Monday, September 22, 2008

Shed a tear for these poor kids

Some recent complaining at a school board meeting and on one of the O-R blogs has given support to my belief that we have coddled our children to the point that even the slightest imposition is tantamount to asking them to clean Mount Rushmore with a toothbrush. When I had young children, I'll admit to trying to do what I could to make life easy for them and let them enjoy their youth as much as possible, but some of the comments made at a recent Peters Township school board meeting reflected a level of "nurturing" way beyond anything I was guilty of. At issue is a new district policy limiting student parking at the school to seniors, along with some juniors who meet certain qualifications (such as those who have to get to after-school jobs, I assume). To hear some of the students griping at the meeting, you would have thought they were being tortured in the halls of the high school. Two juniors who spoke to the board said they have to arrive at school "five to 10 minutes early" if they are forced to ride the bus. Good lord. Five to 10 minutes?!?!? One youngster also related the harrowing tale of the time he had to walk home after a school activity, in the rain, no less. He said he had been "deprived" of an hour of his life. Poor baby. Of course, after hearing these heart-wrenching stories, several board members said they would revisit the policy. I didn't drive to school regularly when I was a younster, and I didn't feel especially deprived, even though my parents didn't rush out to buy me a car the minute I turned 16. We now live in a different age, clearly. Close on the heels of the Peters Township meeting came an unexpected loss by the Canon-McMillan football team on Friday night. Mike Kovak's Varsity Letters blog was abuzz with people analyzing how the team had failed. Did they come down on the kids for not playing to the best of their abilities? Not so much. Most of the armchair analysts, including at least one person identifying him or herself as a parent of a football player, blamed the coach for working the poor little ones too hard and leaving them so tired that they just couldn't perform up to expectations. Do you remember being tired when you were 17 or 18? I don't. I'm at a loss for words. Perhaps you have some to share.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

That walk home might've done that kid some good, particularly when you consider the number of overweight young'uns out there...

--Brad Hundt

September 22, 2008 at 2:51 PM  
Blogger PRIguy said...

That kid wasn't deprived of an hour of his life; he still lived it. He just didn't get to live it the way he thought he should be able to.

I have no use for these whiny, self-indulgent little brats. So many of them have been handed everything and done nothing to earn rewards like cars. The blame goes entirely on the parents for coddling their children and showering them with material things. But the sense of entitlement is rampant and affects everyone.

Despite my best efforts, my son saw so much of this that he resented me for not giving him a cell phone and other goodies. I vividly recall a conversation we had a few years ago. He was a junior in high school. He asked me if I would buy him a car. His reasoning, he said, was that with a car, he would be more likely to get to school every day. You know, as opposed to using the buses that run on regular schedules and stop at his house. I told him no, no car. He threw up his hands and said, "Well, there goes college!" I said, "What?" He said, "If you can't afford a car, you can't afford college!" I told him that I didn't say I couldn't afford either of them. I said I wouldn't pay for a CAR. I told him I would be happy to pay for college. But in his eyes, his chances for higher education went straight out the window.

There's nothing wrong with a good spanking. There's nothing wrong with teaching a child that earning something is infinitely more rewarding than sticking out one's hand and it being filled with something good. There's nothing wrong with a little inconvenience or a hard day's work. It builds character, and this generation is sorely lacking character and inner strength. Every time something slightly negative happens, grief counselors are brought in, everyone has a damned candlelight vigil, and the tears flow. It might be old-fashioned, but what ever happened to "suck it up?"

I hate to sound like the old grandpa banging his cane on the porch, but this country is going to be in a world of hurt when this generation is running commerce and government.

September 22, 2008 at 3:28 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

Years ago, I was having some issues in my first marriage and went to talk with a friend who had been through some marital travails of his own to see what advice he might have. At one point, he said, "Have you thought about counseling?" I told him something to the effect that only weak-minded people go spill their guts to some "counselor." He said, "Well, um, I went to a counselor." Oops. I spent the next few minutes looking for a hole to crawl into, but I still feel the same way about "counseling." If I have something I need to get off my chest, I'll talk with my spouse or a close friend, not some stranger who knows nothing about me.

