The Values We Lost

The Values We Lost

The Values We Lost

After Parkland, I wrote a lengthy post about how we treat others and their isolation playing a huge part in how they react to us and how they exist in society writ large. Kids get bullied, they get hurt – both physically and emotionally – and sometimes their pain spills over. They can’t take it anymore. They explode. Their agony boils, and all they can think about is stopping those who have made their lives hell. Permanently. I saw a tweet from someone named Bill Mitchell – the host of something called Your Voice America – claiming that certain characteristics in a student almost certainly mean that said student is a potential mass shooter.

How simplistic and unhelpful!

All this serves to do is to further isolate an already lonely kid. Said kid might not be a potential mass murderer, but this kind of cruelty may push him or her to become one.

How about offering this kid a hand in friendship?

How about helping them overcome their shyness?

How about alleviating their loneliness and not automatically and callously branding them a potential murderer, avoiding a self-fulfilling prophecy?

It seems that somewhere along the way, we lost our humanity and our ability to relate to one another, and this Mitchell jackass isn’t helpful.

We have forgotten the values that bind us together.

Family, respect for our nation, community, service, helping our neighbors, and respecting our elders and others with more experience and knowledge.

Today, kids are taught they’re special without having to actually achieve anything. They’re told they deserve a trophy merely for showing up. Grades are no longer an assessment of knowledge and hard work, and teachers are discouraged from criticism and issuing fair performance assessments.

Families are broken because we’re encouraged to go for whatever desire happens to strike us.

Photo credit: NevadaDivorce.org

I say this as someone who was divorced. It would not have been my first choice, but when your spouse spends all your money while you’re on deployment, fails to pay bills, let’s the house fall into disrepair, and allows the kids to skip homework and let their grades lapse, you’re better off going at it on your own.

There are circumstances that warrant splitting up, surely. Abusive spouses do exist. Irreconcilable differences do exist. Sometimes divorce is the only option, but it’s not optimal, and we are so accustomed to easy solutions in our society, we give up instead of putting in the work that’s required to make marriage a success.

And while it would be great to have mom stay at home and raise the children, in today’s society, that’s not always possible. I made twice what my ex did. We couldn’t have made it without my income. Additionally, I grew up wearing clothes, sitting on furniture, and playing with toys rescued from other people’s trash. I had the opportunity to make my kids’ lives better than what I had growing up, and I took it. And anyone who tries to tell me my kids would have been better wearing hand me downs, never having the money for a candy bar, and eating plain chicken and rice or potatoes night after night, as long as mommy stayed home while daddy went to work, can eat a phallus.

That said, a society that shits on moms who have the opportunity and make the choice to stay at home and raise their kids is a society that expects Hillary Clinton’s village to raise the kids while women put their interests ahead of their children’s and follow their desires. It’s a society that puts wants and desires ahead of responsibilities.

An old teacher of mine used to say “responsible adults do what they have to do before doing what they want to do.”

We have somehow forgotten to teach kids this crucial lesson along the way, making their wants and desires a priority, and making any failure to attain said wants and desires a national tragedy in their minds. Is it any wonder that the kids of today lose it at the slightest hint of failure?

Religion. Some say the elimination of God from families is also a contributing factor. Church fosters community, communities work together to help one another, and accountability to a higher power makes us better people. I have nothing but respect for folks who go to church and who feel responsible to God, and more power to them. I’m not one of those people. My parents tried to instill religion in me; it never stuck. I don’t do the right thing because I’m afraid of going to hell. I do the right thing because it’s the right thing.

The problem is somewhere along the way, parents stopped teaching their kids what the right thing is. Somehow, they no longer give them a moral compass. They expect nanny government to do it. They expect the schools to do it. They have stopped teaching their kids objective right and wrong, and have begun teaching them that their desires trump right and wrong and are to be achieved at any cost – even if it hurts others. Whether they are taught this at church or by their parents, they need to be taught it.

Photo courtesy of the US Navy

Traditional values like individualism, achievement, love of country, and community. This is not up to the schools to teach. It’s up to the schools to reinforce. The parents must instill these basic values in their kids. They must teach them respect for authority, respect for their elders, and respect for their teachers. I know it’s en vogue to be buds – on first name basis – with their teachers. I know it’s fashionable to challenge authority, and it sometimes does need to be challenged – we are thinking individuals after all. But thoughtfully questioning and defiance for the sake of rebellion are two different things.

