By Jerry James
Oh, how the world has changed since I was a child.
Growing up during the baby boomers years. The time some people rejoice with fond memories of a simpler life. I hear so many people rejoicing in how much better life was back then. I can’t attest to that because there were many America’s and the one I lived in had many challenges just to survive. Life was hard, parents struggled to support their families in an unfair system. America was blinded by privilege or subdued by inclusion. A group of people in a common condition can exist oblivious to others and another group can create a since of community where their common struggle develops a communal support system that provides for their basic needs.
This model was essential because it was known that we were in this together, each subject to the harsh unfair realities in which we lived. I must admit I do miss the togetherness, the respect we had for our elder’s, parents, teachers and the clergy. Our willingness to support each other in our time of need. The pure joy you experienced when you could release the frustrations of life. I guess we all experienced that as Cutis Mayfield would say “We get a little drunk and act a little crazy”. Life is an urban setting can get really real and have a multitude of dangers.
Boy did I get off topic with that but our parents took pride in their children and we were an extension of them. They had a set of established norms and when we stepped outside of them our parents were quick to put us in our place. Discipline was quick but fair. I won’t say I was an angel I know that is a lie. I did some foolish things when I was coming up and I’m sure my mother had her doubts as to whether or not I’d make it to adulthood. I remember one summer weekend I was fifteen me and a much older friend decided to drove to Bridge Port Connecticut for the weekend without telling anyone, not a very good idea. I had a summer job and was making good money for the times. My best friend Steve always took pleasure in telling this story because he was a witness to my return. Steve walked me to door that Sunday evening. Steve always told this story with just dramatic flair that it was always embarrassing. How the door swung open and all you could see was my mother’s hand which grabbed me by the collarand pulled be into our home and slammed the door. I must say I was lucky to survive that night. I thought my mother had lost her mind because she was crying all during the time she was wearing me out. I will always be thankful to my father when he said “Baby that’s enough”. My mother’s final word were “Don’t you ever” then she fell in my father’s arms and cried like a baby for another ten minutes. The hold neighborhood knew the results of that weekend trip.
Today my mother and father would be in jail. I would have been removed from my home and placed with another family to protect me from the cruelty of my mother. A gentle women who would never hurt anyone. It took me years to experience that same moment as my mother. It happen when my five year old daughter bolted from me and ran into oncoming traffic. She was lucky the cars were able to stop but my fears could not stop me. My daughter tells this story herself about how her dad lost his mind on her behind.
Don’t get me wrong I’m not an advocate for corporal punishment but there is a time and place. The state should not stand between a parent and the child. The simple lessons a child needs to learn like not reaching for items on a stove, not running away from a parent when in public, not taking or accepting items from strangers or my favorite not running into the street. Sometimes a degree of discipline is needed because a child has no frame of reference to judge their actions against.
Do we want our children to learn from the consequences of not adhering to these simple rules? Children are curious creatures who need to experience the world but there are some lessons we parents want them never to experience.
Jerry James is the newly elected Central Illinois Chapter BDPA Financial Officer for the 2012-2013 year. Jerry is a thirteen year State Farm employee and is currently assigned as a Network Engineer responsible for third level support for the entire State Farm network. Prior to this assignment, Jerry worked at State Farm as a Project Network Engineer responsible for providing network support.
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