Be A Better Neighbor

Occasionally people send me articles and ask me to comment on them. Sometimes I don’t because I can’t find anything interesting to say, but this typical entitlement mommy really annoyed me. Here’s my thoughts on the article, Love thy neighbour? Not with kids.

The article stars off with the woman complaining her neighbor isn’t understanding enough of her children, who like to play on the balcony of her apartment and throw things into the neighbor’s yard. Really? This surprises her?

How would she like it if people were dumping garbage in her living room all the time? I bet she’d bitch like hell! The neighbor is responsible for keeping her yard cleaned up and doesn’t want her yard littered with other people’s trash and discarded toys. It’s RUDE to expect other people to clean up after your kids. You’ll notice the woman doesn’t even offer the woman an apology! This entitled mommy thinks the neighbor should just blissfully clean up after HER kids.

Additionally, Mommy is upset that the neighbor lady yelled at the kids for continually throwing stuff in her yard. Well, if Mommy wasn’t going to do it, SOMEONE needed to teach the kids that it was wrong! If you have a problem with the neighbor yelling at your kids, teach your kids yourself!

And of course, this mommy whines about “bad language.” She has a problem with people using “dirty” words in front of her children. (The neighbor apparently said “pissed off” and this was objectionable.) I hate this argument because parents do not want to behave or make their children behave to the rest of society’s standards, and yet they want the rest of society to conform to THEIR standards. Talk about a double standard! You expect me to live in a world full of screaming kids? Then you need to live in a world full of swearing adults. (When did “pissed off” become a “dirty” word anyway? For that matter, when did “suck” become a swear word? Give me a break!)

The Mommy writes:

I usually care what other people think, but as I get older I’m finding if people take issue, I’d prefer they take themselves and their issue to some far corner of the globe, face the wall for a while and think long and hard about their actions before rejoining the group.

See, typical entitlement Mommy attitude! “If you doesn’t like my behavior, you need to go somewhere else! But if you doesn’t like MY (or my children’s) behavior, you need to go somewhere else!” The rules NEVER apply to mommies and their precious little snowflakes. And they wonder why no one in the village likes them!!

From the comments to the article:

Kids make noise. If they don’t like it (within reason) they should live in an adults only, no kids, no pets block.

Lovely idea. Let’s start building them now! Sadly, they are illegal, since The Powers That Be realize that no one would want to rent to people with kids if they weren’t forced to. (This article is from Australia, where, apparently they aren’t illegal. I’m jealous, but not enough to move there.) Of course, this solution wouldn’t satisfy the mommies at all, because then they’d be forced to live near other people’s kids and they don’t want to deal with the noise from other people’s kids, either.

But you do see the subtle subtext here, don’t you? “If YOU don’t like my children’s noise, YOU go live somewhere else.” Again, the typical entitlement minded breeder attitude.

I didn’t read all the comments, but I was pleased to see that many of them (even other parents) told the Mommy she was totally wrong. There is still some common sense out in the world

But here is my favorite part of the article:

In my day balls, kites, frisbees, remote control planes and all manner of objects landed in the neighbour’s yard and there was no issue with asking your friendly neighbour if you could simply retrieve it.

Not so in the stifled existence of an apartment complex where the world is riddled with boundaries and rules and noise restrictions.

There are two big differences between your-day and to-day. In your-day, people actually got to know their neighbors and were friendly with them. As a general rule, folks tolerate a lot more from their friends than they do from rude and demanding strangers. If you mommies continue to refuse to befriend your neighbors and refuse to build these close-knit communities you feel nostalgic for, you can’t complain about people not being as friendly.

The other big difference is that in your-day, parents were, generally, more considerate of others than they are now. No neighbor would have ever had to yell at me for throwing stuff in their yard because my mother would have been yelling at me before they even noticed their yard was littered with my toys and trash! After yelling at me, my mother would have marched me to the neighbors house and forced me to apologize, then she would have apologized herself and sworn it would NEVER happen again, and then she would have made me clean up the trash from the neighbor’s yard while she and the neighbor watched and made sure I didn’t miss anything. And it was GOOD for us kids to have parents behave like that. It taught us personal responsibility and that every action (even an accident) has consequences. When was the last time you saw parents behave in that way? 1989? Quite possibly.

