow up in a two-parent home.

    Think about the meaning of that word, “disintegration.” Look it up.

    Disintegration is the opposite of integration, and what is the origin of the word “integrate”?

    integrate (v.)1630s, “to render (something) whole,” from Latin integratus, past participle of integrare “make whole,” from integer “whole” (see integer). Meaning “to put together parts or elements and combine them into a whole” is from 1802. Integrate in the “racially desegregate” sense is a back-formation from integration, dating to the 1948 U.S. presidential contest. Related: Integrated; integrating.

    If the extended family has almost disappeared, and now the nuclear family is disappearing, what have we left upon which we can build a society? Individuals? That will not work. Societies form from relationships, not from isolated people. Friendships? Perhaps, but can we count upon broken homes to produce people who understand how to form sound relationships? Don’t we learn from the example of others? What do children learn in broken homes?

  33. Even worse is that it seems like Western Culture is becoming less-and-less child friendly.

    I agree with your observation, Kenneth, but not necessarily with all the reasons you give. Maybe my experience has been exceptional, but I’ll tell you why I say that.

    Generally speaking, technology and culture was a shared, social, family experience. My in-laws (my father-in-law at least) are a little more technophile than my folks, but, it was still shared. My folks used to use the stereo system as a babysitter– I explored their vinyl records and compact cassettes. My daughter… she KNOWS what a cassette tape is and how to operate a cassette player! Can’t say that for the kids the Fine Bros. interview on YouTube.

    We discuss what we consume. I feel that I must. I am pleased that my daughter is taking a mature view about it, although we ask her to avoid vids with swears when her brother (who has autism) is around.

    Kenneth, my experience is more that I see some parts of society that are downright HOSTILE to kids. I was a little bit worried when my daughter asked to go to our local SF/fantasy/gaming convention. I quit a lot of local groups– the board game group, the live action roleplay group– because the gamers were MASSIVELY intolerant of children. I did not want to meet or speak to very much of anyone from those groups. I went anyways and figured I’d do my best to let my daughter have fun. We all wound up going, and I was pleasantly surprised. My son was the only one that didn’t participate in the costume competition, which included some stage time– but he was well behaved, even backstage.

    Maybe it’s because my family has missed much of the mobile trend. What I see the sad problem is people that won’t give kids a chance. Adults that basically refuse to relate to children– until they are grown into adults. Parents who don’t give two farts to the wind about their kids’ hobbies, and more especially, a society that assumes the only parent who cares is the mother. (I hate parenting magazines that are like this in both the articles and the ads.) It may have been so once, but it’s not so much anymore, and I’m committed to see that attitudes change.

  34. Great post, haven’t been reading you for a while and realize I missed it. Thanks for a new word I have never heard before “ankle-biters”… 😉
    I do agree with you, latin people in general do have a different way of living within their family and they probably do spend less money on therapies as their therapy is the family life and communicating with friends and family.

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