Instead of defending the weak and alone, kids gang up on the freaks and weirdos.

Instead of giving everyone a basic modicum of respect, kids slap around those who are different – those who don’t fit in.

Instead of working to achieve and win on their own merits, attaining a sense of pride in their accomplishments, kids are given participation trophies and to compensate for their shortcomings, because they have nothing on which to base their dignity and self-respect, so they belittle, demean, and disparage others to make themselves feel better. Instead of growing and progressing on their own power, they stagnate and push others around to create the illusion of success for themselves.

The Santa Fe shooter was reportedly rejected by one of the victims whom he murdered. According to reports, he got more and more aggressive, somehow feeling himself entitled to the girl’s attention. It’s likely he was never taught that failure and rejection were part of life. And when inevitably failure happened, he knew no other way than violence, explosives, and guns.

And while hysterical gun grabbers scream for politicians to “take action,” and “do something” about guns, perhaps they should look at themselves, look at their agendas, look at their continued push for the abdication of personal responsibility, their endless drive to substitute the state for parental involvement, their interminable yowling about giving everyone a participation trophy and not allowing anyone to fail as causes for the spate of violence we are seeing.

Perhaps they should look in the mirror.

Written by

Marta Hernandez is an immigrant, writer, editor, science fiction fan (especially military sci-fi), and a lover of freedom, her children, her husband and her pets. She loves to shoot, and range time is sacred, as is her hiking obsession, especially if we’re talking the European Alps. She is an avid caffeine and TWD addict, and wants to own otters, sloths, wallabies, koalas, and wombats when she grows up.

28 Comments
  • Garland Twitty says:

    Most of what you recommend hits the mark, but there is something missing. What is your foundation for “do the right thing”? Yes, we can all agree about the need to be kind, caring, and respectful. But: What is your personal response to someone who is disrespectful, nasty, even bullying? If you believe personal revenge and retaliation is justified, you are not much different (except by degree) from the school shooters.
    One of Christianity’s most important, but little understood, teachings is personal forgiveness of those that harm you: hold no grudge, bear no ill will, let go of anger and animosity. That doesn’t mean you do not take action against bullying etc.; just don’t turn it into a personal vendetta. (And by the way, when in doubt, ask God to help you.)
    Peace.

    • Kate says:

      Garland Twitty
      I’m sure you aren’t suggesting that unless one is a Christian, they cannot have a moral compass? And I just *know* you aren’t suggesting a(ny) non-Christian is barely above a school shooter?

      Even the scriptures say it is through salvation in Christ alone and not good (or bad) works. We’re all sinners. Even you. Please don’t miss the point of salvation. Thank you.

      • PBJ89 says:

        No one is saying that non-religious people can’t have a moral compass. But the moral compass comes from God.

        The only “rule” the natural world has is survival of the fittest.

        I’m sure you aren’t suggesting that unless one is a Christian, they cannot have a moral compass? And I just *know* you aren’t suggesting a(ny) non-Christian is barely above a school shooter?

        I honestly can’t tell where in his comment you got any of that. I would like to suggest instead of asking passive aggressive question, you state your point clearly. Thank you.

        • Kate says:

          No passive aggressive questions here. I’m simply, and clearly, using Garland’s own words. So sorry comprehension is difficult for you. Next!

          • Ken says:

            “I’m simply, and clearly, using Garland’s own words.”

            No. You’re not. No where did Garland suggest “unless one is a Christian, they cannot have a moral compass”, nor “a(ny) non-Christian is barely above a school shooter”. The only thing you’ve done is born false witness, claiming Garland wrote something he didn’t write.

          • Micha Elyi says:

            You are not “clearly, using Garland’s own words”, Kate.

            Next time, use quotation marks. And thank the medieval Catholic monks who invented them (and most other Western punctuation too).

      • Micha Elyi says:

        Perhaps you misunderstand the Christian Scriptures, Kate. “Salvation in Christ alone” includes obeying His commandments. And of those whom He raised up to the office of Apostles, overseers of His Church, He said, “He who hears you, hears Me.” Also I refer you to James 2, especially verse 26, “Faith without works is dead”. Finally, the reference to “works” that Protestants misunderstand is about “works of the law”, the Mosaic law.