September 22, 2008 at 3:59 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

Did I miss something?


September 22, 2008 at 4:08 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...



September 22, 2008 at 4:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brant, perhaps if you had done the counciling you would not be referring to your "first marraige". Sometimes we do things for others even though we are not totally comfortable with it.

I agree that these kids are lacking a little perspective though. I imagine that we were all a little self-centered at that age. I recently read that our children will not be "grown up" when they are able to take care of themselves, but rather when they are able to take care of someone else.

September 23, 2008 at 8:58 AM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

Awe, but then he wouldn't be married to his wonderful wife now! What a horrible thing to say!

-ellipses... kinda playing a game

September 23, 2008 at 9:11 AM  
Blogger PRIguy said...

Regarding the second anon poster's comment about Brant's first marriage and counseling (please check your spelling), I'd just like to state that counseling is NOT a panacea. It doesn't save everything or solve all problems.

I've been in some counseling over the years (not marital) but it helped me tremendously. So I had my son see two counselors, a psychologist and a psychiatrist to try to find out what to do about his raging temper, and none of them was able to help him. The point is counseling works for some and doesn't for others.

I know Brant's first wife and I know his second wife. Trust me, there wasn't much that could have prevented a divorce from the former. Counseling would have been a waste of time...completely useless. His second wife, however, is an intelligent, lovely lady and I can assure you that they are quite happily married. I only hope that I can be as lucky as he was when my second time for marriage comes around.

Stating that these children from the original post lack a little perspective redefines understatement. I don't know if you've been around some of the folks younger than 20 years old, but many of them are demanding, greedy, self-centered and have a sense of entitlement that would make royalty blush. Did you see the video from a few months ago that showed the two teen girls who robbed two much younger girl scouts of the money from their cookie sales? Their reason? They "wanted some money" and the "girl scouts had some." They used the stolen money to go to Starbuck's. Lacking a little perspective? I consider that sociopathic.

September 23, 2008 at 9:54 AM  
Anonymous Steelerfan43 said...

I completely agree with Priguy. I couldn't of put it better myself.

September 23, 2008 at 10:46 AM  
Anonymous PT Mom said...

Brant, Thank you for this article. Those of us in PT, that don't feel sorry for the poor kids that can not drive to school, are being touted as uncaring parents. These parents and students have an appalling sense of entitlement.

September 23, 2008 at 10:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"They suggested awarding passes to underclassmen based on grade-point averages."

These two 16 year old children went to a school board meeting and spoke up about an issue that has been handled differently in the past. They also brought with them a proposed solution. The solution would not necessarily benefit themselves.

I respect these children for voicing their opinions. You don't have to agree with them but shame on you for criticizing them. You are speaking your opinions anonymously on a blog while they had the courage to do so publicly.

September 23, 2008 at 12:00 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

It looks as if you are the only one commenting anonymously. Everyone else is at least using a "screen name" so we have some idea who they are. My full name is on this blog. I stand 100 percent behind my comments. When students are whining about having to get to school five or 10 minutes early when they ride the bus, or of ONCE having to walk home from school, they deserve to be mocked.

September 23, 2008 at 12:23 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

Also, do you think these two students might have really high grade-point averages and might, themselves, benefit from that sort of special dispensation? Hmmmmmm. I wonder.

September 23, 2008 at 12:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that these children are learning a valuable lesson in the political process. I am sure that these kids (who did not rob Girl Scouts by the way) took some personal risk by speaking.

While these students fail to see the bigger picture, I think it is great they got involved and spoke at the meeting, even though they risked being assailed by bloggers who have no more clue about the world than they do.

I cannot feel sorry for these kids in terms of their parking situation, but they did what they thought was right, at personal risk.

Every generation has felt the generation behind them is somehow more spoiled, lazy, etc. Every generation has also felt the generation ahead of them is hopelessly out of touch.

It is not hard for adults to take these kind of shots at kids. Maybe it somehow makes us adults feel better about ourselves by bringing the youth down.

Just because it is easy to do does not mean that we should do it.

September 23, 2008 at 12:28 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

Mocking Peters Township high school kids over parking rights IS kinda like shooting wolves from a helicopter...


