Episode-1026- Building Resiliency in our Children — 43 Comments

    • Bahahahahaha! Gary, that cracked me up. Now I want to move closer to some more mountainous topography so my kids can have one of these.

    • Maybe someone should forward this link to the school district in question. A little perspspective on their situation couldn’t hurt.

  1. Very timely information. We just had a news story locally, where a young child missed their bus stop. The bus driver stopped a few hundred yards after the child’s driveway. He had a high schooler escort the child, hand-in-hand, back to his driveway.
    The parent of this kid suing the school district because her delicate little snowflake is supposedly so emotionally scarred from the experience that he will never be able to ride the school bus again. SERIOUSLY?!?!?!
    I would say that yes, the child may be an emotional mess. But it isn’t the school that did it. Momma needs to look in the mirror to find the source.

    • @Jason the more I look the more I see of this it makes me want to write a book called,

      “The Value of No, Get Over It and Figure it Out for Yourself”

    • Wow…I’m only 25 years old. But I remember one day I missed the bus after school for some reason when I was 10-11 years old. I went down the school office and told them…then they called the bus back, but they didn’t tell me.
      So after 10 mins of nobody telling me what the plan was, I just took off. My house was 5 miles away and I knew the way. To put this in perspective this was in a “working-class” part of Chicago, BTW, not some quiet suburb.
      But I did walk home and I was careful to not look lost or worried. I just pretended like my house was on the next block. Nobody bothered me or even noticed me and I was home in two hours. I knew the way, because it was a route I had taken hundreds of times on a bus and I had paid attention.

      Anyway, my parents ended up being mad at me! Not the school!
      I didn’t get punished, they just told me not to do that again because it worried a lot of people.

      No lawsuits, no yelling, just a “son, don’t do that. You took a big risk and blah blah”.

  2. My friend Peggy and her husband were such good parents. All four boys had jobs that were age appropriate. The youngest child (age 3 at the time) had to bring the table service to the dinner table and place it around each plate. One night he forgot. Mom told everyone to just be quiet. Pretty soon he figured out that because he had not done his job, no one could eat. He got down from the chair, got everyone’s table service and dinner continued.

    As soon as the kids learned to add and subtract they got a ‘check book’. No work, no money. Half of their allowance went into savings. The other half into ‘checking’. If it was book day at school and they wanted to buy books, they had to write a check and go to the Bank of Mom to withdraw $$ and then balance their checkbook.

    Christmas = 3 gifts. One was a full outfit (shoes, socks, pants, shirt, etc). One was a gift of their choice within a certain dollar amount. The 3rd was a surprise. They also had their stockings filled. Why 3 gifts? Because that’s how many baby Jesus got and if they thought they deserved more than Jesus then it was time for a serious talk. The kids would complain about how many presents their friends got, but mom & dad explained that this is celebrating Jesus’ birth and this is the tradition their family has. Period, end of story. Later in life they realized that these lessons taught them to think VERY hard about what they really wanted for Christmas and make responsible decisions.

    The kids had alarm clocks and were expected to get themselves up. One snooze was allowed. Second snooze meant mom got the spray bottle of water out of the fridge.
    Each boy did their own laundry, learned to play the piano, learned to cook, could fix a car, do carpentry, wiring, plumbing and could sew on a button.

    All four of these boys grew into incredibly responsible, successful men and have the same traditions in their families that their parents prepared them for life with.

    This was a great podcast today. I have fwd’d it to everyone I know, posted in FB, Twitter and Google+.

  3. Ronnie, I love that. It warms my heart to hear that we’re (my wife and I) aren’t the only ones raising our kiddos that way.

    Secondly, thank you for your very kind words. They mean a lot to me.

  4. Trey & Jack,
    Great podcast. One of the best. As my kids are late teens now, I spent the afternoon pondering on how I can become more resilient myself. Afterall, the best way to instill this in our kids is to model it in our own lives.

    Also, the past year has been difficult. We’ve been one year past forclosure and bankruptcy. Our family of 5 has been living in a 350sq ft cabin for the last year. I’ve been quite preoccupied with the trials of just making ends meet. Today’s podcast made me realize that my wife and kids have far exceeded my expectations for coping. Tonight at the dinner table I took the opportunity to tell my family how proud I am of them. Thanks for reminding me how awesome my wife and kids are. My kids were glowing with pride the rest of the evening and I almost missed the opportunity to give that to them.

