by Brad Nelson 6/24/15
This is my conclusion after a multi-million dollar scientific study. If you try to raise children without a father, even if the mother is good and well-meaning, you’re setting the table for disaster.
“Oh, but Brad, Brad — you misogynist troglodyte,” I hear you say. “Haven’t you got the message that single mothers are to be glorified?”
Oh, I got the message. And there are some pitt bulls who are relative pussy cats. But they are the exception to the rule. (A neighbor has one that he regularly takes on a walk by the office here. He does seem like a pussy cat. Even when I was wearing a paint mask and gloves while cleaning up some brush, he was totally unperturbed when I approached him and petted him. Even goods breeds tend to be spooked by gloves and masks.)
I’ve had further confirmation of this the last few days. There are some kids in the neighborhood who want to use the grounds around my office as a playground. I said, “Okay, but only after office hours — 6:30 pm to be exact — and don’t break anything or mess with anything.”
They, of course, did mess with things. Some had taken gravel out of one of the beds and tossed it all around. And…god forbid…one of the tomato plants got damaged.
So we had another talk soon after. “If you want to play here, you’re going to have to abide by the rules.” They said they would. They hemmed and hawed with all kinds of weak excuses. But I tried my best to clarify the matter into a simple agreement: after 6:30 and don’t mess with anything.
Well, yesterday they showed up around 1:30 and were playing on the grounds of the office making all kinds of noise. I went out and told them, “Hey, what gives? It’s not 6:30.” The one kid I had primarily negotiated this agreement with said “I thought it was 6:30.” I promptly pointed out to him that he was lying, that surely he knew midday from 6:30 at night, and that lying wasn’t a good way to form any kind of neighborly relationship. Another kid — surely schooled in Alinsky tactics, imbibed like second-hand smoke — said, “But my brother here is handicapped.” I told him I didn’t care if he was handicapped or not. It had nothing to do with breaking our previous agreement. “But he’s dyslexic.” I said, “That doesn’t matter.”
These four kids I was talking to were all around the age of about 9 to 11. They live in some apartments next door. My motivation is to be accommodating because it’s not in my interest to make enemies of these kids and have them trash the place after hours when I’m not there. Also, I was a kid once too.
So I’m trying to accommodate them. But beyond being the usual prevaricating kids, they are being completely manipulative and dishonest. I realized later that they were talking to me (having done so myself) as if I was an easily-manipulated mother. Sorry, ladies, but that’s typically how boys relate to mothers and women about such things. Mothers are not taken as seriously as the bull fathers.
It also occurred to me (although I cannot know for sure) that it’s likely none of these children actually has a father living at home. Talking to a man, for them, was like talking to a Martian. I was not a person to them, just someone to be manipulated. And, yes, I was a kid once too. And much of this is inherent to children, especially little boys. But experience and intuition informed me there was much more going on here than just rambunctious boys. These kids were clearly a product of an environment where there was no strong father to impart even the idea of rules and laws.
After our little conversation, these kids go away, suitably instructed, or so I suppose, the message again being that only after 6:30 could they play here. About 30 minutes later I see three kids in the parking lot outside my window, each of them holding a small hand-drawn sign with the word “Strike” written on it. It’s obvious that community agitating has been taught to them very early.
I go outside and say, “What gives? What’s with the signs?” They hide the signs and pretend that they weren’t doing what they were doing. (Dishonest again.) I told them again that if they wished to play here, they had to bargain in good faith. They had to stick to the agreement. And I said that lying to me and trying to manipulate me wasn’t the way to be good neighbors and to work things out.
As I’m talking with them, their “aunt” walks over. I’d never met her before but she seemed like a nice lady. She is apparently guardian of three or four of these children — none of whom look even remotely like brothers (one is either Asian or Mexican, another has Irish-like freckles, and another is looks suitably English or Dutch). This reinforces, but does not prove, that these children have no father.
The guardian/acting mother (in her early 20’s) seemed a very nice lady. She backed me up in the idea of “If you expect privileges, you have to follow the rules.” Long story short, I told the kids that if they abided by the rules for a few days or maybe a week, I would consider letting them play here starting even earlier…perhaps 5:30. Truth be told, if they proved to be reliable and good kids who could be counted on to keep their agreements, I would let them play in a corner of the lot during the day if they kept the noise down. I’m really not an ogre.
But we live in a “give an inch, they’ll take a mile” culture, and I know it. This goes doubly so for children, especially children who have obviously learned how to be victims. We’ll see how this all goes. But I wholly expect it to go badly. I’m getting a glimpse of how good children are rotted out from the inside by liberalism, by (likely) single-parent families, and by (likely) the lack of the law-giving strong father figure at home. I say this because I could tell they had little experience with a person like me before.
I shook the boys’ hands and said, “Okay, stick to the agreement, let’s be good neighbors, and we’ll see how it goes from there.” And make no mistake, these kids looked like normal kids to me. But still you sense (I sensed) a kind of psychopathy being developed in them by our culture. I still don’t think any one of them saw me as a person. And, believe me, I tried to be as reasonable, kind, yet non-girly-man, as I could be. And yet I couldn’t help thinking that there were degrees showing of “little monsters” that we all are capable of becoming without suitable instruction from real adults — especially including men.
Brad is editor and chief disorganizer of StubbornThings.
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