September 23, 2008 at 12:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, many of these kids are simply following the example of many of their parents, who walk into work consistently late or one minute prior to starting time and line up at the time clock five minutes before quitting time. I grew up under the mandate, "If you're on time, you're late." I can't tell you how many jobs I've had where so-called adults who refuse to get up an extra 10 minutes early bring breakfast with them and eat it at their desks -- cereal, three-course McDonalds breakfast, you name it.

I can see why a high school senior who has a job to get to right after school might need a car, but if they are driving just to avoid buses, that's just plain indulgent.

Brant, counseling can work, even though I agree that in a good marriage, spouses should discuss everything. Having someone to talk to who has no interest in the situation is always good. Sometimes that's a friend; however, a counselor or therapist serves the same prupose. A good counselor will never tell you what to do, but after listening to your story should be able to suggest possible causes or at least steer you into asking yourself the right questions and finding the right answers. That said, I do think that too many kids are diagnosed with psychological problems these days when what's really lacking is parental authority.

September 23, 2008 at 1:00 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

Right you are. Too much medicine. Not enough discipline.

September 23, 2008 at 1:49 PM  
Blogger PRIguy said...

Thank you, Steelerfan43.

Since there are several postings by "anonymous" again, and we have no idea which is which, if they even are different people, I'll have to just take a shot:

To the anonymous poster who pointed out that the students went through the channels to get something they wanted, yes, you're right. They went about it the right way, and they deserve credit for it.

However, no one here is saying the entire generation is a problem. These students could very well be the exception. As there is in every generation, there are those who rise to the top and those whose actions denigrate a large portion of their group.

Judging by the way you cheer for the students, my guess is that you either have no children at all or that you're one of the parents who indulges his or her child's every whim, thereby contributing to that sense of entitlement we're discussing.

If you have no children, you have no perspective. If you're not around children of this generation and don't interact with them on a regular basis, you have no perspective. And if you do have children like the ones we're discussing, your perspective is skewed.

I have a 19-year-old son and a 22-year-old daughter. I was a restaurant manager for three years and supervised a group of kids who were juniors in college down to sophomores in high school. I did some teaching for a while too. I've seen it firsthand. You're in the minority here.

September 23, 2008 at 2:07 PM  
Anonymous Poor Baby! said...

You want to see some great comments from this story?
Check out:

September 23, 2008 at 2:08 PM  
Anonymous PT Mom said...

Brant and Priguy,

Thank you for your verbalizations that made me realize I'm not a crazy mean ole' ogre! Well, maybe I am but am no longer ashamed!

My oldest child is old enough to drive and realizes what a privilege it is to even touch the car keys. Other people in this community make the assumption that I do not trust my child and am depriving my child joy in life because I exercise parental authority.

I also think it is wonderful these kids spoke up, however I don't necessarily support their viewpoint. The guidelines the school district adopted are perfectly reasonable. All school districts have some parameters established for student driving and it's not such a horrible thing.

You have a new fan!

September 23, 2008 at 2:45 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

Welcome. I hope you'll become a regular.

September 23, 2008 at 3:21 PM  
Blogger PRIguy said...

Thanks for the kind words pt mom. I applaud you for not caving in to what amounts to parental peer pressure. I took a lot of heat from my son when I wouldn't finance a cell phone, provide a car and insurance for him, or hand him money just because he needed it. I don't live in an affluent area myself, although the school he attended had its share of the type of kids we're discussing. I guess it's tough for the kids to see everyone around them being handed anything and everything, but in the long run, they'll understand that what we tried to do as parents is a good lesson.

When I was in high school, I was fortunate enough to be able to go to Germany on a school trip. My parents paid for the trip with the proviso that I pay them back. The trip cost about one thousand dollars (1975 money) total. That summer, I worked on a horse farm. I shoveled horse crap most of the day, but I paid my parents back every nickel. Of the 18 of us who went, only me and one other guy paid his own way. I was resentful at the time, but more than 35 years later, I can say with pride that at the age of 15 I paid for my own trip to Europe.