    I would love to see Trey come back for an episode on resiliency for adults.

    • Thank you for the compliment Jason.

      I can connect with you on the struggles. We went through probably the hardest 3 years starting in 2009 including $64,000 in credit debt and even getting fired. But from those things I’ve seen more financial freedom (e.g. paying off cards and starting my own business) as well as more liberty as I learn to take responsibility for myself. In reality, I don’t think I would have had I not, forgive the cliche, embraced the tough things and seen them for what they were: emotional/mental/spiritual weight lifting.

      I’m genuinely proud of you for taking that approach with your family. Again, it warms my heart. You rock Jason!

  5. We’ve become a complete candy ass society. We have a whole generation now with many living at home waiting for someone to bring them a high paying job with lots of paid time off. Behind Generation Y are the kids who don’t know the woods from a ballfield but can sure navigate that gaming console!

  6. First, an observation. Last year I had my daughter is a charter school (we home school now). After school I sometimes would let her play a while on the playground before leaving. As we approached the playground there was a Mom and her daughter doing the same. The daughter was trying to climb up on to and walk across a set of parallel bars. The Mom was shooing her off the bars and using verbiage like “you can’t do that!” “you’ll get hurt!” ‘Stop that!” “Get down from there!” This Mom was destroying the child’s sense of adventure, suppressing any risk taking inclination the child had left, and doing God knows what damage to the child’s self esteem. My daughter is somewhat oblivious to this conversation and is just waiting her turn on the bars. The other child finally minds her Mom and get off the bars. My daughter hops up and starts waking across them. The Mom gave me a look as if to say “Do you see what you child is doing!? Are you going to let her!?” I just folded shrugged and smiled. Oh boy did I get the stink eye after that.

    Second, we have banned anyone who interacts with our children from calling them “Smart”. There has been research that indicates children that think they are smart will not take risks and not handle challenges very well because they believe everything should be easy from them (because they are “smart”). While children who are praised and rewarded for “working hard” are many times more likely to accept and overcome risk and challenges. This concept is something that every parent of small children should look into. It has served us well.

    Great show. I enjoyed learning more about Trey and his work. And yes, now I get what the “root of cupcakes” means; lol. Could not be more fitting.

    • Ah man! That breaks my heart markl. What a brave-hearted kiddo and she wasn’t allowed to try!

      I love the fact that you let your kid walk across them. We get stink-eyed all the time. For instance, this weekend, I let my 2-year old fish….with a hook. And because I took the time to teach her how to fish, she could cast as far (and safely) as my 6 year old. Their great-grandmother was almost hysterical for a few moments.

      And she has good reason. My kiddo’s cousins don’t need to be fishing with hooks until they are 16. I kid and with the right instruction and consequences, they could do the same thing, but it was interesting to watch my family interact with my kids. By the final day, when my kids would want to do something, they would say “no you can’t…..wait. You’re a Gibson. You can do it then.”

      Hah! We use the same concept with the “smart” mentality. Our kids, in terms of IQ are in the average but they appear above only because they tackle problems like champs. Because they know that Mommy and Daddy believe in them. Because they believe in themselves. We like the Einstein quote: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

      By that we don’t think that every kid, or even our kids, are genius like Einstein, or in math, science, sports etc, but that we all have things that we are exceptionally good at.

      Great comment markl.

  7. I’ve always called this generation (as well as the tail end of mine) the neon generation; flashy, fragile, full of hot gas, and not that bright.

  8. I think hand in hand with building resiliency, is building self sustaining behavior. The real purpose of parenting is to generate a self sustaining adult. And because of this, I think one of the worst things any parent can ever tell their child is “because I said so”. First, because you’re not really teaching them to perform the given behavior on their own. For instance if you tell them to eat their vegetables and when they ask why you just tell them “because I said so”; they’re not really learning to associate eating vegetables with something real and positive. They’re just associating it with your words. Sooner or later, you won’t be there to instruct them. And without an internal desire to do the right thing, they probably won’t do it. Another example, when you tell a child you caught smoking not to smoke “because I said so” or the classic “If you live in my house you follow my rules”, they’re not learning that smoking is bad. All they’re learning is smoking is something you don’t like. Later on, when tempted to smoke by peers, with you out of the picture, they have no reason not to. By not giving a child real logical reasons for things, you’re not showing them how to make the correct decision on their own.

