Tuesday, May 16, 2006

What did your mother teach you?

In this time of confusion and frustration--time of pondering the wisdom of the masses and the people who claim they know the best for everyone--I have a question for you. All of you.
What did your mother teach you?
Now I know not everyone had a mother that nutured and cared for them. Many lost their mothers due to death, or illness, or addiction or anything else you can name. But along with that, there were very many who did have mothers. Mothers who cared and taught and loved and hoped the best for them. LOTS of mothers. Okay...so I don't have the statistics--we'll just go with how I grew up. And--let me say, I grew up with a foster mother, so I didn't even have the normal 'mothering' that I'm talking about.
In my little California neighborhood, we lived by a Catholic Church, a jr. high, an LDS Chapel, walking distance to a library and high school, on the outskirts of a large bustling city. My neighborhood itself had probably 15 to 20 houses on it, and almost all of them had families. Of those families, most of them had mothers that were at home. Not all of them--but most.
Mine, my next door neighbor, the neighbor across the street, the two neighbors around the corner, and so on. ;)
We all played during the summer together and went to school together from the time we were in grade school thru my first year of high school--with a few move-outs and move-ins.
The block just behind my house, was probably pretty much the same, but I didn't really know anyone there.
No one besides the Hispanic family that would come around and sell home made Tamales every year. My family always bought some, but I didn't like them. I like the corn meal outer stuff, but never the inside. My tastes have changed since then, thank you very much.
We were all of average income--some more, some less. The main thing we had in common, were our mothers all taught us pretty much the same thing.
Don't lie. Don't steal. Don't hit. Be nice to your brother/sister/neighbor. Share your stuff. Take care of your friends.
I had friends that were from different walks of life--Mexican, caucasian, black, etc. It was the way the world was. We enjoyed the differences and each other. I remember going to a friends house for lunch and her family hand made their own tortillas. It was my first time tasting real Mexican food. It was amazing.
Let's jump ahead now about 30 years. What are the mothers teaching their children now?
Most of you would say the same stuff they were then--but I beg to differ.
How many of the moms are home during the day? And when they are home at night, how much time do they spend with their children? (I know--many of them are not due to their own choice, but necessity--they are amazing women)
Children are left with video games, television, ipods, and friends who don't have mother's at home either.
Their mothers are still wanting to teach them the same values they had been taught, but it doesn't seem to be coming through. I work in an elementary school. I see these kids and watch their minds work.
They figure if it's there, and no one is actually holding it in their hand--it's now theirs. They figure if their parents aren't sitting on their shoulders telling them to be polite and respect others, they don't have to. These kids are some of the rudest, obnoxious kids you've ever met. And believe me, the older they get, the worse it gets. My husband works in high schools and middle schools...he's seen it all.
On the other hand...there are some really sweet kids who are nice and care and try to do what's right. I have two fourth graders that come and visit me when they are supposed to be outside for recess that are a prime example. Both are clean, well dressed, and manerly. One of them is concerned about her grades and homework. The other one could care less. I can see what they will be like in 5 years. The one will be getting straight A's, and the other will be on the chearleading squad, barely squeaking by. (not to malign cheerleaders, they have to keep those grades up too) I even told them that one day when they were talking about it, and she didn't care. She sees no need.
Who do you think taught our soldiers? Our leaders? The President?
Personally, I thank God that our soldiers were taught to defend and guard and protect. I am thankful that SOME of our leaders are trying their best to lead us to better times.
I just with some of them had gotten the message...
This past sunday was Mother's day. Do you honor your mother? What did she teach you?

1 comment:

KB said...

I've recently come to realize that although I thought I'd been teaching certain character traits, my children haven't been learning them. For example, I am extremely good at balancing a very tight budget. Somehow that skill did not transfer to my children. I sat down with my two youngest recently and apologized for not doing a very good job at that. They were not thrilled, because it means I'm now reinforcing (they'd say 'enforcing') the lessons I thought they'd already learned.

I agree that a lot of this has to do with the amount of time we spend with our kids. Quality time IS quantity time. Sometimes you don't have a choice. I've been there. But the fact is that whatever the reason, if mom's not there, the kids don't learn values. The schools certainly do not teach them.

When I first had children, mothers were stay-at-homes in 12 of the 15 families on our street. When I moved a few years ago, only 2 of the 15 were stay-at-homes. That's sad.