Sunday, May 25, 2008

Obedience

There was a time when we expected nothing of our children but obedience, as opposed to the present, when we expect everything of them but obedience. -- Anatole Broyard

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's still expected, but now people wonder why they aren't getting it. Don't go back to the old way, but maybe swing back a bit so it's in between the two extremes.

Take a look at the show Supernanny. Well, don't, because it sucks. But the Supernanny is doing the kinds of things that used to be common sense and that parents used to do.

Anonymous said...

Absolute obedience certainly isn't healthy. As anon said, there needs to be a balance. When children listen it should be because they trust and respect their parents, and it should be because it has been earned and not because the child will be punished if they fail to obey. The old methods were based on ideas that dealt with the worst of human behavior. It assumed children were rowdy little devils that would never act reasonably unless they were threatened by the rod. Surely there are children like that, and for them you have to adjust your tactics, but the vast majority of them would benefit more by being taught to think and that they should only trust and submit when authority has proven that it has their best interest in mind.

Furthermore, they should be encouraged to pursue their interests, to think creatively and spend their lives as they wish. Children aren't status symbols, they do not prove that you are a good and successful person. They are human beings, entirely their own, and no human authority should ever strip them of their dignity by forcing them down a road they weren't meant to follow.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

It assumed children were rowdy little devils that would never act reasonably unless they were threatened by the rod.

Which is true. Although I'd say "the rod" could be a non-violent punishment. People don't want to punish their children in any way. The majority of children, if allowed, will walk all over you. Ask any teacher. You've got to let them know who is in charge.

Furthermore, they should be encouraged to pursue their interests, to think creatively and spend their lives as they wish.

This would be pointless for most, who lack creativity. What little they have is destroyed by sports. Unless you play Calvinball.

Anonymous said...

That one I deleted because I made a minor wording change before it had gone through, but then I guess it went through. So I deleted the first one.

Monsieur Beep! said...

Hey Joe, how did you manage to jump on the "Reverse The Time Arrow" train?
Just fits the actual Scientific American report "The Cosmic Origins Of Time's Arrow", where they postulate that both directions of the flow of time might be possible! (June issue).
You look(ed???) terribly good!

Anonymous said...

"The majority of children, if allowed, will walk all over you. Ask any teacher. You've got to let them know who is in charge."

There's no question order needs to be established, and parents can't afford to be pussies. There needs to be a balance. Children aren't going to act like well-reasoned adults but they aren't the embodiment of the worst of human behavior (some are, but I'm speaking in general). Either they don't know any better or they don't see the long term consequences of what they're doing. Where I see a problem is when punishment is arbitrary and/or leaves no opportunity for learning. IE, getting punished for getting their clothes wet or dirty when A. those clothes are meant for play and B. that's what children do.

"This would be pointless for most, who lack creativity. What little they have is destroyed by sports. Unless you play Calvinball."

I think children on the whole are more creative than they're often given credit for. Creativity seems to be something that's educated out of us rather than it is something a large portion of us lack. Note that when I say creativity in this context I'm referring to all forms of creativity, even if it's as simple as figuring out a way to solve a mundane problem by unexpected means. The key component is freedom. Children don't get enough of that in the modern world. They never have time to discover whether they're creative or not because the moment they can speak they're being pushed to compete and succeed. Most of them aren't destined to become doctors or lawyers. Even some of them who have that potential will have no desire to live that way. Children are their own people, they're not some status symbol people can hoist up and point to and say, "Look at how successful we were as parents!"

I know most parents don't do stuff like that for the prestige. They really want the best for their children and this is what society tells them they should do. The thing is that children don't actually learn anything when they have no freedom, when they're not allowed to explore and inquire and get bruised now and again. It's when obedience becomes absolute or overscheduling robs life of surprise and zest that you're dealing with an unbalanced and unhealthy paradigm.

Anonymous said...

Most Indian kids are very obedient to their parents except me.

Pascal [P-04referent] said...

Good one, Anurag. :-)

I too was the only wicked ungrateful child in Lebanon who never listened to the educational efforts of his many aunts, uncles and cousins.

I guess there's one rotten apple in every country, eh? And they always manage to meet! ;-)

"Honest, Mom, I was just walking home minding my own business, when out of nowhere this hugely fun... I mean, huge messy mud puddle suddenly jumped right at me!" Parents can be so fussy about play clothes...

