Thursday, February 6, 2014

Let's Hear It For the Folks

Nothing like Ben Stein breaking his monotone composure to make one feel chastened. 

This past Sunday Book Review has Andrew Solomon reviewing Jennifer Senior's All Joy and No Fun, regarding the modern state of parenting: 
Parenthood as we know it — predicated on the unconditional exaltation of our children — is no more than 70 years old, and it has gone through radical readjustments over the past two generations. As children went from helping on the farm to being the focus of relentless cosseting, they shifted “from being our employees to our bosses,” Jennifer Senior observes . . . 
I like to stick with historical fiction, and how parents dealt with their children is certainly not how we expect it nowadays. Re-watching The Taming of the Shrew (1967), I chillingly comprehended that while Baptista does love his daughter Katherine, he has no concern marrying her off against her will to a stranger and a ruffian.
Katherine, by clinging too long to her undiplomatic caterwauling, ended up with the worst of husbands (although she finally learns that "killing a wife with kindness" cuts two ways). Today, a child is expected to be loved no matter what (and so should they be). Yet parental love manifested itself differently, once; it had its limitations.
What parents can agree on, whatever their approach, is that it’s “for the child’s sake, and the child’s alone. Parents no longer raise children for the family’s sake or that of the broader world.”
We may complain about public opinion nowadays, but the modern version is rather shvach compared to once-upon-a-time's. We must learn to ignore it more (especially since it is usually a manifestation of our own imaginations) but this is about us kids. 

I have been so blessed, and yet a niggling voice will constantly attempt to whisper discontents in my ears, wheedling ill-temperament to the surface. 

Ancient civilizations, including Judaism, had "gratitude" hammered into the foundations; without it, we cannot function as individuals or as a society.
Thank you, Ben Stein, for the reminder.             

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