Everyone gets a trophy — and that’s the problem

By: Joe Weaver - Contributing columnist

I’m probably not going to be too popular after this. The truth is, I really don’t care. What’s going to happen is a lot of you will agree with me. A lot of you will agree with me and not say so for fear of getting into an argument with someone. Some of you will think I am a big jerk and use some of those words you call me on social media that I can’t repeat in the paper. If you agree with me, that’s okay. If you disagree with me, it’s okay as well.

There’s a lot going on these days and we see it in the newspapers, online and on television. We are assaulted by a barrage of negative news almost constantly and everyone gets in front of the cameras and says the same things. They are looking for answers. They are looking for solutions. They don’t know what possibly could have happened. Well, I do. It’s pretty obvious if you look at it straight on.

Your kids are jackasses. They are selfish, narcissistic loudmouths consumed by their own arrogance that they look down their noses at anyone with a differing opinion. Okay, that is a generalization and I will be the first to admit it. Before you start calling the paper and screaming that this columnist has gone nuts and is a big bully, take a deep breath. I am not calling every kid a jackass. There are a lot of young folks out there who are level-headed, mature people who contribute to their families and society. There are also a lot of young people who are the polar opposite and run the gamut from obnoxious to downright homicidal.

A generation or so ago, the concept of permissive parenting came about and parents went from being parents to being their child’s friend. The concept was to make communication between children and their parents easier and less stressful. There was no discipline, there was only discussion. Let’s sit and try to figure out why little Bobby put the hermit crab in the microwave instead of dealing with why. I don’t care about his motivation. Only a big creep would put an animal in the microwave. Any person with half a brain could figure that out. Most kids had friends and didn’t really need Mom and Dad to be one. Mom and Dad are supposed to be parents, not psychologists. Somewhere along the line, the parental role got watered down.

When I was a kid, there were winners and losers. Now, everyone gets a trophy and no matter how lousy of a job they did, they get told they did great. Life does not work this way. It never did and probably shouldn’t. Today’s young people have no concept of disappointment. There are supposed to be people who are good at some things and bad at others. I can’t throw a football far, but I can do something else. The football star can’t do what I do, but he can throw a ball a country mile. See how this works? It’s a great societal yin and yang that has worked for centuries, so why monkey around with it now?

We have generations of people in this country told that they are not anything because they did not go to college. While college is wonderful, we are forming a country of over-educated people who can’t change a tire or balance their bank accounts. We are telling scores of young folks that it’s not dignified to work with your hands and blue-collar work is beneath them. My grandfather was blue collar and raised a family just fine. I know a guy my age who is a single father and raising four kids on his own. He’s a pretty good auto mechanic. He works with his hands. Never been to college, but makes a good living.

I’d like to have faith in our future. I have children and grandchildren. A lot of you do as well. For the young folks who read the column, I don’t think you are all jerks. Most of you probably aren’t, but you know someone who is. A lot of today’s issues can be solved by going back to the basics. The basics worked for years and you never saw some of the things we see today.

My daughters understand that I am their father and not their friend. Sometimes they succeed and sometimes they fail. I have just as much love for them when they succeed as I do when they fail. I don’t try to over analyze their failures and I don’t want them to, either. I remind them that sometimes, in fact, you win. However, a lot of the time, you don’t.

Baltimore native Joe Weaver is a husband, father, pawnbroker and gun collector. From his home in New Bern, he writes on the lighter side of family life.

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Joe Weaver

Contributing columnist