    And linked to that, the second reason why it’s a bad idea is because children all eventually grow older and learn to evaluate the world, including your words, through their own eyes and mind. There will be a point when the words coming out of your mouth are “because I said so” but what that child really hears is “I don’t have a good reason”. And since teenagers naturally go though a rebellious streak, not only will they see right through you that you don’t have a reason, they might consciously choose to do it just because it’s something you don’t want.

    Only by teaching children from a young age that “Action A” leads to “Consequence B” and will always do so, with or without a parent saying so, can you turn them into a self sustaining adult. You must instill in them a desire to do the right thing, not just a desire to do what you say. There will always be a time where you either aren’t there to tell them what’s good or bad, or worse, they will actively try to do whatever it is you don’t like as a way to lash out at you. Only by their own mind making the logical connection between action and consequence can they have something to fall back on when your words are no longer a factor.

    I know it’s tempting to just say “because I said so” either because when they’re young, that really is a good enough reason for them, or because you’re just too tired and stressed to be bothered explaining the logical reason, And of course as the authority figure, part of you might just feel that “I’m in charge, and damn it, they should just do what I say. I’m the parent, they’re not, Who are they to demand a reason from me?”. But keep in mind that when you say “because I said so” you’re not teaching them the real reason to do something. At best, you’re just not giving them something to fall back on without you, and at worst, you might be inadvertently teaching them to doubt everything you say from that point on.

    • Completely agreed Ragnar. Not only do we not use “because we said so” I think it is one of the poorest answers to give a kid. Some get offended at me saying this, but imagine a boss that walks in and asks you to do something that makes no sense to you and you ask “why?” They reply with “because I said so.”

      How are you likely going to see that boss. As a turd. Maybe incompetent because that cannot even answer why they want you to do something. I watch the same thing happen consistently with kids in my office. Annnnd, in many cases, parents often *don’t* have a good reason for what they want their kid to do or not do.

      Great point Ragnar.

  9. I liked your ref to the “tea cup generation” it was way too fitting. I was to able to discuss it briefly Friday AM with a young woman (late teens) who was doing sheriff’s labor time at the animal shelter where I work. She agreed that she and many of her peers have been treated with “kid gloves” (pun intended) for far too long and “maybe” if there had been more consequences for actions at the small scale, it wouldn’t have led to the larger ones like what she was doing now.
    I definitely agree that we are doing our kinds NO favors by sheltering them from the realities of life.
    “Life” is what happens in between your plans, and you’re unable to cope with change or are waiting for handout while you’re waiting for the “fair bus” to come along, the “reality truck” is going to come & run over your ass. Jmtc, but the news coverage I saw of a woman in the aftermath of “Sandy” crying “Somebody just tell me where to go! Somebody tell me what to do!” is a direct correlation to your “falling down/pick me up” example that you gave in the show. I have to wonder if she ever had a skinned knee?

    Best wishes in your web endeavors Trey and I hope you’ll be able to do another ‘cast here in the future, maybe on the psychology of survival for adults as well as kids.

    • Thanks Brian. I appreciate that.

      I think this is why so many are mindlessly following the Republican and Democratic parties at the expense of liberty. Both are offering to DO something for you. Both offer incentives for their vote (reminds me of the quote by Dean Alfange).

      Why do so many so quickly sell their civil liberty? Because liberty says that you must deal with the consequences of your decision, whether positive or negative. I think that’s why the Preamble was worded with life (a definitive), liberty (a definitive) and the pursuit of happiness (more ambiguous). You are entitled to pursue, but not guaranteed. That is because failure is a constant, but that is a wonderful thing! To quote Timothy Ferris, “you won’t believe what you can accomplish by attempting the impossible with the courage to repeatedly fail better.”

      And even the *thought* of negative consequences is enough for people to sell their right to choose the right or wrong thing to someone that will enforce what they say is right or wrong. It offers the Pontius Pilate approach of washing our hands clean from the decision. If it’s successful, we rest happy. But if it fails, the governmental program sucks. Liberty is removed but I am absolved from the failure. Clever, albeit incredibly unhealthy.

  10. Many in my family are “concerned” because I bought my five year old grandson a gun and take him to the range with us. Now mind you I did a lot of checking and bought him a gun with multiple safeties. And the right size for him.I keep it in my gun cabinet.