Parents won't always be there as a safety net, and the sooner children learn to take responsibility for their lives and actions, the better off they are. So kudos to you, pt mom, and keep up the good work. Your children will be the ones I mentioned earlier...the ones who rise to the top. Good parenting is work. You'll reap the rewards, I'm sure.

September 23, 2008 at 4:12 PM  
Blogger Roger said...

As someone who is often in PT residential areas at 2:45 p.m. every day, I can attest to the number of high school drivers. They come home for five minutes, drive back out, are home again, then back out, back/forth for the rest of the afternoon. Some cars are full of students, and are being dropped off in front of their house (remember, the bus stops are usually at corners, and that means the student would have to walk a distance to/from their house to the stop).

Also, I see buses that are very scant on passengers. Yesterday, I saw one that was leaving the high school that had four students. It was a full-sized bus.

I keep thinking about the "new generation that thinks green." I don't think so. There is no shortage of $3.50/gal gasoline to fill these cars, while the taxpayers keep the buses filled with diesel fuel.

When these students do arrive home on a 65-70 degree day, the AC is humming, and has been humming all day. I guess opening/closing windows is only for the window washers, not the residents. Conservation on the front of the mind -- NOT!

Yes, the affluent neighborhoods are populated with parents who don't know the meaning of "no." Consider the case of the Bethel Park School District going so far as to have drawings and proposals made for building a new high school on property that includes a provision of "no building." When they were told their plans wouldn't be approved, they were astounded. Just as they didn't know what "no" meant, so too are the parents of many of these students. Of course, their thinking is easily passed down to these students. When they hear "no" to their requests, they believe the "no" surely applies to others, not themselves.

Having said that, I do applaud the boys for coming to the public meeting. However, some adult should have counseled them about coming with a real reason for their request, not the "5 to 10 minutes early" reasoning. This made them look foolish.

September 23, 2008 at 8:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A clarification for you...

Those boys were not upset about arriving 5-10 minutes early. They requested access to parking because they wanted to arrive even earlier to have take part in tutoring and test reviews that apparently takes place before school.

I do not know these boys, but I was at the meeting. Their comment was taken out of context in the article.

September 24, 2008 at 9:00 AM  
Blogger Brant said...

I do apologize if that was the case, although the central issue remains the same. Driving a car to school is not a prerequisite for getting a good education. And how do the 15-year-olds who want to take part in tutoring and test reviews get to school early? I'm guessing their parents or someone else drops them off. Those who don't receive parking passes will just have to do the same thing.

September 24, 2008 at 9:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After reading the article, I thought that Terri T. Johnson had shown bad judgement in including the quotes from the children.

Now I wonder if the author is just plain lacking in character.

September 24, 2008 at 9:22 AM  
Blogger Brant said...

The "children" spoke at a public meeting on a major issue up for debate. Of course it was proper to quote them. To say otherwise is ridiculous. As to whether their comments were misconstrued, I have no idea because I wasn't at the meeting. Is it possible a mistake was made. Sure. Just like you and I make mistakes regularly in our daily lives. And making a mistake, if it happened, is NOT a reflection of someone's character. It's just asinine to say that.

September 24, 2008 at 9:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I make a mistake, I read about it in the OR. If OR makes a mistake, a correction is printed.

September 24, 2008 at 10:10 AM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

Jeez, she didn't break the law or anything... I made a mistake and yesterday and left an important folder on the dining room table... that wasn't in the OR... but if I had been pulled over all drunk and weaving, THEN it would probably be in there... with no mention of my lost folder. C'mon now, that's not even apples and oranges... that's apples and file cabinets.

-ellipses... had to look around to find an object suitably different from an apple

September 24, 2008 at 10:17 AM  
Blogger Brant said...

Unless someone is making really crappy life choices, or they're public figures, their day-to-day mistakes do NOT end up in the O-R.

September 24, 2008 at 10:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

really? those children didn't make crappy life choices and they're not public figures. If they said those things, they must now feel as if that was a mistake. They were written about in a way that you said they deserved to be mocked! OR must be standing behind the article since no correction was issued.

September 24, 2008 at 10:59 AM  
Blogger Brant said...

They CHOSE to speak at a PUBLIC meeting. Jeez. As for a correction, if one of those kids called the paper and said, hey, our comments were misconstrued, we most likely would run a clarification. But we don't run corrections based on a single assertion by an anonymous blog poster.

