Just Me

Just Me
Look,I'm just sayin'

Saturday, April 2, 2016

lessons of the heart

 I didn't so much as fly the nest as I was nudged. That was the way my father thought was best. That was the American dream in his generation. To strike out on your own, independent and proud. To build your own nest and family. It was the same spirit that moved the pioneers west. Opportunity awaits for those who seek it out. The only thing was, you had to work for it. It was expected of you, as a man, to accomplish this. Now Dad had his own ideas about the ladies. They need only find a good man and take care of him. Not that he didn't think that wasn't a task in and of itself, but that was the woman's' role. Now she might get a job outside of the home, after the kids were old enough, but homemaking was her primary mission. But for a guy, it was eighteen and out the door ! A man fed and clothed himself. A place to live and a car to drive was his responsibility. They'll be no hanging out at home after graduation and mooching off of your parents. No sir, if you want to be a man you have to act like a man. Nowadays they call it cred, short for credibility. To be a credible man, in Dads' world, these were the expectations. No whining, complaining or asking for help. Stand on your two feet and deal with life.
 There was basically three choices one could make. The first choice was going to college. Going to college was acceptable but reserved for those with scholarships or money. That is what I was told. Sure those college boys made a lot of money but they were different. The perception was they were not as manly. They had cushy office jobs and didn't really know how to do anything of real value. Well, unless they were doctors or teachers, they were respected. But for the most part they had soft hands and weak backs. They may have been an athlete in their college days, playing games, but knew nothing of actual work. Most of them were hippies or radicals. Those campuses are the breeding grounds for such things you know. Partying all the time and complaining about everything. They had their frats, little cliques really, and that is how they got their jobs after college. Birds of a feather and all that. Nothing more than stacking the deck against the working man.
 That was your next choice, just getting a job. If your family had a business, whatever it was, that was where you went. Didn't matter if it was fishing, landscaping, or whatever. If you worked hard and carried your weight you were set. You might even be allowed to stay at home, in your old room, if you paid board. At least until you could save enough to strike out on your own. Barring that, landing a job were you could learn a trade was the next best thing. On the job training they call it now, back then, it was just being on the job and doing what you were told. It was up to you to pay attention and learn, you were at work, not the babysitters ! There was no complaining about things being fair. You went to work, did as you were told,and that was fair. Anything beyond that you had to earn. Stand up and be a man.
 Then you could always join the military. That would give you a job, a place to live, and an education all while earning a living. Sure, you had to leave home and there was a chance you could get killed but hey, that could happen at home just as well. Being in the military was an honorable choice. It was the choice I made. Joined the Navy to see the world. Not really, joined the Navy because that was my best alternative. Wasn't going to college, knew that since jr. high. My folks didn't have a business and jobs were hard to come by. I was well aware that I was expected to leave the nest after graduation, and quickly. As long as I lived in that house I was going to be a kid. Didn't matter how much money I made or how successful I might be, I was just a kid in his bedroom. I could have obtained a PhD but if I was still in that room, I was still just a kid. That was clear.
 I don't write this as a complaint but rather as an explanation. It was the world in which I was raised. The majority of those I went to school with lived in that world as well. We were raised by the greatest generation. A generation that made the tough choices and stood their ground. Political correctness hadn't even been thought of back then. There was no coddling of your children ! Spare the rod and spoil the child was the order of the day. Prepare them for the real world and thrust them into it. If they wanted to teach us to swim, they threw us in the water. I wasn't thrown from the nest but I sure felt the push. Somehow though, along the way, I modified that philosophy. You could say , we all want better for our children than we had ourselves, that justifies a lot of mistakes. Is it compassion ? Or is it that " progressive " thinking we all heard about. Yes, we all heard about that even then. Those folks doing things differently, kids staying at home at twenty years old, kids calling their parents by there first names, selling liquor on Sunday and nudist camps ! Oh, they were progressive alright. Timothy Leary running around telling us to expand our minds and just peace out. Be cool man !
 I can't help but wonder if all of this has lead us to where we are today. So many young folks without ambition. I wonder if this lack of expectation, from the parents, is the major contributor. My goal was made clear to me. Graduate high school, strike out on your own and make your way in the world. Stand on your own two feet and rely upon no one but yourself and God. The lessons in your heart will guide your hands. That is the role of the parent, to instill those lessons.
 Everything goes in cycles. History does repeat itself. It'll come around again. It is just that I've watched this globe rotate for a while now. Heading' into the unknown is always a bit frightening. That was the feeling leaving the nest but I was prepared. I'm still prepared. Gotta wonder about some of these kids I'm seeing today though. The real world is gonna smack them pretty hard. After Mommy and Daddy are gone is not the time to grow up.