    Its kinda the same thing about training wheels on a bike. Put a helmet on the kid and give em a shove. They will fall down. It might hurt, but that how it works. When the pain is over you can enjoy the freedom of cruising down the road. My wife refused to believe that I learned to ride a bike at 3 yrs old with no training wheels. I’m some kind of sadistic bastard to think that training wheels are wrong.

    • Nah. I don’t think that is concerning at all. My 6 year old daughter fired her first AR this weekend with Daddy (I was so proud….). Before we started she was able to recite all 5 rules of gun safety…with people watching. One of my brother-in-laws then brought his wife down to shoot and he took my 6 year old over to teach his wife the 5 rules.

      She shot fantastic. She kept her finger off the trigger. Kept it pointed up or down. Treated it as if it was loaded…always. She never pointed it at anything she didn’t intend to destroy. And one time she was walking back and forth and I asked “Anna. Whatcha doing sweetie?” She replied “just looking past the target to see what was behind it. Daddy was, proud, to say the least.

      When kids are trusted, and subsequently taught appropriately, they are capable of a crap of a lot more than our society gives them credit for.

      Do I necessarily have a problem with training wheels…eh. Not really. It teaches basic form. Peddling. All that good stuff. It can also teach the fun of bike riding that might keep them motivated once the wheels come off.

      However, do I think you are sadistic for not allowing them? Not in the least. Is there a potential case for the learning curve to be faster without them? I’d say it’s plausible. I’ve heard the case for training wheels and pacifiers not *really* being for the kids, but for pacification and “peace of mind” of parents and I can see the approaches validity.

      Citing the news article Jack referenced in the show notes I couldn’t help but think “oh no! You mean a kid slipped in the water and actually *skinned their knee*!?!?! Deplorable!”

  11. It’s all common sense you either have it or you don’t, teach your kids to live right or they will turn out like most of the turds today

  12. Jack,
    You made a comment somewhere up above about writing a book. God how I wish you would! Some of you and Trey’s points in this episode had me wanting to stand up and cheer….but I was driving so that might’ve been awkward. You get that “stand up and cheer” response from me about twice a week.
    Anyway, I’d love to see you put your thoughts on raising kids, fiscal policy, debt, assclown politicians, etc etc into print. Hell, you wouldn’t even have to do the actual writing yourself – you’ve already put your thoughts and opinions into your podcasts. A good ghostwriter could take 3-4 episodes on a particular topic and get a good-sized book out of it. (Books don’t have to be 300 pages anymore, our society doesn’t have the attention span for that. Most of Seth Godin’s recent books are around 100 pages, the perfect size to read in one or two sittings.)
    Putting your stuff into print would be an awesome way to reach people who don’t listen to podcasts. It’d be great to be able to hand someone a Jack Spirko book on a particular topic and say, “Here, you REALLY need this.”

  13. Jack and Trey discussed when they thought the degradation of child rearing began and I feel that it goes way before when they stated. I was born in ’62 when Dr. Spock was coming on to the scene. My parents did not follow his teachings (thank God!) but others did.
    When I go into high school, because I’m a girl, I had to take Home Economics. One semester taught us how to sew, another semester taught us how to cook (from a box) and TWO semesters focused on how not to say “no” to your children. I disagreed vehemently with the teaching and consequently did not receive good grades those two semesters.

    • Actually, I agree with you in premise Happy. While I can trace the popular Self-Esteem Movement to the early 80’s and on into the early 2000’s, parenting styles have historically been more of a roller coaster. Though many argue that parenting styles have degraded to the point they are now, if you really study parenting models from the 1800’s and 1900’s, you might be surprised what was considered common practice and how kids were viewed during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

      While I do believe in the value of “no” to a kid, I think we agree. No is often over-used and rarely used appropriately. For instance “Mom, can I have ice-cream?” Mom replies “no.” This has a tendency to communicate “what you want isn’t important so I won’t even try and find a way to make it work”. “Can I have this toy?” Dad replies “no!”

      The hard “no” approach rarely seems to be the best. I encourage the “no, but…” approach. So with the above example, replying instead with “no, but I tell you what. How about some ice-cream *after* dinner.” With the toy example above, the use of “no, but when we get home, if you want to do some work for me you can earn the money to buy it yourself. Or if your 2-year old wants to shoot your shotgun, a “no, but how about we get you a toy shotgun until your body is big enough to shoot it.”

      This approach conveys that “you want to shoot my shotgun and I get that, but your juuuust not quite big enough yet. Lets get you ready to shoot my shotgun by teaching you on one that you can handle.”