You know how they show people in movies throwing things, breaking glasses and shattering mirrors? Every time I see scenes like that, I get distracted from the movie and think, “Who is going to clean that mess up? You know you have to clean it up, right? I know you’re mad, but think about the mess!” I would NEVER throw something in anger, because I don’t want to have all that extra work to do cleaning it up! I’m very consciously aware that my actions have consequences – something parents taught in your-day but have lost in the last generation or two. This is the sort of thing that you should be teaching your children, Mommy!!

Here’s a clue: Until you start behaving the way parents behaved in your-day, you have no right to complain that the neighbors of to-day don’t behave the way they did in your-day.

Here’s another: If you want better neighbors, you need to BE a better neighbor.

How about this: Don’t Bother

Another one from Australia:

How to stay friends with parents

I won’t quote the whole article, but I’ll show you a chunk of it. Take a gander:

Here’s my five rules for dealing with friends who are parents.

Rule 1: 5pm to 7:30pm is never a good time to call. And if you want to drop around be prepared to be ignored for at least some of that time. During these hourse I need to get two children fed, bathed, dressed in their pyjamas, read them a story and get them to sleep. It’s not easy and it’s no time for chatting. Parents call this time the “witching hours” when even the best behaved children can turn into attention seeking monsters who cry at the drop of a hat because they are tired and hungry.

Rule 2: If you are organising a party please don’t be dissapointed if only one parent turns up, particularly if the event is at night time. Babysitting is expensive, can’t be organised at the last minute and sometimes it’s just too hard.

Rule 3: Fancy restaurants and children never mix. I’ve lost count of the times our family has been invited out with the line: “We’d love to see the kids” but the venue chosen is entirely inappropriate. We did try it once. It was a disaster. We took turns taking CJ for walks outside and cruising the hallway. Never again. If you want to see the kids and have them behave, then it’s always better to discuss the venue with parents to ensure it’s age appropriate. Otherwise you may end up back in Rule 2 – only one of us can come.

Rule 4: 9:30 to 10pm is my bedtime. Don’t phone me after that, I won’t answer. If you have invited me out for drinks and I’ve made the effort to come, I will probably stay later than 9:30 but I get really tired and I’m not really up for 2am dancing because I have to be up with the kids at 6am. I will pike out early. Don’t call me names, just be grateful that I managed to come at all.

Rule 5: If I don’t call you back don’t take offence. It’s most likely because you broke rule 1 or rule 4, not because I don’t like you. Parents forget things a lot. Just call me and remind me that you called.

That’s all fine and dandy, but if you’re going to be so uptight and demanding, why not simplify this for everyone and make just one rule:

Rule 1: Don’t bother dealing with friends who are parents.

Problem solved.

Vote! (Just don’t vote for Rick Perry)

I’m dwindling off-topic slightly, but bear with me just this once:

Attention American readers: Elections are next month and I’m reminding you to vote. It’s so incredibly important that you do. Even if you don’t like the politicians, even if you don’t think any of them will be any good, even if you think your one vote won’t count, vote. People fought hard for us to have the freedom to vote, and these elections matter. Yea, so you think all politicians are scum – at least vote for the lesser of two evils. It breaks my heart when people say they don’t care – because that’s how things got this bad in the first place: because people didn’t care and continue not to care.

Don’t just blindly vote, and don’t just vote for whomever your boss or preacher told you to vote for. Go find out today who is running in your local elections and do some research on them before election day. Then vote for someone who sounds inspiring or at least vote for someone who sounds the least sucky. Listen to the wise words of Bill Maher:

When it comes to voting… you gotta grow up and realize there is a difference between a disappointing friend and a deadly enemy.

Fine, so you find all the candidates to be disappointing, but realize that some of them aren’t just disappointing, they are down right dangerous. Vote for the disappointing guy so the dangerous guy doesn’t win.

Don’t just worry about the big elections – the gubernatorial or senatorial elections. There are a lot of smaller, local community elections you need to care about because those elections directly affect your neighborhoods and cities. If you don’t care about the governor or the senators, fine, but care about your local elections. Don’t bitch later if you didn’t bother to vote.

Go visit your local campaign headquarters and ask questions, get flyers and get informed. Maybe even get involved. Maybe even find out how you or someone you know can run for election next time if you think all the candidates are so terrible.

If you need an absentee ballot, order it now. For the rest of you, do your homework starting now to find out when and where you vote (some states have early voting, and I suggest you take advantage of it) so there are no excuses later.

