“Out of life’s school of war – what doesn’t kill me, makes me strong.” — Friedrich Nietzsche.
My six-year-old son has had severe separation anxiety lately. It’s been a challenge for my family as we literally can’t walk into another room without him freaking out – and bedtime is a nightmare.
The other night, I sat down with him and told him some stories from my childhood.
They weren’t pretty but I explained to my son that I was thankful for all of the bad things because they made me stronger.
It took him a bit to process, but he got it. Every time he overcame his fear of me leaving, every time he accepted being uncomfortable and afraid, he got stronger.
Unfortunately, that lesson is lost in our “no harm” society.
And so are the benefits.
While I don’t condone it nor agree with it, when I was a boy, I was brutally beaten by my step- father at least a few times a year.
I recall the first bad beating I took and looking down at my legs to see blood seeping out of little skull and flower imprints on my skin. I had been beaten with a leather belt with rose imprints and wasn’t spared the buckle, which was a big, silver, rodeo-style belt buckle with skulls on it.
It took me a few days to recover and be able to walk again, but after that day, I knew I was stronger.
With each beating, I feared them less and less and learned how to accept the temporary pain while planning my exit.
At age 12, I was outta there, knowing that life on the streets was something I could easily deal with . . . and I was right.
I never feared much, because I had been hardened by unnecessary brutality at an early age. And I continue to be thankful for it.
Again, by no means to I condone abuse, it was just my reality.
At 18, I joined the United States Marine Corps, and I couldn’t understand why my follow recruits Boot Camp were literally shaking in terror the first few days and nights. I thought to myself, “the Drill Instructors can’t kill us, so what’s the big deal?”
Looking back at my life in comparison to what my own children will face along with a few current generations of men and women, I have to say, “we’ve got a big f’ing problem.”
With a few exceptions of rural communities where it can still be a bit rough and tumble, our youth are screwed.
Our society, from corporations to our own government is instilling in the minds of youth that it’s unacceptable to be offended . . . it’s absolutely forbidden to be physically or mentally hurt.
Any slight against another person is met with a swift reaction to stop the supposed offender.
We’re being taught to be neutral toward any characteristic of another human being to the point of being ridiculous.
Pop culture has embraced “healthy obesity” – sorry there is nothing healthy about a 500-pound woman bopping around claiming health and happiness.
Worse, we’re teaching any racial or cultural minority in America that the reason for their lack of success is due to “systemic racism.”
As actual interpersonal racism is rare these days (it’s a bit hard to find an open, outright bigot today), blame has been shifted to institutions that are racist – courts, police, corporations, etc.
High crime conviction rates among blacks are blamed on racist court systems rather than the realization that black communities have fostered cultures of crime and violence (and yes, I’ve lived it).
The benefits demanded by the Left to make up for America’s history of slavery – from Affirmative Action, to government-subsidized housing projects and Obamaphones are doing nothing more than delaying the harsh realities of life for most minority men and women.
That harsh reality is simple: Life is hard, be harder.
But that lesson isn’t acceptable today. School districts are running with curriculum that blames the lack of success of black Americans on “institutional racism” and that it’s their obligation to make their communities “uncomfortable” with protests until change is enacted.
You can see what I’m referring by taking a look at the “Black Lives Matter” curriculum that’s offered by BrainPop – a private producer of educational materials used by 25% of U.S. Schools.
While our schools are busy indoctrinating our school children, our government institutions are working to “re-educate” us older folks with “woke” ad campaigns being released by everyone from the CIA to the U.S. Army.
But the greatest harm is being done by Big Tech companies Facebook, Google and Twitter who have engineers working to quell any form of dissent online.
Calling someone fat, ugly or a racial slur is certainly rude in the real world – but it happens (or did). But today in the place where most youth “live” – online – you’re cancelled for “bullying” if you engage in any behavior that offends another human being.
Does “Cancel Culture” teach the supposed offender a lesson? No, it radicalizes them against censorship.
The rude behavior is seen as a right – and I sincerely agree that it is.
People have a right to be racist, ignorant or just flat out mean. And we have a right to openly consider those people to be assholes.
Growing up, anyone had a right to come up to me and call me names for being poor. They had a right to harass my sister and call her names in front of me.
They didn’t get “cancelled” at the time because that happened well before the Internet and Facebook.
Instead, any of the kids who wanted to try and be rude to me or anyone I loved, got punched in the mouth.
That was my right.
And you know what? Their behavior changed.
But that’s long in the past.
We’ve become a nation of blame-layers with blanket solutions to stamp out everything from racism and rudeness to a lack of success.
The end result is obvious to me – a nation of pussies who run from the slightest fear of confrontation and avoid putting in the hard work that’s necessary for success.
As government and general society has failed America, it’s up to parents to give their children the opportunities to become strong.
I’ve come to learn that being the best parent possible means doing the things that suck and feel unnatural to most loving people.
When a child scrapes their knee and freaks out like they’ve just been impaled with a two-by-four, you don’t coddle, you raise your voice and tell them to stop being a baby.
When your son gets laid out on the football field by a much larger kid, you don’t go screaming to coaches that they have to change the rules to prevent injuries. You pull your son up and tell him to shake it off and work harder.
And when that day comes when your child is roughed up by neighborhood kids, you don’t call the cops or go screaming to their parents. You give your child an option: learn to fight or keep getting beat up.
Most importantly, we must teach our children that words only carry the weight we allow them. We choose to be offended by others – or we can choose to walk away with a smile.