Monday, May 29, 2006

To a Memorable Memorial Day

So I did attend the parade, the quintessential suburban turn-out of grandparents and kids in strollers. We entertained ourselves with many snarky comments comparing the bands to the glory days of the marching Imperial Scots. I asserted that the wavering lines of out-of-step adolescent musicians result from the breakdown of discipline in the schools. Observing the disorganized, milling pods of Cub Scouts, Fifth pointed out that it all begins there. Of course, that almost tipped me into a rant on the quasi-military construct of scouting in general, which even I realized was inappropriate on Memorial Day. What Fifth meant, I presume, was that scouting seems to have deteriorated in the last generation. But hasn't parenting overall? Scouting used to be about values, and in the best case scenario reinforcing the same values kids were learning at home. But I don't think I see actual values in kids anymore. I'm sure everyone else is a better authority on this: between actually having kids and working with kids. My general observations, however, are that I see appropriate behaviors for specific situations. Values, the tools that you rely on to deal with unexpected situations, I think are lacking. The result, when faced with the unanticipated, is follow-the-pack. Two years ago when I was doing some research on humane values in children, I found that thre were no studies tying thoughts to actions. So if a kid responded in a survey that they felt sorry when another child was hurt, there was no corresponding data about what they actually did (laugh?)when they saw someone get hurt. Well, this isn't what you expected to read for Memorial Day so throw another burger on the grill and crank up the John Phillip Sousa.


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