I don’t even care who you vote for (although if you are in Texas and you vote for Rick Perry I might just have to come and kick you in the teeth), just get out and vote, and not just any vote: make an informed vote.

And next month, after the elections are over, don’t just stop then until the next time I nag you to vote. Get involved in your local communities. Get interested in local politics, get involved with various groups that help protect your rights, volunteer in your communities, try to help make the lives of people in your local area better. There are a plethora of opportunities that you don’t even know about and won’t until you start getting involved (and no, they don’t all involve kids). Find something you believe in and get involved. Check your newspaper or your local library or various local bulletin boards and you might just stumble upon opportunities. You’re unlikely to find those opportunities if you don’t start looking, though.

Working in your community can be a great experience. You’ll find it’s actually good for you and gives you a sense of pride, of being a part of something bigger than yourself. If you tried it once before and didn’t like it, try something different this time. Two years ago Obama told us not to believe in his ability to create change, but to believe in our own. Maybe you don’t like Obama much, but he’s right. We must believe in our own ability to create change. Change begins with individuals; change begins with you.

I often get tired of listening to the mommy crowd whine that “the community” doesn’t do enough for families (i.e. unemployed mommies), and I always find myself bitching at them that “YOU are part of the community. If YOU aren’t doing anything, YOU are part of the problem!” But actually, that applies to all of us. Too many of us just exist in our communities without trying to be a part of them. I’m asking you to be a part of your community. Look out for the best interests of the community as a whole, look out for fairness and equality for everyone, not just the mommies and their special snowflakes. If we do nothing, we let them roll right over us and then we have no one to blame but ourselves.

If you want a better community, you have to make a better community. In the wise words of Phil Collins and Genesis:

This is the world we live in
And these are the hands we’re given
Use them and let’s start trying
To make it a place worth living in

It begins with voting, but it doesn’t end there.

Whenever I hear people say they don’t want to be bothered with voting, it breaks my heart a little. I think of the women who fought so hard so I would have the right to vote today. And about the African-Americans who had to fight so hard to be able to vote without being lynched so that my husband could vote today. And all the soldiers who died believing in this country — in all wars, not just the recent ones that no one seems to believe in. After everything these people fought for, do I have a right to take my freedom to vote for granted?

Sure, I have just one little vote. But maybe in writing this I convinced five other people to vote, and maybe they’ll convince five more and maybe my “one little vote” and my “one little voice” can somehow make a difference (but I’m serious, if you vote for Rick Perry I’m gonna get you!). I owe it to everyone who fought for freedom to take the time to vote and to take the time to write this.

Forgive me for floating off topic briefly. I promise I’ll soon be back to my regularly scheduled rants. I have a good one almost ready, if only I can get the graphic right.

Weird Family Decals

I’m not so much for decorating my car, so I don’t exactly understand why other people do. I mean, if I have to be bored in traffic, I think everyone else should be, too! I’m not going to provide you people with free entertainment while driving. Apparently that’s what your cell phones are for!

I think the weirdest thing people do is put those family decals on their cars, but apparently it’s the latest fad since yellow ribbon magnets went out of style. Who said people didn’t have children as some kind of fashion accessories? Now they are not only fashion accessories everywhere mommy goes, but fashion accessories for her mini-van or SUV, too!

Usually these dumb decals show Dad, Mom, two soccer kids and a baby, plus maybe a dog and/or a cat. So a family decal I saw on a car recently really cracked me up at it’s absurdity. It looked something like this:

Just in case you can’t see the image, it is a family decal depicting a dad, a mom, another dad, and two kids. We weren’t mistaken – the second dad wasn’t just a tall kid — it was the same image as the first dad, so apparently they were both adult males.

My husband and I have been speculating (and laughing) about what possible message this kooky family was supposed to be telling us. Maybe you can help me figure it out.

What do you think this supposed to mean?