Or worse, they can be so fussy and NOT give you any play clothes becaused you're just supposed to look like a porcelain doll all the time. Standing still, with a stiff smile and hollow gaze. Now THAT's the kind of children that make their parents proud!
Okay, so they tend to gather dust a little. Nothing the maid can't handle...

Anonymous said...

Its nothing wrong to remain clean at all times but we can't be obedient at all times as well. I myself realised that most of the kids that are obedient to their parents are Indians. For example, they dislike free -spirited women. They find real women to always to their traditional attires and always be shy. They say that girls look very good when they are shy. Its quite ironic to see in most parts of the world, young men find skimpily-clad women to be turning-on or like us, somewhat beautiful but to most Indians ( except me) maybe) its downright disgusting and ugly (WHAT?!). She's treated like an animal or a wicked little kid with no respect by these young men if she wears tiny clothes. Why all this happens? This is because, they follow almost everything of their parents. Most Indians view a respectable woman to be fully-attired at all times as possible. WOmenness in India is known on how much they are shy, so the more clothes they put on, the more womanly and perfectly they become. Yeah yeah yeah, whatever! Its ironic enough that good-looking Indian girls themselves demand themselves to be covered-up, and they look-down on western women for their free-spirit. Free-spirit also turns into a main reason pointed out by Indian women that causes family-breakups which is very heinous. Indian love to put on those traditional stuffs 24/7 which makes me fwakkzzz. Imagine always. If there would be group which is most strongly against sites like DOMAI, then it would group of Indian women, why? It robs their dignity, they reason.

So, you see the cost of being overobedient to your parents. There has to be a balance. SOme Indians are extremely disobedient and trying even the wrongs of western culture. TOTAL Imbalance. SO, balance is also very crucial.

Pascal [P-04referent] said...

Gee, then it must be hard to have sex with your respectable wife in India... Makes one wonder how couples there manage to have so many children!
Perhaps because the more something is commanded to be hidden, the more people become obsessed with it? :-P

"fwakkzzz"? Uh, Houston, we have interference on the radio, repeat, interferenzzzzzt krsshhhh...

Anonymous said...

Pascal said,

"fwakkzzz"? Uh, Houston, we have interference on the radio, repeat, interferenzzzzzt krsshhhh...

Hey, what does that mean? Pascal

Anonymous said...

Its very hard to have sex with an Indian wife, seriously and in addition of that she'll feel shy to be even kissed by her husband.

Pascal [P-04referent] said...

That means your funny sound made me think of some static on an old radio. ;-)

I don't know how the Indians manage it, but for them to have te soon most overpopulated country in the world, surely they're having lots of sex, one way or another.
I think this official prudishness of theirs is just a lot of hypocrisy. You don't have 5 to 12 children per family just with shy kisses!
Clearly there's a big difference between what they say and what they do.

But at least they're not as bad as those catholic priests. 10% are involved in child abuse cases in the USA, official numbers!
I'd feel safer getting a convict to baby-sit my kids, there's much less than 10% of child molesters in the jails!!! ):-P
Petty thieves sound like a lesser evil...

This reminds me of a lebanese militia which I won't name (for obvious safety reasons): every time some no-goodnik scoundrel got expelled from our school, a little while later we'd see him at that militia's checkpoint, with weapon and uniform and smug grin, giving the school bus "permission to pass" after various arbitrary annoyances. I'm not saying they went and deliberately recruited the scum of society, but I'm not saying they weren't, either.
By a funny coincidence, their leadership ALSO brags about how upstandingly religious they are...

There must've been some mysterious glitch in the education of all these fine citizens and pastors. I guess.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

"But at least they're not as bad as those catholic priests. 10% are involved in child abuse cases in the USA, official numbers!"

Fucking hell! And that's just the ones that's been found out.

Yeah, that celibacy policy was a great idea.

Pascal [P-04referent] said...

"Fucking hell!" : pun intended? :-P

"The John Jay Report, commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, found accusations against 4,392 priests in the USA, equalling about 4% of all U.S. priests between 1950 and 2002."
And that's a number coming from the Catholic Clergy! An official figure I heard on French TV news mentioned ad much as 10% of US priests involved. Maybe 10% of TODAY's priests?

But let's be fair: you gotta admit that not ALL their policies were that great. For instance, considering that suicide is a mortal sin(!) which forbids you to be buried "in the Church" must've caused lots and lots of inheritances to be lost for the "Community".
Unless they were confiscated/donated to, um, "pay the redemption fine" in atonement? To buy back one's Heaven share... I don't know, but surely somebody must've had that clever idea.