What ever happened to raising polite hellions? Have parents either become so snooty or given up entirely such that there’s no longer room in our society for the “cram it, ma’am” or “Hell no, sir” mentality that once guided the formation of American youth?
This issue rose to the surface of my life like so much butterfat when my wife and I recently returned south after double digit years in the footloose Rocky Mountains. Was our two-year-old going to be taught to use ma’am and sir? “Hell yes, sir!” was my initial response. But my wife countered with a quandary. Will people think our son is weird when we inevitable wander back out into the larger American milieu?
“Cram it, Ma’am!” was my second response. But dang it all. My kids are going to have a hard enough time in life explaining their father’s behavior to their friends without using a bunch of folky platitudes and formal epithets. That’s when I realized this problem wasn’t my fault at all. It was everyone else’s.
Jesse Duke, even at the age of 115, knew how to raise his two ornery nephews up to be polite little hellions saying “stick it, sir” and “can you light this dynamite please, ma’am?” All it took was a little folksy wisdom and the determination to not let them deliver any moonshine until they had finished their vegetables.
But as collective parents in the U.S. we can’t even deliver that anymore. We think we’re doing good if we can get our children to love and cherish the beauty of life and respect those who are different from them. Well laudy-fricken-daw.
Don’t get me wrong, all this namby pamby parenting crap is great and I whole hardily subscribe to the newsletter, but is any of it worth a damn if your kid calls me Dave and expects a hug? I think the appropriate answer here would be, “No sir, Mr. Dave.”