  1. The two men in the decal were the two potential baby-daddies and this family can’t afford the DNA test (they had to spend all their money on back-to-school supplies and car decals!) and are still on the Mauryshow waiting list.)
  2. The first dad is the first kid’s father, and the second dad is the second kid’s father, but someone’s feelings might have been hurt if their dad’s picture wasn’t part of the family decal.
  3. This is one of those reverse-Mormon families, where the gal has two “husbands” (They’re trying out for a new show called Brother Husbands!) and the three of them are raising a couple of kids that, hopefully, belong to one or more of the adults involved.
  4. The second “dad” is their adult son that still lives on their sofa (and probably always will) and apparently they are proud of that.
  5. This decal depicts a Grandma and Grandpa with their grown son who still lives on their sofa (and probably always will) and his two children who visit one weekend a month, but no one wanted to hurt their feelings by not including them in the family decal.
  6. The first “dad” is Grandpa living with his daughter, her husband and their two kids. It’s like the final episode of King of Queens! (Oops, spoiler!)
  7. A gay couple, their two adopted kids and the “beard” that pretends to be the wife of one of them so that they don’t get kicked out of the Army.
  8. Someone just making a mockery of those stupid family decals.
  9. Something else entirely. (Share your interpretation with me. I’d love to hear it.)

You think that decal was weird? I’ve seen even weirder. I probably shouldn’t mention this, as it might creep you out a bit, but I once saw a window kinda like this:

If you can’t see this image, it’s two big fish and a whole bunch of little fish. No, it wasn’t the Duggar family. In this case, at least half of the little fish had halos over their heads. Apparently, this family is a death trap for children. Where are the pro-lifers now, huh?

So what the hell does this one mean?

  1. Co-sleepers.
  2. Cheap frequent flyers.
  3. People who “forget” their children in hot cars.
  4. Crappy drivers who keep getting into accidents and losing kids that way. (The person was driving pretty crappy.)
  5. Too much inbreeding and most of the kids were born with severe disabilities and didn’t make it. And these inbred hicks are PROUD of it, too!
  6. It’s a throwback to WWII when pilots would put the number of planes they shot down on the side of their plane. In this case, they mark the people they have run over with their car; halos mark the ones they got good!
  7. Obviously these are religious nuts, so maybe they were intentionally sending their babies to see Jesus. Some of those weird cults have weird ideas you know. Six down, three to go!
  8. Folks bragging about the number of abortions they’ve had to annoy pro-lifers and challenge the rest of us to catch up.
  9. Someone just making a mockery of those stupid family decals.
  10. Something else entirely. (Share your interpretation with me. I’d love to hear it.)

I’m SO tempted to start carrying a tube of bright red lipstick with me in case I ever see that particular car again so I can write “SERIAL KILLERS!!” on the back of it to alert the cops. Look, we have their signed confession on the back of their car! WHAT MORE DO YOU NEED? Obviously the cops aren’t pro-life or they’d be more concerned about this!

At this point, I’m thinking I want my own family decal on the back of my car and make it as ridiculous as possible just for fun, just to mock these damn decals. Any suggestions? I know you all are very creative!

I’m not that easily fooled

I haven’t posted much lately, because I just haven’t had much that pissed me off. But then this afternoon I worked myself into such a lather over this damn article and ended up blowing off my entire to-do list. I started to bitch about this on my fan page, but decided I still had more to say and needed more room in which to say it. Lucky you. Maybe.

I wanted to warn you about bitchmedia’s faux-childfree column that is really a bunch of pro-mommy bullshit. It’s supposedly a “feminist” website, but you know how that goes. It seems that most “feminism” today is not about equal right for women – it’s generally “mommyism” – special rights for mothers. What I saw today quickly suggests bitchmedia fits that description perfectly.

This columnist, who is claiming to be childfree (but call me crazy, I’m not sure I believe her from her tone and treatment of childfree), started up last week with an articleabout how she intends to write a series of articles about childlessness. (That’s right, we’re “childless” according to her.)

She starts out by insisting that she LOOOOOOOOVES babies and kids. She just loves them! And anyone who doesn’t can just go the fuck somewhere else, because no one is allowed to NOT like kids on her watch. Yes, we’re not allowed to discuss the possibility that anyone could dislike babies or children in this “childfree” column/forum – that would be demeaning and offensive to moms everywhere and those comments WILL be deleted.

Then she repeatedly refers to us “childless,” which really ruffles my feathers. She bitches about the word “breeder” being insulting, but doesn’t mind insulting us with the term “childless” as if we are lesser people, inferior and lacking somehow. The word didn’t bother me so much when I was younger, but the older I get, the more that “less” word ticks me off. Who is this woman to refer to me as LESS of anything? If I was unmarried would I be referred to as “manless” by these so-called feminists? Fuck that noise!

