5 Things I Don't Want My Kids To Say (Originally Published On 08/17/2018)

1) Alcohol was a problem in the house. 2) Drugs were a problem in the house. 3) Violence was a problem in the house. 4) Religion was a problem in the house. 5) Free speech was a problem in the house.

I come across more and more people whose lives were radically changed by the influence of something as simple as a poor decision. This seems like the most cliche of statements because, in one form or another, who hasn't had their life changed by a decision made by another? If one could easily determine smoking a cigarette with children in the car constitutes 'child abuse' or, more likely, its counterpart 'child endangerment', then it is not an unfounded suggestion that lack of a proper diet or bed time is also behavior of a negative inflection.

There is a scheme which maintains the importance of protecting - not in the sense of overprotecting - children; however, in rationalizing the importance of protecting children, the actual principle tends to be violated by what is deemed "too immature", though this is often articulated as "yes, but I'm an adult, and I can do what I want", and while, to some degree, there is validity to this statement, it is not to be the standard. If the emphasis on protecting children is indeed valid, which I believe to be so, then the partnering value, consistency, needs cultivated as well; manifesting the protecting of children while maintaining this air of being "too grown to need any sort of rule or guide to protect me" creates a volatile environment which broods with  irresponsible situations and is considerably ahead in the race of inconsistent ideas.

Being raised to be able to critique ones self and ones own thoughts, intentions, values, goals, aspirations, looks, reasons, abilities, desires, and most other aspects of the abstract is paramount in being responsible, on a practical level, of ones self. Bearing this in mind, I have realized there are five things I don't want my children to say:

1) Alcohol was a problem in the house.

I'm not talking about either of the adults having a glass of wine while the kids are gone on one activity or another, or even having a beer (eww) with a steak at a cookout. I'm also not talking about the bottles hidden deep in the refrigerator as to be out of the line of sight of the younger kids.

I am talking about the endless cans populating the recycling garbage bag because the drunken adult has just finished off a 24 pack in 4 hours. I am talking about wildly inappropriate behaviors and impairment brought about by the consumption of alcoholic drinks. Alcohol consumption without reasonable moderation is highly problematic, therefore it is on this list.

2) Drugs were a problem in the house.

Firstly, I am not splitting hairs, in this article, as to the definition of a "drug". Secondly, regardless of the definition, it was hard to go with "drugs" instead of "intoxicant" because one could eat rotten beans, hallucinate and it not actually be considered an instance of "drug" issue nor are all drugs, in a broad sense, bad.

I do not condone drugs use, I should say that upfront. I do think, though, that folks should be able to administer virtually any drug as they see fit; that is not to say that there should be no laws to protect folks. I think it should also be mentioned that drug use has been intimately tied to crimes of an extreme nature and, thusly, is problematic.

3) Violence was a problem in the house.

Violence, as it is said, is never the answer. I disagree. I think there times when a person or a thing need to be violently beaten. The principal of the aforementioned adage is that one should think through their actions before committing to an action that inflicts a nearly unmeasurable amount of physical pain; this is the lesson we attempt to instill into the consciousness of children so it becomes part of an invaluable skill set.

Unlike drug use or alcohol abuse, which could arguably be grouped together, violence does not always manifest itself in a pure, tangible form, rather it tends to be an option chosen by and carried out from the mind, then delegated to the body  where it is enacted. Violence itself is not bad, nor are drugs or alcohol, but it is the willingness, almost at the drop of a hat or spilling of the milk, to physically fight. This willingness is typically what martial arts training attempts to work though; the fog that clouds decision making must be lifted in order to anticipate or calculate steps.

4) Religion was a problem in the house.

For most, religion is a touchy subject because it is deeply personal and, in some cases, requires one to learn and understand the basic functions of life. It is when the structure of religion is pushed without explanation or foundation that religion finds itself in murky waters.

This is not the point where I criticize Islam or Hinduism, rather the point where I say that the line between being stern and forceful is sometimes very thin and this is a generation of hypersensitive young people who are bound to overreact because the emphasis has been placed on reacting and not responding responsibly.

7) Free speech was a problem in the house.

The chicken that lays the golden egg. This is the foundation on which nearly all the western world is build; this idea that you can say whatever you'd like to say. It is often debated as a necessary evil by those who do not think America is a good place.

This was composed utilizing the very freedom to speak these folks criticize. It is mind blowing. The freedom to speak is a massive part of why we left England. Aside from that, there is no place on our planet where free speech is law; there is nowhere else on Earth that puts the government in a subserviant position to the citizen when it comes to speech. Sure, there are those that abuse such a right and they do not represent me, but just as they are not held responsible for my words, I am not held responsible for theirs. If free speech were an issue in the house, perhaps we should ask what was said because the words used should not be conflated with being able to speak freely, that can be problematic.

Thank you for reading.