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Musings

  • The only thing worse than having to do the same slow, manual, and meticulous process is having to do that process 593 times.
    • The only thing worse than that is realizing you’ll have to do it twice, with more to come in the future.
  • Work made a rather large decision this week that impacts everyone.  Some were sullen about it, some vocal and unhappy.  It was remarked that I seemed to be taking it in stride.  All I could reply was “Semper Gumby“.
    • Apparently “If there’s nothing I can do about it, there’s no reason to get wrapped around the axle about it.” wasn’t the answer folks were looking for.
  • Last night, I drove from Louisville to Chattanooga.  It’s a beautiful drive, and for once, everyone seemed to actually want to get to their destination instead of meandering down our nation’s highways.
  • The most memorable part of the trip, to me, was when I was driving into Tennessee.  At that part of the highway, you’re driving up the side of a tall hill/low mountain.  Since I drive an F-150 and not a 911, I got over into the right lane with the semi’s and we made our way up the hill.  We were still doing the speed limit or maybe a little faster.  About halfway up the hill, along comes sumdood in a nice, shiny, European sports sedan.  He sees us trundling up the incline, flashes his brights at us, whips over into the left land, and floors it. He then proceeds to pass us at a rather fast clip.  Just as he whips back into the right line directly in front of the lead semi, a burst of blue flashing light erupts from  the side of the road just in front of all of us.  The last I saw of the gentleman was a Tennessee state trooper and him having a conversation on the side of the road at the top of the hill.
    • Some things will just make make your day.
  • I finished the day listening to OldNFO, LawDog, and BRM tell tales.  There are worse things in life.
  • When will I ever learn? Do not start reading the final 2/3 of a novella by one of your favorite authors and then try to get to sleep.

I believe

  • I believe that there is no shame in having family and friends to support you in your life.
  • I believe that if you choose to not lean on anyone unless you absolutely have to, that’s OK too.
  • I believe that my life is my responsibility, not yours.
  • I believe that I have the right to reject taking responsibility for your life.
  • I believe that if I am being asked to take responsibility for something, then I get a voice in that thing.
  • I believe that I value all life, but I’m honest enough to admit that there is a hierarchy of lives that I value: my kids, my wife, my family, my friends, my countrymen, our allies, then the rest of y’all.  My own is in there somewhere too.
  • I believe that faith is a personal matter and that no church guarantees faith.
  • I believe that there is true evil and true good in this world.  I’ve seen both.
  • I believe that I am my brother’s keeper, but if I have to keep him, I get to put a boot in his ass until he doesn’t need a keeper.
  • I believe that blogging isn’t as good a cure for insomnia as I had hoped.

Thoughts on the Day

  • There is a certain amount of satisfaction in finishing a project that you’ve let sit undone for a long time.
  • Children seem to have an instinctual ability to become cute just as their parents are about to lose their cool.
  • It saddens me to realize that the young lady I took for a babysitter or older sister at the playground turns out to be the very young mother of the cute little kindergartener who was taking turns on the slide with Boo.
  • When given the option between watching a movie or taking a nap after lunch, take the nap.
  • Taking the family out to get dinner at a drive-in restaurant on a warm August night is a very nice way to cap the day.
  • My little girl turns 13 tomorrow.  She’s noticing boys, but doesn’t seem to notice when they notice her.  I’m in big trouble when that little circumstance changes.
  • When your youngest son climbs you like a tree and the doctor on the other end of the phone with your wife asks if everything is OK, then maybe you cried out in pain a little too loud.
  • There are few better ways to end a Saturday than by drinking a huge glass of Southern Comfort and Coke while watching the Muppet Show.

On Manners

In a recent post, Jigsaw asked what skills we thought were essential to a child as they grew up.  After spending a few hours walking around with Boo and Irish Woman at the zoo today, the most important thing I could add to her list was manners.

Watching the many families at the zoo, with children ranging from newborn to almost adult, the groups that were stood out were the well behaved ones.  At some point in my life, it was the badly behaved children that were in the minority, but that doesn’t seem to be the case now.  I’m not talking about rambunctious children who were loud and ran a bit.  That’s expected behavior in an environment like the zoo.  I’m talking about the rude children, who ran over those in front of them, regardless of age and size, cursed at a rate that would make a Marine blush, threw temper tantrums at all stages of the game, and demanded that their parents conform to their wishes instead of the other way around.

Example:  We went to the new polar bear and grizzly bear exhibit.  The grizzlies weren’t out at the time, but the polar bear was walking around in the shady areas of her enclosure.  She could be seen from some of the windows for a few moments at a time, but you had to be patient and content with just a glimpse or two.  A woman was there with her son, and when the polar bear wandered past their viewing window and went out of sight after a minute or two, the boy stamped his feet, banged on the glass, and cussed a blue streak.  Obviously this was his normal mode of behavior, because his mother didn’t bat an eye.  One twist was that this boy was almost as tall as I am and was wearing a varsity football tee shirt from a local high school.  This wasn’t a spoiled toddler or 3rd grader.  This was someone who is likely learning to drive and will be eligible to vote in a couple of years.

At one time, manners were learned on your parents’ knees, and enforced with the back of their hands.  Sadly, it seems that most people aren’t teaching their kids to act properly in public.  Acting like trash seems to be the norm now.  By trash I don’t mean redneck, black, white, or whatever.  Trash is a state of mind and manner of acting that has nothing to do with where you or your ancestors come from.  I have known people who were as country redneck as they come, but they and their children knew to say please, excuse me, and thank you.  I have seen black kids at our schools who were bussed in from very poor, bad neighborhoods who knew to hold the door for women and never cursed in front of an adult.  Being trash comes from not having someone teach you how to act, enforcing those standards with pain if necessary, and setting an example.  It’s an attitude of entitlement that grates on those of us who know how to act better.  Trash can come from any social, economic, or ethnic background.  In our neighborhood, I’d say that the children of the more well off are more likely to act like trash than those who come from more modest families, but there are those who teach their children how to act even if there’s a Lexus parked in the garage.

Unfortunately for us, trash seems to be fashionable.  Reality TV stars trashing it up seem to be more popular than actual acting.  Entertainers who behave in ways that would have gotten them blacklisted a few decades ago are given accolades.  Athletes behave badly, but are absolved of their actions because they happen to have hit the genetic lottery.

As parents, we have to counteract these bad influences if we want our children to be more than another example of trash in society.  In addition to teaching them to work hard, be honest, and learn skills, we need to teach them how to act.  We have to walk the walk too.  You can’t correct a child for being rude then act like trash yourself.  Maybe the best thing we can pass on to our kids is to show them how to not be trash.

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