Saturday, October 12, 2013

I was a kid... Once

I think at one time or another every parent has had the feeling or even said, "don't you think I know what you are going through, I was a kid too, you know." And while it is true most people aren't born adults, (although I've had a few teachers I'm convinced never spent a moment as children) everyone started out saying and asking the same things. "No, why, not me, and... Everyone else...". Yet for some reason, generation after generation, kids seem to think they are the first to experience anything. That some how life is only ever been unfair to them. Tell that to a kid who walks miles for clean drinking water. Oh, how I love our children. But some of the "first world" problems that consume their lives and fuel their arguements crack me up. I would have never suggested to my mother that SHE vacuum my room. I mean of course I may have if my arms and legs had been broken in a freak accident and my sister (I shared a room most of my life- I know poor me) was abucted by aliens (I mean seriously who else would take them). Even then she would have looked at me and said, "the Dr said you'll be fine, you're in a hard cast, besides the aliens will return your sister in no time, stop being lazy!" Okay, so my Mom wasn't that harsh, she would have brought me the vacuum cleaner so I wouldn't have to walk so much on my broken casted legs, but hey... That's love! You get the point! The "rub some dirt in it, and get going" attitude runs deep in my family. It was as much a saying, as a family motto. I mean my sister actually did try out for cheerleading with a leg cast (no, none of her family was responsible for that) and did very well. Talk about rubbing dirt! Don't tell a "Shauger girl" she can't do something, she will, and she'll do it even better. That's how we are built, how we are made. That's about conquering, about being strong, not about being disobedient.  Then came the generation issue, the pushing the envelope. We did, times 4! I know there were several times my mom had to look at us and say... "That's right cause I was never a kid, a teen, a....". At any rate, I know she had to wonder where that envelope pushing would lead. In some cases it led to some pretty dark roads. Fortunately, none of us ever had to make that call from jail. And luckily we beat the odds, we are all still here... 4 girls- the "baby" staring at 30 this year. Now that is defying the odds! See we really do "buck" they system! But in a positive way. 
So as the new generation emerges with the belief that they hold all the answers, it's the current generation that learned a few things... Allow me elaborate... We were totally wrong! When we thought we knew it all, we knew nothing! Even the stuff we were determined we knew, that was wrong too. But we were right about a few things! We were right to watch, listen, and learn from the older generations! Our grandparents were and are jewels of knowledge, and we were smart to hang on to them. Things on the surface that may have seemed old fashioned, were so right on with their moral compass. Our parents learned from them, and while many fought them and thought they could do better, could be better. We both are realizing now, while technology has come so far, it has come at a huge cost. Our grandparents always look right at us when they speak to us, to anyone. And while some grandparents are embracing the Facebook Twitter generation (hashtag)#progress, they still know how to write a thank you note on stationary (that's paper-don't want people to have to Google too many terms here).  There's still a group, many veterans of WWII, that believe a handshake is still an agreement, a man's word is his bond, and kindness goes a lot farther than a fist. You think the war affected them? Or the war before, remember these people had parents too! 
When my parents said "no"' that was it. I'm pretty sure I'm not alone. Going up the generation tree, the story is the same. "No" has meant "No" for generations. So how did this generation learn to take "no" and turn it into "not this second, keep asking till you wear me down"? Me and my sisters tried that maybe a few times... Then my Dad heard about it... Yeah, Mom could be a push over when Dad was out of town, but when she was firm on something and we pushed it, hell hath no fury like a Mom mad... Or something like that,  I think that's how the saying goes... If not that's how it should.
Is it any surprised I can be shocked by my kids behavior, and my husband isn't? I am sure this is a pattern in households everywhere. Mom is clueless as to why her authority is taken as a joke, kids fear Dad, cause when Mom's upset Dad's double upset.... And they get double the work (you'd think they'd figure this out). Then Mom has to rely on Dad to be the "enforcer" on all things which then makes Mom "pointless/worthless". So the kids see Mom as just a babysitter "level"- nice! The I'm telling "dad" of authority. Fabulous! So this cycle continues. 
Moms... "Man up"  yeah, sounds weird! "No" has to mean "no", period, and not, "not now". Single moms everywhere don't get the "just wait till your Dad hears about this". But I'm not going to let single moms off the hook either. I know, cause I was one for a stint, and if it was guilt or just wanting to be the cool Mom, boy did I start some bad habits at an early age! It's amazing how these sweet loving kids become monsters who hate our very existence upon hearing the word "No". It's the smallest word, but can bring the smallest of children to the oldest of kids to their knees, in screaming fits of rage. Where did that sweet angel who loved me and thought I was awesome a few minutes ago, go? The begging, the texting, the non-stop bargaining begins. Yet, the whole time most (I know it runs through my head) parents are thinking, "I would never have thought to re-ask my parents". Yet, we calmly keep answering, till ultmately (under good terms) a parent snaps and buries a kid in the backyard. Totally kidding!!!! No, what normally happens these days is the kid successfully wears down the parent, the brat gets what they want and learns the number threshold for asking... (Mental note a tattoo will take at least 20 times) - ah never- nice try! Unlike my oldest who just decided to wait till she was 18 then just do stuff behind our backs (clever- whatever!), still not cool.
So mom's join with me with a deep breath and one big - "NO!" Dad's if it's just you, I salute you! Don't feel guilty, use the word too! It works, really, I promise... Again.... "NO!"