Worse, while she insists on referring to me as “LESS” of a person, she whines that those of us without children had better know our place: we can’t say anything at all that would offend mommies. No mean words like breeder or brats or anything more inflammatory than that. We’d better keep our damn traps shut because insulting moms or kids is the same as “kicking puppies” as far as she’s concerned. *eyeroll*

Then she stops, without giving any ground rules to parents. Mommies and wannabees (clearly her target audience) are allowed to say anything rude or inappropriate to us (including the put-down “childless”). She might as well have just written, “SCREW YOU CHILDFREE, THIS COLUMN AIN’T FOR YOU!” because that’s exactly what we’re being told.

If only that were the end of it. But no, there is more.

There is one thing we’re allowed to talk about (besides “we LOOOOOOOOOVE babies and kids!”): the “enormous prams that take up the whole sidewalk”. Oh good, I’m glad we childfree have permission to say ONE thing on a supposedly childfree forum!

Oh, wait! Not so fast! Someone DID comment on the enormous prams (strollers) on the sidewalk. Only to be slapped around by the mommy commenters who have free reign. They told her to shut up and learn the real issues, to stop whining about having to walk around the strollers and that HELLO, the whole world should be set up to make their lives and strollers more easy and if we weren’t so stupid (okay, they didn’t say stupid, but they might as well have) we’d know better! Okay, so we can’t even talk about strollers after being given permission to talk about strollers. Check.

Next up, some gal tried to ask why we can’t mention dislike of children and that there is nothing wrong with having personal preference. The mommies were all over her, screaming AGEISM and going back to the same old argument that anyone who doesn’t like kids is every other kind of ism. (You know what they mean: racism. If you don’t like kids, you’re as bad as a racist. You know, ever since Michael Jackson, these dumb white mommies seem to think that people of color will outgrow their skin color eventually, just like kids grow out of being kids. No bimbos, people of color do NOT grow-out of their race so racism is NOT the same as disliking children (ageism).)

Another childfree commenter complained about covering for parents at work while they are constantly out because of allegedly sick kids, and was quickly jumped upon by mommies lecturing her how she’s obligated to help cover for parents at work, DUH. After all, they don’t like caring for sick children, so we’d better be miserable, too! Okay, so another topic that is off topic on the childfree forum: Can’t complain about parent coworkers.

One childfree person had this intelligent contribution:

I do wish we could have some sort of moratorium on comments from parents trying to rationalize to us why they had kids. It’s great that people choose to have kids but this is not an appropriate place to make sure that you’re seen as “not one of those parents.” It would be completely inappropriate and not tolerated for people who are choosing to not have kids to go in a post about parenting and bray about their choice and why they made it, it should be no different here.

A completely reasonable request, right? I’m not going to go to a “July Babies 2011!” message board and sing the praises of childfree life and why I’m SO much better off than the preggos, so they really shouldn’t waddle on over to our childfree areas and sing the praises of their life choices, either. Fair’s fair? Right. Oh wait, nothing is fair to the childless on bitchmedia.

A woman (mommy) who calls herself the “web editor” insists that no such moratorium will be set because people have a right to have their say. And by “people” she means mommies! Childfree can (and are) censored at whim. Add “no suggestion that mommies stop talking incessantly about their kids on childfree forums” to the list of things childfree can’t talk about.

At this rate, we’re soon to run out of things to talk about you realize. If we can’t fucking talk about ANYTHING, what’s the motherfucking POINT of this damn column? (Clearly, there isn’t one.)

Someone else touched on the overpopulation issue as a reason not to have children, and that was pounced on, too. Waa, waa, waa, that would get into the eugenics of who is “right” and who is “wrong” to have kids and that’s unfair because anyone should be able to irresponsibly reproduce any time they want. Yea. Soooooo, add overpopulation to the things we can’t mention on this… faux-childfree forum.

Okay. Time to give up. The comments are being heavily moderated to make sure the childfree keep in our place, yet the parents are being given free reign to take over, argue with us, basically tell us we’re wrong and chase us out. The only thing we’re allowed to say is, “Squee! I love kids and I love this column!”.

