Birthday Presents and Angry Lakota Mothers: the cost of social kindness

I received the following note from an angry mother, upset about the kindergarten schedule at the Lakota School System. It is so audacious that I decided to respond to it with a full explanation, because I can see by the way she’s writing that there are a lot of pitfalls in her life that are of her own making. Does this make her a bad person, or a bad parent? No. But she is a victim of this modern way of thinking which has been directed by a progressive philosophy which simply does not work in the raising and daily living of human beings. So my response is one that I hope others will learn from.

Comment from bmarcum

I have a kindergartner at one school and two kids at Independence. Both schools start at the same time. She will have to take the older ones early and the process at each school will be at least 25 minutes. So she will have to take the other child to the other school and then pick her up at noon since kindergarten will NOT be a full day, and then at 4:00, she has to pick up the older ones. Thanks for the loss of income!

Ok, this lady says, “Thanks for the loss of income.” Why can’t people understand the value of a budget? This person like many others believe that if our budget is 160 million, which is what it has been, then the residents of Lakota should increase their budget to 167 or 175 million to meet the increase in budget demands without question. And we are supposed to do this because this woman needs to get her kid to kindergarten?

This leads me to some obvious questions that she should ask herself. Is it my fault she has kids so close together? Why isn’t she home during the day? Does she have to work because she and her husband bought too much house, too many cars, or ran up their credit card debt too high? Is she a single woman and if so why did the marriage not work? What is she doing about finding someone to help her with her family burdens? Is there a mom that can help, a dad, a brother or a sister? If not why? Do they live in another town? If so, why does she live away from them? Are all three of these children from the same man? Are all three of these children from her, or did she obtain a few of them from a new marriage with a man who has kids from a previous marriage? If so, why did she marry a man with kids from another woman? Didn’t she think that she might have trouble raising them?

I’m sure some of that doesn’t apply to her, and I’m sure that some of it does. But as a tax payer, none of it is any of my business. It’s her life and her decisions………………….until she asks me for money. Or until the school system has to engage in a program to help a woman like her by supplying buses or schedule deviations to accommodate her busy life. In fact, the school issues where the school attempts to be everything to everybody for every possible circumstance is the microcosm of the macrocosm to the federal problems. Every program created to help women like her is money, it’s expensive, and it plays to the weaknesses of our population by pandering to them. So I do not support it. I do not want to pay for behavior that will perpetuate the destruction of our population psychologically. And I don’t want my personal property taxes to go up just so she can get her three kids to kindergarten. That’s her job to figure out. Not mine and certainly not the school system.

Now I can read your mind dear reader. I see the stir in your soul from the coldness of my words and attitude toward my fellow-man. Well……let me tell you something about human nature and I’ll use my children as examples because they represent my own form of success and proof of my theory.

Human beings like to be challenged. Competition is a natural process that cannot be engineered out of evolution. You can see it in young people when they play video games. In the video game world, all things are equal. Strength, speed, agility, it is the mind that guides the characters, and if you have ever played a game online, you’ll see that human beings are a competitive species. So to make the most of the human race, competition must be a part of the society. This is why capitalism is the economy that produces skyscrapers and communism produces village huts. And we are teaching our children to create village huts. That is the direction of our current society and I do not support it without question. It is not important whether or not it’s inconvenient for a mother to get her three kids to kindergarten. What’s important is that she thinks of a way to do so. The competition and will to survive is the key to making a prosperous human being. So to my mind I would help that woman best by giving her the challenge of figuring out the problem. Not throwing money at more convenience, because that makes people lazy. It’s the “I can’t find the remote” syndrome. You know, where you keep the TV on the same channel even though you don’t want to watch what’s on that station, because you can’t find the remote to change the channel. You could still get up and change the channel manually on the cable unit itself, but often that isn’t even an option in the mind of the lazy TV viewer. When I was a kid, before TV remotes we always had to change the channel by hand. It is with the invention of the TV remote that such a task seemed laborious.

