helicopter parent 2

The curmudgeon has not been on the blog for awhile but this political season has been such rich mining for stupidity treasures  that he can’t help himself.

There was one statement made in this crazy political season that I found to be profound and sad at the same time.  It is an inconvenient truth that has been twisted by the politics of “rights”.  It was spoken by Marco Rubio who I admired but believed could not be elected.  People are wary of young Senators being elected President without experience, achievement or record.  We tend to do it at certain intervals and it usually turns out badly.  Warren Harding, John Kennedy and Barack Obama were sitting Senators elected President.   Harding is well known as a genuine failure.  As Camelot fades into history even the greatest Kennedy image protectors have a hard time with the facts of that history.  Remembered for getting us out of a mess that he created is wonderful drama, and getting us into a mess that would ultimately be blamed on others is great politics, but horrible public policy.  The Obama legacy is being written and like the invisible fingers writing on the wall it is “weighed in the balance and found wanting”.  Anyway, Marco Rubio said –

“We are descendants of someone who made our future the center of their lives.”

Good stuff that.

That ought to be a course in every college, free or not.  It ought to be the subject of tweets and twits and on the front of every I pad and smart phone and tablet.  As I get older I spend more time thinking about my parents and my relationship with them.  They were not helicopter parents.  They could  not be.  We didn’t have phones until I was in high school.  I took a public bus to kindergarten in San Diego Ca.  Imagine that today.  My brother and I were left to play alone for hours at a time without any structure of organized “play dates”.  I baby sat my infant brother while my Mom delivered Navy uniforms that she ironed, something that would be considered endangerment today.  My favorite toy was a big rubber band that Dad brought home from work that I would shoot around the house.

Yet we not only survived.  We thrived.  My Dad taught us to read – voraciously.  I was considered to have some kind of problem in the early grades because my teachers thought I could not read.  They later discovered to their chagrin that while they were going through “Fun with Dick and Jane” I was reading the children’s encyclopedia that used to be delivered in installments to the grocery store.  I was taught to be polite so I didn’t tell the teachers I thought they were stupid, which I did.  I learned my first lessons about Public School Education very early, and that is that if you really want to learn something, get your own library or go and visit one.  If you find a teacher that actually cares about education get everything that you can our of them as soon as possible.  Spend as much time questioning the text book as reading it.  When a text book mentions something actually look up what it mentions.  For instance, I was taught that the Emancipation Proclamation “freed the slaves”, I actually read what the document says and I was stunned.  So was my teacher who didn’t believe what I told him at first.  (Look it up and actually read what it says and read some of the reactions to it.)

My parents supported me to test, and try, and be curious.  It was very early on that I learned that many of the things I was being taught were not true, or at least I was not getting the full story.

I and my brother were the center of their lives.  They did everything they could for us and yet they showed in word and deed that there are things higher than us.  My Dad taught me the value of work and concern for others.  He taught me stewardship and  the importance of the church.  He came out of a Norwegian Pietist background, but he taught me a respect for the office of the Pastor derived from Pastors delivery of the Word and Sacraments.

My Father also taught me that according to the Declaration of Independence I had rights but according to his reading of the Bible I had mostly responsibilities.  Fear, love, and trust for God and love for the neighbor are not abrogated by the Cross; they are intensified.  Therein lies another blog about how even this good gift- having someone who makes us the center of their lives can be a huge detriment, both to us and others.