Monday, January 03, 2005

"...But Hey, I've Got Good Self-Esteem!"

To celebrate the new year, we decided to go up to Wisconsin Dells and stay overnight at one of those hotels that has an indoor water park. We enjoyed ourselves tremendously, as did our dd. There was just one fly in the ointment: it was the last day before the kids went back to school, so, as you might imagine, there were plenty of under-18 personages running around.

Now, as anyone who knows me can tell you, I like kids. Small fry don't bother me. But when I see some of the older kids copping an attitude, that is a major turnoff. Unfortunately, a number of the pre-teen/teens suffered from the delusion that the facilities existed solely for themselves, and that rules are for lesser beings: "Hooray for me, to heck with you, and get outta my way" (as my father would put it). They would shove past you climbing the stairs to the water slide, evidently wholly ignorant of vocabulary as "please excuse me" or "sorry," not to mention the utter foreignness of actually waiting in line for one's turn. In a circulating water lap where one could grab a tube and float lazily past replicas of Mayan ruins and man-made waterfalls, these kids would jostle past you and anyone else in their way in their quest to see who could finish first. (Hey, kid, if it's that boring to you, go find something more exciting.)

So I found myself thinking about the whys and the wherefores of these little barbarians' lack of manners. Where are the parents? Why have they apparently abdicated their responsibility to teach their kids that they are not the focus of the universe, and hence need to learn to give consideration to others?

Where are the teachers? If they let their pupils get away with that type of behavior, then I don't see how they can accomplish anything remotely resembling instruction in the classroom. I suppose the educational powers that be figure that teaching things like "self-esteem" and undermining traditional views of marriage and human sexuality are far more important than quaint, outdated concepts such as social graces. (Of course, being a private tutor, I can tell you what else the kids are not learning in school - math, reading, vocabulary, science, for starters...but that's another story.)

Where are the Sunday School teachers? In all fairness, probably most of the kids have never darkened the doorstep of a church, but I fear that those who have are more likely to learn about Veggie Tales than the Golden Rule. (I've got nothing against Veggie Tales. My three-year-old likes them, they're entertaining, and the messages are positive. They're just not substantive enough to be Sunday School material, really.)

This selfish attitude reminds me of some articles about so-called "indigo children" I read on the Internet several months ago. (I wish I was making this up, but I'm not, unfortunately.) Judging by the description, a generation or so ago, these so-called "indigo children" would have been unhesitatingly labelled "brats," but now they're simply assumed to be the next stage in "human evolution." Even more appalling was the recommendation that these brats be allowed to develop their brattiness unfettered by parental restraint (lest it damage their psyche and thwart their evolutionary destiny, y'know).

Call me old-fashioned, but there's no way I'm going to let my child grow up to be an ignorant, spoiled brat. She deserves better than that.

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