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Our Legacy

Thank God I was raised by parents of the “Greatest Generation.” They understood things like rationing for the war effort, waiting in lines for food or going without during the Depression, young people working to help their own family pay household bills, serving and being loyal to their country, and being prepared for disasters.

Even though I didn’t have to live through those things myself, my parents passed their understanding and perspective on to me. I appreciate and am grateful for that. My mother taught me manners and integrity, and my father gave me his good old German work ethic. If you really need or want something, you better work hard for it. They both taught me to be frugal and live modestly.

We lived in an upper middle class suburban neighborhood. As I was growing up, I saw my friends being given everything. They had bigger houses, nice cars, designer clothes. I came home one day and asked my mom “Mom, are we poor?” She literally burst out laughing and in response said, “No honey, we’re not poor. We own everything we have. Other people finance everything. They don’t own their house, or their cars, and use credit cards for their clothes and vacations.” Then I asked, “If we have money, then why don’t you buy me the popular clothes and things like the other kids’ parents buy them?” She said, “Because if we gave you everything, then you wouldn’t learn to appreciate what you have. When you work for things yourself, you realize the value of time and money.”

Earlier this year I was driving through the high school parking lot to pick up my daughter at school. I looked around to see that almost every car parked in the student area was nicer than mine. Seriously? I’m sure these kids didn’t pay for these cars themselves. Their parents probably didn’t want to be embarressed by their child being seen driving a “beater” that they worked for and bought with their own money.

Unfortunately many in our country have forgotten the wisdom of my parents’ generation (or were never taught by their parents), and have brought children into this world who also don’t understand these concepts. It’s become a “keep up with the Joneses” country where both parents would rather have $60,000 cars and the newest iPhone than sacrifice and spend quality time raising their children. Their focus is “entitlement”.

Self-centeredness, immaturity and lack of values has destroyed the future generation of America. Children are alone and stressed most of the time. Young people are afraid for their future and angry that those before them have stolen their hope. They are facing huge amounts of college debt, and don’t even believe they will ever be able to buy a home of their own. They have doubts that their relationships will last, and worry that if they have children, they may also suffer through divorce.

This is the legacy our generation has left our children? This is the result of the choices our generation have made (we 70-35 year olds). WE are the problem. Not the kids. Not the guns. Not half the things we blame circumstances on.

The world we live in today is the world we have made. We could do something about it, but we won’t. We’re too selfish and lazy to do that. It’s our children that are suffering as a result, and that makes me really angry. It will blow up in our face. My only hope (besides God Himself), is that our kids who have have watched from the sidelines and basically had to raise themselves, will figure out how to fix it before it’s too late.

I love my country. I love my freedom. But with that freedom comes the responsibility to do what’s right, not just whatever the h_ll we want. Grow up. Sacrifice. Practice honor and integrity. Value people and the intangible more than things you can buy with money.

I pray God protects and blesses our children…Lord knows we haven’t.

Erma Bombeck’s “I loved you enough to say no” really hits home now

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I have lately heard numerous parents discussing how their children think they’re “mean” parents. I’ve heard this from parents located in multiple states who have very different experiences but they all have one thing in common: they have good kids. I believe that they have good kids because they set boundaries and limits, and they say no.

Their plight made me think of humor writer Erma Bombeck, an author whom I consider to be the original mom blogger although she was writing before there were blogs. I first heard of Erma from my mom who would occasionally quote her. Bombeck’s syndicated column, “At Wit’s End,” appeared in more than 900 newspapers. She wrote 12 books, nine of which made The New York Times’ Bestsellers List. She passed away in 1996.

My mom always admired Bombeck’s writing, and a piece called “A Mother’s Love” that she’s mentioned to me in the past seems particular appropriate now, as my fellow tween parents and I steel ourselves for what will be years and years of saying “no” and ensuring our sweet children learn the hard life lessons they need to know. It appears in Bombeck’s book “If Life Is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits?” which was published in 1985.

“Someday, when my children are old enough to understand the logic that motivates a mother, I’ll tell them…

I loved you enough to bug you about where you were going, with whom and what time you would get home.

I loved you enough to insist you buy a bike with your own money, which we could afford, and you couldn’t.

I loved you enough to be silent and let you discover your hand picked friend was a creep.

I loved you enough to stand over you for two hours while you cleaned your bedroom, a job that would have taken me 15 minutes.

I loved you enough to say, “Yes, you can go to Disney World on Mother’s Day.”

I loved you enough to let you see anger, disappointment, disgust, and tears in my eyes.

I loved you enough not to make excuses for your lack of respect or your bad manners.

I loved you enough to admit that I was wrong and ask for your forgiveness.

I loved you enough to ignore “what every other mother” did or said.

I loved you enough to let you stumble, fall, hurt, and fail.

I loved you enough to let you assume the responsibility for your own actions, at 6, 10, or 16.

I loved you enough to figure you would lie about the party being chaperoned, but forgave you for it…after discovering I was right.

I loved you enough to shove you off my lap, let go of your hand, be mute to your pleas and insensitive to your demands…so that you had to stand alone.

I loved you enough to accept you for what you are, and not what I wanted you to be.

But most of all, I loved you enough to say no when you hated me for it. That was the hardest part of all.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to hang on to these wonderful words for dear life for at least the next eight years, and probably long past that.

by Shannan Younger

Source: http://www.chicagonow.com/tween-us/2013/07/erma-bombeck-say-n/