Sunday, November 6, 2011

Teaching the Children

Marybeth Hicks recently wrote a compelling statement regarding the protests that are being staged throughout the country. I am posting this here, because I believe it is worth reading.
Marybeth Hicks:

Here are 5 things that OWS mothers should have taught their children, but didn't.

Call it an occupational hazard, but I can't look at the Occupy Wall Street protesters without thinking, "Who parented these people?"

As a culture columnist, I've commented on the social and political ramifications of the "movement" - now known as "OWS" - whose fairyland agenda can be summarized by one of their placards: "Everything for everybody."

Thanks to their pipe-dream platform, it's clear there are people with serious designs on "transformational" change in America who are using the protesters like bedsprings in a brothel.

Yet it's not my role as a commentator that prompts my parenting question, but rather the fact that I'm the mother of four teens and young adults. There are some crucial life lessons that the protesters' moms clearly have not passed along.

Here, then, are five things the OWS protesters' mothers should have taught their children but obviously didn't, so I will:


1 Life isn't fair. The concept of justice - that everyone should be treated fairly - is a worthy and worthwhile moral imperative on which our nation was founded. But justice and economic equality are not the same. Or, as Mick Jagger said, "You can't always get what you want."

No matter how you try to "level the playing field," some people have better luck, skills, talents or connections that land them in better places. Some seem to have all the advantages in life but squander them, others play the modest hand they're dealt and make up the difference in hard work and perseverance, and some find jobs on Wall Street and eventually buy houses in the Hamptons. Is it fair? Stupid question.


2 Nothing is "free." Protesting with signs that seek "free" college degrees and "free" health care make you look like idiots, because colleges and hospitals don't operate on rainbows and sunshine. There is no magic money machine to tap for your meandering educational careers and "slow paths" to adulthood, and the 53 percent of taxpaying Americans owe you neither a degree nor an annual physical.

While I'm pointing out this obvious fact, here are a few other things that are not free: overtime for police officers and municipal workers, trash hauling, repairs to fixtures and property, condoms, Band-Aids and the food that inexplicably appears on the tables in your makeshift protest kitchens. Real people with real dollars are underwriting your civic temper tantrum.


3 Your word is your bond. When you demonstrate to eliminate student loan debt, you are advocating precisely the lack of integrity you decry in others. Loans are made based on solemn promises to repay them. No one forces you to borrow money; you are free to choose educational pursuits that don't require loans, or to seek technical or vocational training that allows you to support yourself and your ongoing educational goals. Also, for the record, being a college student is not a state of victimization. It's a privilege that billions of young people around the globe would die for - literally.


4 A protest is not a party. On Saturday in New York, while making a mad dash from my cab to the door of my hotel to avoid you, I saw what isn't evident in the newsreel footage of your demonstrations: Most of you are doing this only for attention and fun. Serious people in a sober pursuit of social and political change don't dance jigs down Sixth Avenue like attendees of a Renaissance festival. You look foolish, you smell gross, you are clearly high and you don't seem to realize that all around you are people who deem you irrelevant.


5 There are reasons you haven't found jobs. The truth? Your tattooed necks, gouged ears, facial piercings and dirty dreadlocks are off-putting. Nonconformity for the sake of nonconformity isn't a virtue. Occupy reality: Only 4 percent of college graduates are out of work. If you are among that 4 percent, find a mirror and face the problem. It's not them. It's you.


Marybeth Hicks is the author of Don't Let the Kids Drink the Kool-Aid: Confronting the Left's Assault on Our Families, Faith and Freedom.

Appendix: Personal opinion. I believe these are important lessons. Further, I believe there are parents out there who taught their children these lessons. And, I believe that there are some children, who in spite of the best teachings, choose to behave in unseemly ways. What am I saying? I am saying that the spectacle to which we are being subjected is not entirely the fault of the parents of these people. We are free moral agents, and even Adam who was taught by the Best chose to "kick over the traces." --vanilla

Sunday, April 17, 2011


My friend was known to one and all as "CJ". In fact, many people who knew him for years did not know his first name, and there were only a handful who knew his middle name. CJ was born the same year my father was born. Though there was a generation between us, we became close friends and confidants.

I first met CJ when I took a job in the school where he taught. I was 35 at the time, he was 59. We had work-related business together, since his academic charges and mine were basically the same bunch of twelve- and thirteen-year olds. But we soon discovered that we had "leisure time" business, since we would meet in the gym after school hours for fiercely fought contests across the ping-pong table.
Table tennis was a passion for us both at the time, and we were fairly evenly matched. He was older, but it has often been said that age and guile trump youth and enthusiasm. Well, sometimes. Often when he would lose a closely-fought point after a long rally, he would say, "Well, I'm a sad man."

CJ served in the US Army during WWII. He fought in North Africa, and landed on the Continent at Anzio. Needless to say, he saw much action. He could still get into his uniform when he was in his seventies and eighties, and he enjoyed talking with interested groups about his experiences in the war.

CJ's wife succumbed to cancer shortly after I met them, and he was left with the youngest of his four children, who was in junior high at the time. Whatever else he may have accomplished in his life, he raised his children in the way in which they should go, and all of them are very successful in their own right. CJ never remarried, but he had a blast traveling the world, literally seeing every continent and meeting many interesting people.

CJ took up tennis at about the time he retired, and while I could handily best him on the court at first, he was never satisfied to come in second. He worked at his new-found pastime, joined a tennis club so that he could play year round, and it was not long before I found myself on the short end of the scoreboard more often than I liked. Eventually, though, when he was in his late eighties, I made a miraculous comeback!

Golf was another passion of this wiry old man. He always walked the course, and often "shot his age." I did not participate in this with him, as he had a cadre of buddies who were able to provide him better competition.

CLAVIS JEWETT HINSHAW, July 29, 1910 - April 17, 2005 RIP