My point being: Please don’t accidentally believe that bitchmedia or Ms. Shoot care one iota about the childfree movement or that this column is childfree-friendly in any way, shape or form. It’s essentially a column for mommies to sound off on all their pet peeves about people who choose not to have kids, and to shoot down or censor anything we say if we dare post there. Save yourselves some trouble and see it for what it is up front. Read it if you want but don’t waste your time taking any of it seriously. It’s a complete fucking joke. Hell, it makes about as much sense as me setting up a second blog on this site to discuss Mommyhood! Yes, let’s trick mommies into coming here thinking I was serious about discussion and then laugh while we all slap them around a bit and delete anything they say that doesn’t kiss our asses. It’ll be fun!!

Eh, never mind.

Wait, one other thing I wanted to mention while I’m on the topic of this idiotic article.

[I will] discuss what it means to be an intentionally childfree woman in Western culture. Why are some famous women (Oprah) relatively unscathed by the media when it comes to childbearing, while other famous women (Jennifer Aniston) can’t shake pregnancy speculation?

She really needs someone to explain this to her? All right, I’ll do it. Oprah is relatively unscathed by Western culture because she’s 1) over 50, 2) not the “right” race, and 3) many people still assume she’s a lesbian. Gee, mystery solved.

New Rules for Schools

Note for Non-Americans: I don’t know about your country’s educational system and, don’t take this the wrong way but, frankly I don’t care. No matter how perfect your country and your country’s school system are, it’s not doing me much good to rub my nose in it. So for today we’re going to talk about the United States school system.

Note for Uptight People with No Senses of Humor: I’m just having fun here. No one would ever actually implement my ideas in a million years so unpucker your assholes and stop fretting about it. I just thought this would be some fun hypotheticals to play with. Relax and enjoy or just roll your eyes and go read dooce or something.

I know everyone is mad at me for not posting much the last few months. I’ve been preoccupied with real-life hassles, novel projects and watching too much (American) political news that is, for the most part, frustrating as hell. I apologize for being neglectful and rather cranky lately.

Without getting too political, I want to talk about my ideas of how to solve the school budget problems. Listen up, these are good!

Idea #1: Governors, don’t cut your school budget by a billion dollars so you can give that money to your cronies! Voters, don’t vote for governors who cut the school budget so they can give kickbacks to their wealthy, corporate friends!

Idea #2: No more public schools. None. I figure in the scheme of things, we should have free universal health care before free public schools. Take money from school budgets and put it into a new, public health care system. After all, clearly people CAN homeschool (I’m not saying they do it well, but they CAN do it) yet few people can give their child or spouse an appendectomy from home. I could try, but I think my husband might not be too pleased with the results.

I know, I know! You’re all crying, “But we don’t want an uneducated populace!” I have news for you. We DO have an uneducated populace. The only difference is: we’re payingfor them to be uneducated. Today’s high school graduates are functionally illiterate! We’re paying for a ridiculously overpriced pizza that never gets delivered!!

But fine: Have a whiney-ass tantrum and say we can’t do away with schools because not all parents want to homeschool; it might cut into their time club hopping. Okay, fine. I have a backup plan that is even more genius.

Idea #3: Get rid of public schools. Not public education, just the school buildings. Or at least most of them. Think about how much could be saved every year if we shut down the majority of the school buildings! We could save all the maintenance, landscaping and janitorial costs, the electricity, water, heat, and air conditioning costs, and think of all the savings on the bus program, especially now that gas is so damned expensive! Yes, I do feel bad for the people who lose their jobs (such as janitors and bus drivers), but think of how much money is wasted in those areas alone?

My alternative to school buildings is distance learning like they do in many colleges. Have the kids log in and do their coursework online. They can log in to chat for tutoring. They can have instructional videos to teach them and maybe even video conferencing on certain dates and times. True, the school system might have to provide all students with laptops or iPads/tablets (and the data plan) for this to work. While I’m no economist, I’m fairly certain that is still cheaper than what we’re doing now.

Yes, we’d still need a few buildings for various things, such as administration and testing (the way I figure it, students might have to come in one or two half-days a month for testing, and they could stagger the blocks of students that come in so they wouldn’t all come in on the same day), but we’d need far fewer school buildings, thus saving us a lot of money.

(Locally they want to build yet another new school and can you tell I’m bitter about having to pay for it? I’m not the one irresponsibly breeding, creating the over-crowding problem in schools! I’m actually SAVING them money by NOT putting more kids into the system – I deserve a refund!! But that’s a rant for another day.)

