Why Kissing Your Sister Isn’t So Great

everyone-winsMy wife just told me about a news story where two fifth-grade boys are going to stand trial in juvenile court for conspiring to stab a fellow female classmate to death.  These two kids had an elaborate, seven-step plan devised to lure the girl away from the school and stab her to death, and one of the boys was to be ready with a gun to stop anyone who tried to interfere.  Why?

Because the girl they targeted had been mean to them in the past.

What the HELL is going on with our kids these days?

It starts with kids not knowing how to handle conflict anymore.  For several years the trend has been everybody wins and nobody loses.  When kids enter into sports or academic competitions at an early age there are no losers.  Everyone gets to win.  No one can have their feelings hurt anymore.  This is pure communistic behavior as far as I’m concerned.  Everyone has to be the same, no one can excel and the rewards go to everyone instead of those who deserve them.

Does this prepare our kids to enter the real world of adult life?  I don’t think so.  A lot of our culture is based on competition and generally, competition is a good and healthy thing.  Education and the workplace is full of it.  In the real world, people lose and people win each and every day and it is vitally important to know how to react and behave under BOTH circumstances.  You’re not always going to win and you’re not always going to lose.  We are raising a generation of people who can’t appropriately deal with either scenario.

What ever happened to the Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat?

When I was in elementary school, if someone was mean to me I either ignored and stayed away from them or we met outside at recess and duked it out.  I’m not saying that’s a great thing (especially because I always lost the fight), but at least we were involved in some form of conflict resolution.  Do you remember the Brady Bunch episode where Buddy the Bully was teasing Cindy about her lisp?  Peter was forced to step in and defend his sister by fighting the bully.  Along the way, valuable lessons were learned in the Brady household, as was always the case on every episode.  Those days are gone now.  Now people plot to kill each other when things don’t go their way.

Kids have always been classified as being ruthless in how they treat other kids.  It’s part of the process of growing up.  These days, though, kids can’t be punished – they can only be praised.  Many experts believe punishment leads to unbalanced kids.  Unbalanced kids lead to unstable adults.  Unstable adults don’t contribute to society in positive ways.  Then they go on a shooting rampage.

GIVE ME A BREAK.

I grew up in a household that had the classic disciplinarian (my dad) and the go-to person for when you wanted something (my mom).  It was a natural balance that helped mold me into what I am today.  When I did something wrong I was punished.  When I did something right, I was praised.  That’s what parents are partly for.  The punishment and praise combination ensures that we know the difference between right and wrong, and that is what defines us as civilized human beings throughout our lives.  If we don’t understand the difference between right and wrong, our society breaks down, chaos prevails over law and order, and the world turns into a free for all.  As long as the child knows why it is being punished and why it is being praised, this method has, over generations, been proven to work just fine.

The practice of punishment and praise works for dogs AND it works for humans.  It doesn’t work for cats, which speaks volumes as to why dogs are better than cats.

The people we need to worry about are those who don’t know how to handle winning and losing.  We are raising a generation of ME people.  These are people who expect to always have their way and feel they are entitled to things that normally require work and effort to get.  I see it all the time in the workplace.  Younger people who are hired and expect that paycheck to be handed to them without making any sort of effort for it.  That grinds me in a big way.  There is an attitude of entitlement that I see in almost every person under the age of 25 these days and it is very disconcerting.  I’d even call it scary.  Life isn’t always going to go your way and you simply have to know how to rationally deal with that!

Losing is supposed to light a fire under your butt and motivate you to do better the next time.  Winning is supposed to reinforce the nature of being humble.  Nobody likes a tie, which is why they say it’s like kissing your sister.  I never had a sister but I can tell you I’d rather win or lose than kiss her.  It just doesn’t seem right to me. I know, I know, there are some states in our country that don’t seem to mind that sort of thing, but I’m just sayin’…

I consider myself to be a pretty normal guy with my own batch of flaws.  But I know how to handle losing and yes, I’ve lost many times.  I also know how to handle winning, although those times don’t seem to happen as often as losing.  But through it all, I remain on an even keel because I know life works this way.

When I played little league baseball we won and we lost.  When I was in sixth grade we lost every game that season, going 0-11.  Did any of us commit suicide or shoot up the town with semi-automatic weapons?  Nope.  But the next year, when we were all on the same team again, we went 7-4…because we decided winning was more fun than losing.  We all made out ok and we came away from it without any serious emotional issues.  It was just a game and we understood that.  We were just kids, and I can’t imagine what it would have been like to tie every game.  I’d hate to receive the generic “Congratulations, You Played!” trophy that everyone else got at the end of the season if my team’s record was 0-0-11.

If you want you kids to kiss their sister, you might want to consider the alternative.  Because if your kid accidentally gets his or her little feelings hurt by a classmate one day, you don’t want to have to worry about he or she coming up with some kind of elaborate plan to kill people.  It’s hard enough already when they leave to go to school and you have to worry about them making it home safely that day.  Don’t be afraid to discipline your kids and don’t be afraid to praise them.  Teach them that it is healthy to win AND to lose.  Teach them life has its ups and downs and that’s just the way it is.  Tell them there is a reason why they have shootouts in hockey now instead of overtime ties.  Because even in Europe and Canada they know that kissing your sister isn’t such a good thing.

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