      It seems to work much more effectively for people. It certainly does with my kids.

      • Trey I believe we actually found a point where we disagree to a point anyway, you said,

        “The hard “no” approach rarely seems to be the best. I encourage the “no, but…” approach. So with the above example, replying instead with “no, but I tell you what. How about some ice-cream *after* dinner.””

        Sorry but that approach is way to close to a policy of appeasement or bribery to me. I am not saying would never take the approach but not as a matter of course.

        For instance “can I have ice cream”? How does that get answered? Well if we already have a rule that ice cream is for after dinner, it gets no, nothing more, nothing less. Why? The kid already knows the answer.

        Same question after dinner, well, if the standing order is you can have snacks after dinner my answer is knock yourself out kid you never even had to ask.

        Can I have a toy? My first response is “do you have any money” and we can take it from there. Unless, say I told the boy before we went to the store, “we are not here to buy toys today, period” then the answer is no, no explanation period.

        I actually don’t think we disagree much, I just worry many people reading it the way you wrote it might get the wrong idea. I see parents appeasing and making kids happy anytime they are discomforted with “deals”.

        Okay honey you have to do this now but later on we will ______ to make you happy.

        What I found in parenting that works best is to be so crystal clear on what you expect that there is no way to be misunderstood. The second part though is to constantly be handing more and more decisions over to the child. By the time my son was 12 he had only a tiny handful of rules, by the time he was 16 he had 2 (get good grades and be home by curfew unless otherwise agreed on).

        At 18 it was only, if you are not coming home tell us so we don’t worry or wait for you and I had to often remind Matt, “you don’t have to ask me anymore, you’re a man now, if you want my advice or opinion I will always give it to you but you no longer need my permission for anything unless you want to borrow something I own”.

        I really feel this level of discipline (discipline in the child without it being applied by the parent) came from the crystal clarity of the rules, keeping rules to a minimum and removing any rule the second the child proved his ability to self enforce things for himself.

        • Based off of your comment, no. I don’t think we disagree. I’m hearing you say that if there are certain rules that have been established in advance you define them with crystal clarity and then don’t budge. Agreed, and compromising on these rules does nothing but show that you are not really serious about them.

          Many things in our house are “more like guidelines” as Captain Barbossa might say. We don’t necessarily like our kids to have ice-cream before dinner, but, under the right circumstances we might not necessarily care. But we have a definitive rule about kids not touching Daddy’s laptop since I need it to run my business. There is no compromise on this until, like you mentioned, they are old enough to make those decisions.

          I might have been vague in the way I worded it. The no, but approach is not about bending or compromising a rule or allowing kids to run over a parent. It is about acknowledging to the kid that, even if we don’t do ice-cream before dinner, that it is something that is important to them. I may not understand why my kid wants this action figure that flips, and kicks, and shoots darts, but I get that, to them, it is important. I’m not agreeing to buy it, but I am acknowledging that it is important to them and helping them find a way to get it, within the parameters of the rule[s]. This is also modeling for life. I may want a Kimber Ultra Carry II. I cannot afford one at this point. Doesn’t mean that I will never get it and should give up on having one, but that I should start looking for ways that I could save or trade for one.

          The point that we may be disagreeing on might be this. In situations where values or established rules are not being ignored, I do encourage compromise with your kid. Not if they are throwing fits or temper tantrums (both can be done by toddlers all the way to teens). Never, never, ever compromise with fits.

          But if our kids are watching us to learn everything, and we adopt the “it’s my way or the highway” approach on everything, they will often do the same back at us later in life. Instead, so long as morals and values are not broken, kids learning how to meet in the middle can be very valuable.

        • Jack, I’ve always liked your approach to rules because it does not just focus on your son doing what you want. It focuses on turning him into an adult who chooses to do the right thing on his own. On that 18th birthday, whether or not a child ate ice cream before or after dinner on some day 10 years ago, or how many toys you bought for them doesn’t really matter all that much. What matters is that they have the ability to think out on their own “I should not consume too much/any unhealthy food because it will be harmful to me” and “I cannot sustain habits such as buying things I want unless I’ve made plans to be able to afford them on my own, and after my other obligations are met”

          I think sometimes a firm “no” can accomplish this, but other times a “deal” can. But in both case, give them them the reason. Show them the cause and effect, the action and consequence of why they can or cannot do what they want. Get their minds working as early as possible towards understanding the connection between action and consequence. If one is too quick to just say “no” with no reasons given or real understand of why you run the risk of them either doing whatever they want the moment they’re allowed to, or them sneaking behind your back and doing it when they’re not allowed to just because they resent you.