This plan would put more of the burden on parents for their children’s education, which is where it belongs anyway. The single biggest problem (outside of budgets) facing schools is parents. Either parents who don’t want to be involved and don’t give a shit if their kid is failing OR the parents who think their child is super-special and should automatically be given As for everything (even if the A is terribly undeserved), they think their kid shouldn’t be given too much homework, they don’t like what is being taught or try to dictate what is being taught, or any other ridiculous complaints that hinder the educational process.

With my plan, parents wouldn’t exactly have to teach the kids (that’s what the online courses would be for), but they would have to monitor the children to see if they are doing their homework and keeping up, they would be responsible for focusing on any areas their children might be having problems with and bring it to the teacher’s attention or arrange for enrollment in a tutoring program. But from now on, if their child “fell through the cracks” it would be because they weren’t paying enough attention. No more blaming everyone else for that.

Yes, I know some parents have jobs and think they are too busy to do this, but how many hours a day would it take to review their children’s homework progress? It’s not an eight-hour job and it’s something they should be doing anyway!

Bonuses of this idea: no more complaining the school cafeterias serving crappy lunches, complaining about the cost of school clothes or supplies, no more demanding prayer and the ten commandments be in the schools, etc.

Even better bonus: There would be a wider range of elective courses for kids to take, since they wouldn’t necessarily be limited to just the classes offered at the local high school. Maybe a student wants to learn Russian — I’m sure we could find a Russian class being taught somewhere in the U.S. for them to enroll in.

There are three valid drawbacks I see to this plan:

Drawback 1: What are we going to do about kids who constantly break, lose, sell, etc. their free laptops/iPads? Many kids today are just plain irresponsible and destroy everything you hand them because they just don’t give a shit. It could get horribly expensive if the school needs to continually replace these items. I suppose we could say each kid is allowed one replacement item every two or three years, and if they continue to destroy/lose the equipment, they will just have to start handwriting all their assignments and mail them in like Netflix. How does that sound?

(If the item was defective or needing routine repairs, that wouldn’t count against their one replacement item.)

Drawback 2: A bigger problem I see with this option is that there would be a socialization problem. I know lots of people hated everyone they ever went to school with would think that never having to go to school and interact with anyone else is grand, but it really IS a problem. As much as pro-homeschoolers try to claim their kids are perfect geniuses who have perfect social skills… I’ve never met those kids. The homeschooled kids I’ve met were socially awkward or absolute narcissists who believed the world revolved around them. If we don’t send kids to school, they will miss out on a lot of social lessons. Here is an abbreviated list of things kids learn from school socialization:

 

  • that the world doesn’t entirely revolve around them
  • that not everyone they meet is going to be someone they like or who likes them, and that’s okay
  • socially acceptable behavior (bathe occasionally, chew with your mouth closed, etc)
  • a sense of humor (one homeschool kid I met seriously had no sense of humor, didn’t understand sarcasm, etc. It was painful to have a conversation with her because she took everything oh-so-seriously)
  • how to interact with their peers, to overcome shyness and fear of rejection
  • being exposed to other ideas than the ones their learn at home (especially a problem for religiously homeschooled kids who often don’t meet anyone outside their church group)
  • tolerance for groups other than their own.

 

This lack of socialization problem a big drawback. Sure, if we went to distance-learning for children, they might still socialize with other kids in their church group, ballet class, soccer practice, etc. but not all of them will, and even the ones who do might be missing a lot of that “being exposed to other ideas” part.

Drawback 2: Some kids come from bad home environments, and they really need to go to school to get away from that. However, maybe these children just need to be removed from those environments altogether.

Other criticisms I’ll hear, but might not be as valid:

Criticism 1 – Kids will no longer get free meals! The free meal program has always pissed me off because it’s unduly punishing the taxpayer and responsible parents and gives a benefits to irresponsible parents who would rather spend their money on booze and cigarettes than feed their children. Yes, I understand that the kids get punished if the rest of us refuse to cough up the dough to feed them, but isn’t there a better solution? Why is it that the parents of these kids with free lunches always have fancier cell phones than I do? And every video gaming system known to man? How do those kids survive to even be school aged if their parents never feed them?

