The legendary comic Bill Cosby presents a great skit about child rearing. First he talks about how his brother and him originally though their names were “Jesus,” and “Goddamn.” His father would say when they were in trouble, “Jesus, Goddamn it, Get over here!” He goes further to give another very important quote, “I brought you into this world, I will take you out of it…And make ten more just like you.”
In some modern industrialized countries children have taken the legendary status of a form of Sainthood. They can do no wrong. “There are no bad children, only bad parents.” Whereas this latter statement may be true, looking at the children I had to raise every year in the military, I imagine there must be an abundance of bad parents. Or at least a booming crop in them!
Regardless, what I often see, are children in whom their rights were stressed at the detriment of their responsibilities. “Rights, what about my rights? You are violating my rights!?” This even led to soldiers in the Army claiming that they needed a timeout because their Sergeant was too hard on them. What does this mean? I mean, were we training for the Bozo Olympics? Is your stomach going to give you a timeout because you are too stressed to go find food?
Now I am not saying that all children ought to be raised on military discipline, but I can tell you that a method that lies closer on the spectrum to human responsibility is needed. Children are neither saints nor innocent. Everyone has a genetic and ancestral past, and our children represent our own. They are only as good as we are. Their capabilities are never in question; their choices are.
So where do we draw the line? What are the key variables? Parents have a responsibility, society has a role, and children have their culpability. My son was born to me and I chose to have him as a son. As a result, we have a partnership. I do my duty and provide him with love, education, and feeding. Anything else after that is choice. He listens to me and does his best to understand given his rapidly evolving self. Society makes sure to provide a structure which includes consistently applied rules.
Yet he is my legacy and society’s. People often state that children ought not to be punished for the life of the parents. This ignores the fact that children are us. They are 50% of each of us and our own personal legacies. If we do not take care of them, it is not society’s responsibility to ensure our own personal immortality. It is society’s job to provide a system that individuals can use to sustain or change themselves. Or in the saddest cases, such as Howard Hughes killing himself on drugs in Mexico, a place where one can deteriorate without taking anyone else along unwittingly.
For my work with my child I gain a form of immortality, my genes continue physically while spiritually myself, in him. He gains a freedom and liberty relative to his ability to exercise discernment. Society gains an ever growing standard of living for itself and its people. Its immortality comes from its ability to spread its ideas, wealth, and produce throughout the world. Maybe someday, Earth will mesh well enough to spread its ideas and children into the stars.
These are not popular ideas. Most people cringe at my statements and feel that there is something wrong with what I say. “Oooh, you are a facist Gouthum.” “You are evil.” I am only sharing the nature of reality. It is upon the individual to discern where on the spectrum to lay. I love the truth and justice more than myself and any other.
One asks, “What is that truth?”
“We are all one, part of the immortal energy and consciousness of the universe that never dissipates or decays. It only experiences endless apparent transformation.”
Based upon this fact, it is upon me to find the balance and sustain that. Each of us has his or her own role. I advocate discovering our own personal role and place in the system rather than complaining about someone else’s. Some of us even maintain, improve and adjust the system. Find out what you are, and be that.