Wednesday, November 24, 2004

AlterNet: Election 2004: The Progressive Morality

AlterNet: Election 2004: The Progressive Morality

This lays out better than I could (maybe) what is wrong with the so-called Family Values morality on the right. If you raise your children to live by outside rules and the whip, then you have children who must have rules to control them. If you raise your children to be independent and think for themselves, you will have a real job on your hands, but you will have upstanding and honorable sons and daughters who work to make the world better and can also obtain success in this world. But the getting there is damned hard work. They will think for themselves and that means a challenge. Raising such children is harder than raising those who live under rigid controls.


Blogger Rocky Smith said...

What a narrow minded view of what a "Family Values" family is all about! I have a 12 year old son. He has been raised to know what is right and what is wrong. I don't take a whip to him. He is very intelligent and thinks for himself. He understands why some things are right and some things are wrong. It wasn't "whipped" into him. We spoke to him in reasonable terms and explained why we believe as we do. Yes, he knows the rules. No, we don't beat him senseless for breaking them. He is not out of control if there are no rules. On the contrary, those who are raised without rules in an anything goes environment are more likely to grow up to be trouble. Your liberal slanted views are way off base!

12:58 PM  
Blogger Chuck Rightmire said...

Well, Rocky, it actually sounds as if we agree. I raised my kids the way you seem to be raising yours, from what you say. It doesn't take the rigid rules to teach them right and wrong and how to think for themselves. Obviously, if they are learning to think for themselves you are not rigid on the rules. If the shoe doesn't fit, don't wear it.

1:35 PM  
Blogger Rocky Smith said...

But my son DOES live by somewhat rigid rules, Chuck. That is where we might differ.

6:53 AM  
Blogger Chuck Rightmire said...

Then, Rocky, he's really not thinking for himself. Coloring within the lines is not thinking for oneself.

10:48 AM  
Blogger Rocky Smith said...


I just LOVE your liberal BS! You suggest that living within reasonable rules is stifling my son's ability to learn and experience life? He can't color outside the lines? He is, in fact, very intelligent AND creative. He has experienced much in life that I never did as a child. We don't expect him to live like a monk. He experiences much of what life has to offer. He is limited in that we expect him to follow a reasonable code of behavior. He is not allowed to go wherever he wants whenever he wants. Someone must know where he is, who he is with and what they are doing. There are a couple of kids he is not allowed to associate with since they have demonstrated bad behavior in the past. He is also expected to do all his school work and chores before he gets to play. He is expected to obey the law (no stealing or property destruction etc.) and respect others. These and other rules do not stop him from thinking for himself. He understands why these rules are in place. They are common sense (especially in today's world) rules and I feel sorry for any kid who grows up without them. Lack of rules leads to anarchy. Kids who get to "color outside the lines" are often the ones who get into trouble with the law or grow up to be malcontents.

There may very well be some who are taking their right wing moralist views to an extreme, but there are many on the liberal side who go too far the other way. I think you and I are between these two extremes.

2:24 PM  
Blogger Eric Coobs said...

Kids need boundaries.

Parents should know where their children are, who they're with, what they're doing, and exactly to-the-minute when they'll be back in the door.

It doesn't turn kids into robots, it makes them accountable.

8:30 PM  
Blogger Jill said...

i don't think chuck is saying that kids shouldn't have rules, just that they shouldn't be taught to live their lives according to a set of laws without any meaning behind them other than "rules are rules." you can instill morals in your children by giving them rules coupled with an understanding of why that rule exists (i.e., "wear your helmet when you ride your bike because i care about you and value your safety, and helmets will help protect you in an accident" rather than "wear your helmet because i said so"). children who are brought up under rigid regulations lack purpose in their actions, other than pleasing authority.

i was brought up in a household with relatively strict rules, but the rules were agreed upon as a family, discussed, and modified as necessary. my sister and i understood why they existed, even if we didn't like being the kids with the earliest curfews. we didn't have to have things like regimented "study hours" that a lot of other kids did because we were raised with a broader understanding of what we had to do as individuals to be successful and acheieve our goals; i think this came largely from being raised in a house where individuality and personal decision-making were valued within rule-making.

it's easy to let your kids run wild and do whatever they want. it's also easy to tell them what to do without explanation or qualification and demand that they comply. but neither way is going to raise a thoughful, intelligent free-thinking adult. chuck, you're right on with this on, and other commenters, you sound like you all agree with him more than you realize.

12:25 PM  
Blogger Chuck Rightmire said...

You know, Jill, I agree with you and you said it better, I think, that I could. I just spent a weekend with one of my children, a 40-year-old daughter, who is an outstanding adult with a very caring husband. My boys are all doing well for themselves and are people I am very proud of. They all had rules, but they knew basically what they were for and if they rebelled, they also knew how that might affect them and their future. With the youngest now 36, I'm proud of all four even if they don't always agree with the old man.

8:09 PM  
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