September 24, 2008 at 11:02 AM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

That one kid has a tail... I didn't see THAT in your article!

-anonymous blog poster

September 24, 2008 at 11:05 AM  
Blogger PRIguy said...

I just don't see why this is so hard for anonymous to understand. The students are juniors in high school and licensed drivers. It's not like the OR was quoting first-graders who were forced to address a committee. The students knew they were going before the school board. A school board meeting is a public forum, and as such, these students willingly put themselves in the public eye...and therefore are subject to the scrutiny and comments of the public.

Once again, anonymous posters deviate from the discussion at hand and assault the character of someone not even involved in the discussion, in this case, Terri Johnson. Let's stick to the subject, please.

September 24, 2008 at 11:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What you say in a public meeting is fair game. You don't have to give permission to be quoted. That's why they're called "public" meetings. It's a good lesson in thinking before you speak, or keeping your mouth shut if you don't want someone to find out what you said. If the kids don't know that school board meetings are on the record, then the civics classes in school -- if they even offer them these days --need to be mandatory.

Standard procedure for reporting should be to try to present all sides of the situation to preserve balance. If the reporter presents only those quotes which support only one side of the story, that's slanting.

Slanted articles in newspapers are called opinion pieces or columns. Eh ... or blogs.

September 24, 2008 at 11:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just to let everyone know - not all of us think their children are "entitled" to have whatever their little hearts desire. Some of us even teach their children to be respectful and work hard for what they want.
Please don't lump everyone into the same category just because we happen to live in PT, too. Some of us are just regular people, not elitists.

September 24, 2008 at 6:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blogs lend themeves to lumping, but for future reference, just asssume that each of my post has "of course this doesn't apply to everyone" at the end.

September 25, 2008 at 3:49 PM  
Anonymous PT Mom said...

I just had to let people know, if anyone reads this, that this issue was raised again at the PTSD school board meeting. There was a large crowd and after parking was discussed, everyone got up an left. You know, this is the most important subject related to public education of children in this district. Many students and parents spoke as to why everyone needs to drive to school and cars should be double parked.

Some poor woman spoke about her child having Mono but he had to go to school for two classes because he would fall too far behind. Well, he had no way of getting home or to the doctor after his two classes. She had to leave work to get him. The bottom line argument is, he will fall behind because he can't drive to school for two classes.

I guess once children learn to drive they are on their own; no more parenting responsibilities when they become ill. I also appreciated hearing that children are walking around a public school with Mono!

I've heard it all! PT needs to adopt a policy like the USC school district and be done with it. What a bunch families unthankful for what they have here.

October 22, 2008 at 8:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if it is just this generation of raising kids or the neighborhood that I live in, but I find it ridiculous that Peters Township School District always bends their ways to the complainers and/or the minority. What are we teaching our children? When I grew up only seniors got to drive and that was a luxury. No parent would go to the school board and complain of such a trivial issue. If parents are so busy that they can't pick a child up, maybe they should put their children before money. Another thing that really bothers me is why does my child have to bring only fresh fruits and vegetables for their snack? I'm told allergies. Just how many children have severe allergies that they can't be around ranch dip with those fresh veggies? I bet it is less than 1% of the school population. If my child had such severe allergies you can bet I would be home schooling them. I would be too afraid of an accident. What if a toddler with peanut butter laden hands rubbed it on their siblings backpack, and that backpack is hung right next to a child with a peanut allergy. Hmmm something to think about. I will go out on a limb here and say that I bet most of these children don't have a life threatening allergy. These parents just don't want to see their child "excluded" from eating that cookie from a birthday celebration. Is that fair to make the 99% conform to their allergies? I think that most parents would be happy to pack a special non food item for those parents that don't want their child to have a food item. That child is going to have a rough go at life when they realize in the real world no special treatment will be given. Life is not fair and we do our best given what we've been dealt.

September 30, 2010 at 10:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do not blame the teacups (kids). Blame the parents.

If either only knew the truth...

Shame. Crying shame. If the TRUTH were known.

February 15, 2011 at 10:58 PM  

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