I’m just rather tired of society constantly giving parents a free pass on everything. No one can criticize them for having children they can’t afford. No one can criticize parents who don’t feed their kids. No one can criticize parents who refuse to discipline their children. It’s got to stop. Maybe if we held parents to a higher standard, future generations would be far better off.

Criticism 2 – No more free daycare. Most parents today use schools as glorified day care centers. Well, too bad! Society does not owe them free day care. Taxpayers should not pay higher taxes for the sole reason that parents want their kids to be someone else’s problem eight hours a day.

It’s not that I don’t feel for working parents, but we still shouldn’t have to pay for their (very expensive) daycare. I have no sympathy for the unemployed mothers who look forward to the end of summer vacation so they don’t have to watch their own kids all day.

There are several solutions to this problem, but we’ll leave that to the parents to figure out. One idea off the top of my head is churches. Obviously this wouldn’t work so well for atheist kids, but most religious people have some sort of church building. These buildings sit around empty most of the week. Why don’t the churches sponsor school-aged day care for their parishioners? Yes, one could argue that those kids will be getting brainwashed while being educated, but if the parents already attend that church, apparently they are fine with the brainwashing. They wouldn’t need to employ teachers, just someone to supervise the kids, make sure they are doing their work and keep them from burning down the joint.

Another idea: It takes a village, right? So reach out to the village: friends, neighbors and relatives could watch your kids while they sit around doing their homework. There are plenty of unemployed mothers today. Of course, they generally don’t want to watch their own kids, let alone others, but maybe they need to grow up. It’s not like these are infants who need to be fed, burped, and diapered all day long. You just have to sit the kid down to do his lessons and make sure he doesn’t Darwinize himself for a few hours.

Mostly this no-free-daycare problem shouldn’t be a problem for long. I probably wouldn’t leave five, six or seven-year-olds alone all day, but once a kid gets to be about eight or nine, they should be able to stay home alone without burning down the joint or letting a child molester in. In my day, by third grade kids could stay home alone if they were sick. Of course, in my day, children might have been more mature and responsible, too. If kids turn out to be too immature and irresponsible to leave at home, it’s the parent’s fault for raising them that way. Anyway, eventually, when the older kids are old enough, they can at least supervise the younger siblings and keep them from burning down the joint and letting molesters in.

Criticism 3 – Kids not doing homework while home alone, but rather playing games and/or watching TV all day. Well, it’s good training to be an unemployed parent some day! Seriously, though, parents CAN set parental controls on the TV/DVR, they can lock up the video game systems or not have them at all, or whatever else needs to be done to keep the kids from being too distracted. Or they can arrange for someone else to watch the kids during the day if they really think the kids need supervision. As long as tax payers don’t have to pay for it.

Criticism 4 – Some parents will complain that they don’t want the responsibility of making sure their kids are doing well in school. Too bad! Don’t have kids if you don’t want responsibility!

Criticism 5 I realize a lot of people are going to complain about child welfare and how a system like this is ripe for parents to abuse their kids by neglecting their education, not feeding them, and no teacher involved to witness signs of physical abuse, among other things. That’s a good point. Although, it’s not that much different from a homeschool child now. No one knows if children who are getting homeschooled are getting fed, if they are being physically abused or even if they are getting a decent education, either. (I know homeschooling advocates love to claim homeschooled kids are 900x smarter and better educated than public school kids, but you have not heard the horror stories I’ve heard! One whack job relative told me their “homeschooling curriculum” for that semester was history (only history, nothing else) and that their text books were (I shit you not) Janette Oke books. There is no way those kids got a real education! Since those kids only got into non-accredited bible colleges, I’m going to assume that is true.)

Fine, this might be a valid point, but perhaps the money we are saving from paying for all the school buildings and buses, we could pour into improving and possibly expanding the Child Protective Services program to monitor such issues.

While this plan has absolutely ZERO or close chance of being implemented, why don’t we discuss it just for fun. What else should we consider. Go ahead and disagree and propose alternatives; I expect you to comment with all the holes in my theory or come up with better ideas! After all, I’m not too bright and I’ve only spent one day working on this theory. Argue amongst yourselves what may or may not work. But again, it’s NOT GOING TO HAPPEN, so just playwith the idea. Might be fun.

BONUS IDEA: How about we implement a new system that says parents only get the child-tax credit on their tax refunds if their kids get good grades in school (B average or higher). No reason to reward them for not doing their job!