        If you want to know what the Bible means, ask the Church–the Catholic Church, because it’s their book. They are the Christians who wrote the Christian Scriptures, compiled them together with the Hebrew Scriptures in common use among the people in Jesus’s day (the Septuagint), authorized them with the authority Jesus gave His Church, transcribed them in order to send copies all over the world, translated them, and preserved them through persecutions and the ages.

        • GWB says:

          No, the Bible is NOT the Roman Catholic Church’s book. It is Christianity’s book. The Christians who wrote Scripture were NOT Roman Catholic. (The Bishop of Rome was only one among equals until well after the first major church councils. And the first major church councils simply put their imprimatur on the canon that was already mostly acknowledged – and did it primarily to combat some goof who was picking and choosing things out of it to support his heresy.)

    • mer says:

      I also noted the “do the right thing because it’s the right thing” line. So I must ask: What is the right thing? Without an anchor or a solid truth to define what is right, how do you know what is right?

      You may say murder is wrong. Why is it wrong? Who made the rule that it is wrong? Is it always wrong? Who says? Why?
      What about stealing, is it right? What if I think it is right? Is it always wrong?
      What if I think it is right to murder a serial killer? What if I think it is right to murder an unborn baby? What if I think it is right to steal from rich people? from the government? from a thug?

      Our society is in turmoil because of such expressions as ‘my truth’ and people who believe they do not need God, they can just ‘do the right thing’. Truth is solid and does not vary based on what a person thinks or believes. Truth has to be based on a foundation, an unwavering anchor, God. Without an anchor, people are afloat and drifting in little boats labeled ‘My Truth’, drifting in a great wide expanse of ocean without any idea of where they are in relation to solid ground.

      You may think “I do the right thing because it’s the right thing” is a great philosophical quip that makes you good without being religious, but it’s not. It makes you your own god, your own arbiter of right and wrong. Which may work out just fine for you, but as you can see all around you, it isn’t doing much for society.

      mer

      • CRCR says:

        This, times 1000. I call it the “Says who?” rule. Not too long ago I listened to a young woman say that she couldn’t blame the Boston Marathon bombers because “to them (the killers) they were doing the right thing” and who was she to judge? They murdered an innocent little 8-year-old boy and two other people, but she thought it was okay (but sad, of course) because the killers had their own “truth”. It was so deeply disturbing. You’re totally right, mer. People are turning into their own gods, and while that might work for some who know the difference between good and evil, it’s all the others that scare me.

  • GWB says:

    Family, respect for our nation, community, service, helping our neighbors, and respecting our elders and others with more experience and knowledge.
    Boy are you behind the times. *eyeroll*
    /sarc

    I don’t do the right thing because I’m afraid of going to hell. I do the right thing because it’s the right thing.
    Actually, Marta, that’s why you’re supposed to be doing the right thing as a Christian, too. Not out of fear, but out of love (though fear of a righteous God has its place).

    Whether they are taught this at church or by their parents, they need to be taught it.
    Your antecedent for “this” is a little confused there. It seems to speak of the bad teachings in the previous sentence. /grammar teacher 🙂

    It’s up to the schools to reinforce.
    Well, this is the whole problem. As the progressives marched through our institutions, they turned virtue on its head, replacing morals with hedonism, humility with narcissism, and reason and critical thinking with “feelz”. The schools stopped reinforcing the morals required to maintain our republic and its freedoms over a generation ago, and it shows throughout our society.

    Instead of defending the weak and alone, kids gang up on the freaks and weirdos.
    Sadly, Marta, this will happen every time you put a bunch of kids in a large enough forced social environment. You can react to it (and end it each time), but you cannot stop it. You can train it out of the children, but only over time. Human beings have a tendency to tribalize, and stepping outside that, even temporarily, is a feat of civilization, not the natural state of man. Children are barbarians and must be trained into civilization. They are not morally pure totems.

    @ Garland:
    I concur that the immediate problem of the Santa Fe shooter is turning anger into revenge. Sadly, when justice fails, a revenge mindset is often the result.
    But this
    you are not much different (except by degree) from the school shooters
    is insulting.