This is what has happened to people with the busing of students and the offering of various electives which create options for possible scholarships which are dangled in front of parents as a kind of lottery ticket to financing their children’s college tuition. What is never asked is whether or not that college education has become cost prohibitive, or whether it’s even needed for that particular child. It is just accepted at face value that it’s a useful enterprise no matter what the cost. That kind of thinking is insane.

With my kids who are both girls, I let them find the hard way through most everything. When they learned to ride their bikes, I let them wreck. When I took the rappelling, I let their hair get caught in the line. When they were learning to walk I let them fall down and didn’t pick them up with every bump of the head.

And those rules don’t just apply to them. I lead by example. In the past, when my wife needed the car to drive the kids to school I rode a bicycle to work, every day rain or shine for 12 miles or more. I did that for over 10 years, because my wife and I didn’t want the expense of another car. I seldom go to the doctor unless it’s very serious. In fact it was just the other day that I was playing with my oldest daughter’s dog and his teeth opened up my finger all the way to the bone while I was trying to rip a dog toy out of his mouth. It would have required about 8 to 15 stitches, but instead I pulled it together tight while my son-in-law poured Superglue over the wound to close it up. See, I didn’t have time to go to the doctor. I had a meeting that night that was of urgent importance, so there wasn’t time to sit in a waiting room. There weren’t any ligaments torn and the nerves were ok. As long as no major blood vessels were torn, and they weren’t because I could see them, patching up the skin wasn’t a big deal. And I wasn’t going to cancel my meeting. So I fixed it myself. Now, a week and a half later, it’s all closed up and looks good. I was able to grip a basketball yesterday for the first time in over a week, and throw a football.

My kids are used to this kind of thing and they understand how to bounce through life’s tough spots. For my birthday my oldest daughter made me a work of art that is displayed on the wall over my small library I have in my living room. It is a collage of all the things she thinks of when she thinks of me.

Now, as a father it was my job to make sure that she has things to think about on such a day. It means a great deal more to receive a gift like that, which she made by hand, as opposed to some manufactured item produced by someone else. Because there is value in her production, and her production is a reflection of how she feels about me. And if I didn’t give her anything to feel, that would make me a bad parent. And if I had just done what everyone told me to all my life, I would have been a crappy parent.

As I look at that collage of images it looks all jumbled from a distance, just like life does. So it is an accurate metaphor of my life which is her point in the piece. But up close, if you take the images individually, the tapestry of images becomes much more defined. The theme is one of adventure and always pushing the boundaries of things. Which is the greatest gift she could give me, because as a 21-year-old married woman, I see that the things I spent so much time and energy teaching her, she understands, and is applying it to her own life in her own unique way, and what could be better than that?

But when my kids were growing up, I didn’t follow the rules of society. I took what I valued, and rejected the rest as tripe. I picked the path I wanted instead of the one provided. I do that at state and national parks too. I seldom ever stay on the trail. I break the rules often, proudly.

So what do I say to the woman who believes that she is owed transportation for her children? I’d say, where is your husband and why doesn’t he solve the problem for you. Why are you relying on a bus or a school schedule for your success? And if Lakota cuts too many programs, take classes online. I did that for my kids. They graduated at 16 and 17 years old so they could visit Europe for their senior years. It was their idea. They learned more in the British Museum and the streets of London than they would have in some library at Lakota East. I’d also ask why she and people like her believe that the school budget should just continue to increase without any reason. When it is known and proven that the results of the money will not make her children any better. And that pandering to convenience will make them social liabilities later in life. Those kids are future voters. Toughen them up so they have some perspective on life. And relax. Take control of your life. Don’t look to someone else to fix your problems. That costs money and doesn’t work anyway. It only makes people feel good for the moment, which is the spectral menace of charitable behavior.

That’s just some friendly advice. At the bare minimum, don’t ask for more money at Lakota or any school system. Because as my good friend Darryl Parks utters often, “If you vote for a school levy……………YOU’RE STUPID!

Rich Hoffman!/overmanwarrior