          We all want our children to become healthy, responsible, and productive adults. But sometimes what feels right to say as a parent is not what will actually accomplish this. Look at college freshmen who move out into the dorms and spend the first time on their own doing nothing but drinking, eating what they want, having sex, and being irresponsible . I would bet that the parents of those young adults did two things. They didn’t practice what they preached, and they didn’t explain why the rules were in place. So without a good example to follow, the very moment the threat of “I shouldn’t do this because dad doesn’t want me to” was removed, they go off the deep end and do whatever they want. They never learned *why* the rules were in place. And so without dad there to tell them not to stay up til 3 eating pizza, and not really having the internal desire to do what’s right, nothing is stopping them from doing what is wrong.

  14. David Farragut (Damn the torpedos) went to sea on a combat ship at 8. Commissioned as a naval officer at 9 and 1/2. The War of 1812 broke out when he was 12, his ship captured a British whaler in the Galapagos and he was given command of the whaler with orders to sail it back under the horn and up to New England. He only had a couple of American sailors with him to help him force the British crew to follow his orders. At one point he had to pull his flintlock pistols on the British Captain who was about to rebel. And now we have a dad worried about their little ones jumping a shallow ditch. It’s not that the kids are wussies, it’s their pathetic parents.

    See for more examples of childhood from America’s past.

    Great Episode:

  15. Enjoyed listening to the episode right up to the point when Jack made light of the fact that he likes The Simpsons. My Lord, Why?!?! That show creates such a horrible image of what fathers are suppose to be. Some would think I need to “lighten up”, but I beg to differ. If we are trying to change the structure of our society much like TSP talks about, you start in the family, you start with the leader, you start (generally) with the father/man.

    Most shows on TV today create a very bad imagine of men and fathers as blundering idiots. You are merely playing in the shallows, and the rip current can pull you out, allowing “comedy” like this to create images of what men are suppose to be. The crisis of our country today isn’t whatever is making headlines today; it is lack of real men and fathers.

    As men, we should all be striving to achieve some level of couth, a strong moral compass, and desire to give more than we receive (which generally requires problem solving skills). This is our battle with feminism and relativism. It is a can of worms, and that only scratches the surface, but I would suggest you turn off The Simpsons sir.

    • Wow you do need to lighten up! I also watch Dexter but I don’t aspire to be a serial killer of serial killers. I watch Big Ban Theory but don’t aspire to be a nerdy scientist. Seriously it is TV and the friken Simpsons is a CARTOON!

      I tell you every day that TSP isn’t about “fighting some fantasy version of Red Dawn” but you can bet your butt I want to see the new Red Dawn film when it comes out.

      My son grew up watching the Simpons with me, he has turned into one hell of an honorable young man. We find humor in Homer because he is ridiculous, that is the point. Have a beer, turn on the Simpons (especially the early seasons), and FRICKEN LAUGH it will do you well. Yea lighten up, there are many things wrong with America, the longest running sitcom ever is not one of them.

    • Jack that is the worst straw man argument I have heard. To say that people are aspiring to something just because of character’s appearance or actions is to miss the bigger picture of what I was talking about. I find it hard to believe that you sit and see a show like the Simpsons at face-value as a cartoon, but berate whatever might be going on with “Doomsday xyz”. I don’t watch any of it, because it is all nonsense. Garbage in, garbage out. The Incredibles, fantastic movie.

      Believe it or not, I laugh a lot everyday. We get our $20 worth of Netflix usage at the house, do not fear. There is much in this world that lives in a perpetual state of irony that brings me to laugh in my head and out-loud as well. However the crass nature of what people find amusing on TV is hardly funny, and less than redeemable. There is plenty of entertaining comedians out there that don’t have to get near the gutter, and can actually appeal to your intellect.

      My issue, and maybe it would be a good episode in the future for TSP, is what we should be doing to create better men and fathers going forward. It is a pervasive situation. Men are turning into ‘guys’, and that is very sad. I understand that it is only a cartoon on the surface, but if you don’t take a stand against some of these little scrimmages, you will never be ready for the bigger games that arise.

      • @Scott

        I can’t understand people like you that worry about shit like this. Watch or don’t watch whatever you want and I will do the same. For the love of God though some people are so wrapped up in certain things it is crazy.