  • Garland Twitty says:

    Thanks for taking time to reply. Unfortunately, this blog does not appear to be set up for longer, more detailed discussions, but if it were, I would like to be able to understand your comments better.

    You are correct that many non-Christians exhibit moral behavior indistinguishable from model Christian behavior.

    Also, some of my language was intentionally provocative to get readers to think about their understanding of right and wrong, in particular whether they believe personal revenge is justifiable (and the slippery slope that can set up).

    • Nicki says:

      I just re-read this post. I see NOTHING in there indicating that the author believes in revenge. There’s a difference between revenge and self-defense, but more than that, turning the other cheek just brings on more abuse.

      I was a Jew in the former USSR. The abuse from both teachers and students there was nothing like you could imagine. For me, it was basic survival to fight back. Would you really tell me that i should have just let them beat me into a bloody pulp?

      I think what the author is saying pretty clearly is that given the kind of abuse kids heap on one another, and given the parental failures in teaching them to stand up, to deal with failure and rejection, and to respect one another, it is unsurprising that they turn violent.

      “Intentionally provocative” language doesn’t make people reading your comments on the internet think more profoundly about the issues. It makes them react to you like you’re a self-righteous, preachy ass. Sorry!

    • Twitty Garland says:

      “Also, some of my language was intentionally provocative to get readers to think about their understanding of right and wrong”

      We are indeed blessed that Garland Twitty provoked us so we could see the errors of our ways.

  • Garland Twitty says:

    Thanks for engaging!

    A. I agree MH does not address the topic of revenge: she primarily address the importance of kindness and respect, which bullies lack. Surely, teaching that revenge is wrong is just as important.
    B. Thanks bringing up the differences between self-defense and revenge. We agree that the former is justifiable, but surely the latter is not.
    C. Provocative language: maybe not the right word? The objective is not unlike that of the classic parables: to engage the listener in dialog about basic principles.

    • Marta Hernandez says:

      While I agree that teaching that revenge is wrong is important, I would also submit that perhaps this lesson would be a little less necessary if we – as a society – taught respect for one another from an early age. I know bullying has existed since the beginning of time, it seems like, but it does seem more prevalent these days – in more and varied ways. 🙁

  • Bull says:

    A compass only shows you where North is.
    A moral compass likewise needs a fixed point beyond itself.
    A moral compass that points to self, not to God, is useless.

  • Jeff Cox says:

    “Instead of defending the weak and alone, kids gang up on the freaks and weirdos.

    “Instead of giving everyone a basic modicum of respect, kids slap around those who are different – those who don’t fit in.”

    With all due respect, when exactly in history have kids “defended the weak and alone” and “given everyone a modicum of respect”? The answer, as far as I can tell, is never. As long as humans have existed there were bullies, there were loners, there were cliques, there were outcasts. Among kids and even among adults, where they can become political. Spartans versus Helots. Patricians versus Plebeians. Optimates versus Populares. Blues versus Greens. Guelfs versus Ghibellines. And on and on and on and on.
    If you believe that kids should defend the weak and alone and give everyone a modicum of respect, I agree. If you believe that kids should be taught to defend the weak and alone and give everyone a modicum of respect, I’m there. But don’t pretend there has been some point in time when kids in general have “defended the weak and alone” and “given everyone a modicum of respect[.]” That has never been the case. And in suggesting that it was, you are both missing potential causes of the problem as well as potential solutions.

    • ark35 says:

      This is true. I grew up in a traditional, tight-knit, stable, and even tranquil, if a little rough around the edges, blue-collar city neighborhood. Everyone knew everyone else, and you had to face your neighbors in school, in church, in the grocery store on Friday nights, etc. That didn’t stop some kids (and adults) from being azzholes. Bullying, obnoxious, childish azzholes who so very clearly didn’t care about the effects of their bad behavior. On the flip side, I see looking back that there were kids who must’ve been terribly lonely. We didn’t reach out to them, and teachers did little to include them. My parents talked to me about not excluding people and how I should try to put myself in their place. But mostly, us kids seemed to look upon bullies and the bullied as inevitable figures: it’s just how it was. I do believe, however, that some key factors have changed for the worst. Narcissism and antisocial behavior are so much more pervasive. I’m willing to say that it’s almost become our culture. The complete inability to see anything except how affects you, a lack of empathy and remorse, an utterly dysfunctional need for control and the outsize rage displayed when that control is challenged…. It’s as if that one bullying, obnoxious neighborhood azzhole is everywhere. I don’t blame people for looking back and thinking, We were never *that* bad.

  • Tom Maguire says:

    If a person believes in revenge they aren’t different from a school shooter, except in degree? Say what? The degree is the point.
    I’m not hoping everyone will be saints – I’m hoping they stop being school shooters!
    If the kid in Texas had chosen to key ten cars instead of shooting ten kids we’d be a better world.

  • Otto says:

    The author makes a major mistake.

    They confuse being an introvert with shyness, and suggest we help introverts get over their shyness.

    Introverts are NOT shy.

    Worse, the author assumes that being an introvert is abnormal–that it is a problem that needs to be fixed.

    Wrong again. It is a normal personality trait. Lincoln, Bill Gates, Einstein, Elenor Roosevelt, Darwin, Gandi, Steven Spielberg, and Clint Eastwood are introverts. All did pretty well in life.

  • Dan Hamilton says:

    You are ALL missing a very important point:
    There used to be Acceptable LEVELS of VIOLENCE, a Boys fight.
    This was limited, had rules, and was generally accepted that it happens, not that it is GOOD.
    Causes: Mostly someone that has been bullied finally has HAD IT and FIGHTS Back.
    For a very long time it has been taught in schools that Violence is NEVER acceptable under ANY circumstances.
    This has lead to there being NO consequences for the Bullies at all.
    Also means there is NO relief for the Victim AT ALL.
    We hear all the time about Bullies being reported but nothing being done to them and they continue.
    What is left for the Victim to DO when it has become intolerable?
    Some Victims commit suicide.
    Some decide to ATTACK and KILL their Bullies, since ALL VIOLENCE is WRONG, WHY NOT?

    Without acceptable levels of violence there can be no way out. The pressure builds up and is either directed internally (Suicide) or externally (Killing).

    • GWB says:

      This has lead to there being NO consequences for the Bullies at all.
      Not entirely. It usually means both the bully and the victim get punished. Which feeds your next sentence: No relief for the victim. (I called it justice; both are workable.)

      Really, though, it’s not the level of violence at issue, but the reason for the violence, as bullies are concerned. (I *would* argue that some rough-housing should be allowed, though the progs view it as “violence”. It is legitimate expression of being boys in many ways.)

  • Garland Twitty says:

    Thanks for the response.
    It sounds like you’re saying that as long as no one is harmed, revenge is acceptable. Or maybe that if we could just talk would-be shooters into non-lethal revenge, mission accomplished.
    There are two problems with that alternative: (a) revenge actions have long history of escalation, until finally one of the parties decides serious harm, if not lethality, is the solution. (Consider potential follow-on scenarios if the would-be shooter had keyed ten cars.) (b) Holding on to anger and a grudge, and planning revenge of any kind, will in the end do YOU serious harm.
    Can we agree revenge is not acceptable, and find a way to instill that principle into our culture?
    Thanks for listening. I will let you have the last word.

    • GWB says:

      Revenge can only be thwarted when justice takes its place. That is THE proper purpose of most constituted authority on Earth. When it fails, you will eventually get a revenge culture.

  • […] an example of our reluctance to actually address the real issue, observe the attempt of Victory Girls to try to explain all of […]

  • Hammerin' Hank says:

    LOL! As the pot calls the kettle black.

    “It seems that somewhere along the way, we lost our humanity and our ability to relate to one another, and this Mitchell jackass isn’t helpful.
    WE HAVE FORGOTTEN THE VALUES THAT BIND US TOGETHER.
    Family, respect for our nation, COMMUNITY, service, HELPING OUR NEIGHBORS, and RESPECTing our elders and others with more experience and knowledge.”

    The internet has provided a medium that has allowed charlatans to call themselves writers and influence an entire generation of impressionable Americans.

  • Hammerin' Hank says:

    So, after my comment about charlatans, I went back and finished reading.
    Marta, in all sincerity, if you have not already sought therapy, it helps. If you have, keep going. As with learning about a difficult topic, repetition is key. It really does help.
    Best regards,
    Henry

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