        Doomsday Preppers is presented as “reality”, it is directly damaging to the entire preparedness culture by making people look like idiots and then presenting it as factual. The Simpsons is a CARTOON, purely for humor. I am sorry but this just reminds me of the Dr. Spock types when I was a kid trying to get rid of Daffy Duck, the Roadrunner, Bugs Bunny and Woody Woodpecker because they said it would “encourage violence in children”.

        Yea lighten up or don’t but really don’t worry about what others choose to watch for entertainment. Way outside your circle of influence man, WAY OUTSIDE.

        • I am not worried about what you want to watch. Watch it, if you so desire. I merely wanted to bring it to your attention what these inputs are saying to people. To say that it is “purely for humor” is being intellectually dishonest. They don’t put The Simpsons on at 9am on Saturday mornings for a reason. However, people stick their kids in front of it as if it Bugs Bunny or Tom & Jerry.

          There is quite a bit of research on what psychologically happens as people ingest media. If the people behind it have a certain message or bias, they can tune it to manipulate people. The younger the audience, obviously, the more impressionable they are. The problem lies in the numbers. The latest research says people are taking in more and more media. Which means less time actually flushing out messages they are getting with real people (or they are sleeping less, neither of which is good). It isn’t about controlling; it is about understanding what you are really seeing, quality or quantity.

          I find it interesting that you can draw a line between shows that are cartoon based and cast with actual people. Anyone with half a brain can realize that “reality” shows are far from reality, and they are not worth the time-of-day either. No parent should be sitting their kid in front of a “reality” show, because they know it BS, and trying to explain all the antics that just happened on screen as almost criminal.

          As far as doomsday whatever, I don’t see the damage you talk about from them any worse than these adult cartoons. As far as the problem with reality shows: are you worried that adults don’t have the critical-thinking skills to realize when they are being lied to? That reality TV has nothing to do with reality? I would say the same thing back to you: isn’t that outside of your circle of influence? Why are you assuming everyone watching is dumb as a rock? Where they watching too many cartoons, hmmm?

          If anything, what you say time and time again reinforces what these shows are making fun of. We can’t do this alone. We do need community. That life is a crap shoot, you never know what you might get served that day. What kills you is probably something you never thought to plan for or could avoid. Survival is much more than who has the most stuff and the most skills. You can trip on a crack in the pavement, and it is all done. What does that dash between the dates mean?

          The really sad part of this conversation is where it has gone. I was really keying in on the fact that the family unit is seen more and more dysfunctional as time progresses. And TV is more than willing beat that drum. Everybody is busy trying to create a better life for their families; most TV is working against you.

          Everybody is getting enough media stimulation these days; as parents (and that is what is episode was about), we want to be selfish and take some time back to have actual face-to-face interaction and relationships with our kids. Not what the TV is telling them.

        • No I am not dishonest I watch the Simpsons because it is funny, nothing more, nothing less. You really need a beer, but let me guess such a thing would never cross your lips right? If I am wrong there, go have 1 or 3 soon.

  16. I apologize for the poor spelling and lack of proofreading, the kids woke up, the day begins…

  17. Nice show! I was a public school teacher for around a decade before finally getting fed up (with the adults, not so much the kids) and “retiring” to the private sector. I had to repeatedly fight the battle of trying to get parents to understand that their kids can learn big lessons in elementary and middle school, when the consequences are largely insignificant, in high school, where the consequences may affect the future educational or professional opportunities, or when they are an adult, where the consequences will definitely affect their lives long-term. I have a child, so I do understand how hard it can be to let your child learn that hard lessons, but the alternative is much harder.

    Oh, and I think the Simpsons are hilarious!

  18. Jack,

    This episode really resonated with me.
    I train contractors how to install and service equipment in the petroleum industry. I have noticed and have had discussions with others about the whiny sensitivity of the contractors and their employees. And it does seem that the younger ones (under 45) seem to be the worst.
    If I am firm in my classroom training and exhort and challenge them to strive for excellence in their workmanship and effort, they pout and even go back to their employer and complain that I don’t like them and am being mean to them!
    Very many of these guys are only stage 1 thinkers and that limits their ability to successfully troubleshoot problems and make corrections. Even if you coach them through the next step of troubleshooting the are too lazy or for some other reason incapable of stepping through a problem to a solution.

    This is a sad situation for our society.