Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Social Conventions & Profit

How many of us would actually buy a house for $250K that was twice as big as the one we grew up in if it weren't for social convention?  Then subsequently fill that house with bedroom sets and china cabinets that we don't really care about?  How many of us would by a $4K wedding ring and throw a wedding that cost $25K or $30K, going into debt to finance a celebration that people have been doing for thousands of years without anything approaching that kind of cost (except for nobility)?  Really what is a diamond ring?  It's a sparkly rock.  I have no problem with it.  But do I really care enough about it to spend $4K?  Why are we doing this to ourselves?

It's no conspiracy.  It just happens that there are varied interests that benefit from these decisions that often put consumers into debt.  Those interests seem to converge into these kind of actions that in my view look a little strange when you try and step outside of our bubble.  Admittedly that's not easy and maybe I'm deluding myself.  But are these actions rational?

It's like what was said in the Tedx Talk in my prior link.  Animals often build shelter in about a day.  Sometimes it takes a bit longer.  For humans it takes 30 years.  Is this necessary?

I'm trying to extract myself from these conventions.  I'm proud to say that I think the car I drive is the crappiest car in the whole parking lot where I work.  I've bought too many things in my lifetime, but years back I had a realization about cars.  A friend of mine spent big money on a big cool truck and he took me for a ride.  As we approached it it looked very impressive.  All shiny and new.  But when I got inside it I looked around inside and realized it didn't do anything for me.  Nothing more than the beater car I was driving at the time.  Ever since that point I realized I didn't care about the fancy car.

But I'm now learning there's a lot more I own that I don't care about, primarily my house.  It's nice.  I like it OK.  But do I like it enough to send the bank that big chunk of money in interest every month and all the property taxes?  Wouldn't I rather be free of that burden and free to travel.  Maybe make the cost of my children's college tuition a lot easier?  Or other things.

I kind of wonder what our world would look like if people didn't adopt these social conventions, trying vainly to keep up with the Jones's.  Maybe people would work 10 years, then stop working altogether.  Stay close to home, ride a bike most of the time.  Spend 15 minutes a day working on a garden.  Tend a few chickens.  Play with the kids.  Instead we run from here to there fulfilling job requirements.  All to pay for things we don't really need and don't care about.


Paul said...

Hey Jon -

"kind of wonder what our world would look like if people didn't adopt these social conventions, trying vainly to keep up with the Jones's."


I think this is one area perhaps where we part ways. I like the modern world and its amenities.

I don't begrudge you; however, in your quest/desires for a simple life. though it isn't for me, per se, I find it admirable.

Chad said...

I'm with Paul on this as well. While at the Aquarium with my kids on vacation, I was able to watch the finals of the HR Derby last night, sent emails for work, shopped for an RV with my wife and booked some new business all in the time it took the kids to pet and feed the penguins. I linked our IPad to the interactive guide for a more in depth experience as well.

When I travel for work, I always tuck my kids into bed and spend time with them through my IPad and our home TV's. They get to see daddy anytime they want by hitting one button on the TV no matter where I might be. My son is basically my alarm clock when I travel - I hear my devices ringing when he wakes up and get to see him every morning.

When he and my daughter are at school, I can log in at anytime and see exactly what they are doing. I get their completed homework sent to me by email and can put together a study guide/lesson plane to correct the problem areas before they get home.

I can turn on/off lights at my house from anywhere, I can see who's at the front door without getting out of my chair and HDTV/3D HDTV/XBox 360 - awesome.

I love, love, love technology and can barely get enough.

Examinator said...

I think I've already said as much about myself already .i.e. my 2nd hand 18 yo Subaru (top of the range of the time) .It has more than adequate creature comforts, safety and toys, my house is very average not something that an executive would live in.
You would not believe the pressure I was under from fellow executives to maintain an 'appropriate' lifestyle befitting my 'station?'. The company tried desperately to accept a leased upper end Mercedes as part of my package ( I nearly got away with a model that was a van. Until someone twigged) . Then there was the membership to an appropriate Golf club ( to impress/entertain clients and other executives and to network in). I used my disabled arm as an excuse and joins a number of service clubs instead. When mobile phones came in they were the size of house bricks and were the ultimate executive pose. When we went to restaurant, believe it or not, the chairman of the board booked two tables one for the cell phones... talk about ridiculous! I simply refused opting for a pager which at times like that I turned it to silent or off.
I was told in none to uncertain terms that my antisocial ideas isolated me from the other execs and in reality it marked a target on my back..... not one of them....I was a threat to their pack mentality and justification for 'executive perks'.Make no bones about it politics at that level is as vicious as it is petty self interested and ultimately energy wasting.
However Like Paul there are some things about technology I like and NEED for various reasons. I would suggest that Paul's logic has failed him because he interpreted The talk as about tribal living. It wasn't!

The amount of more sophisticated, better informed Chad (right wing) type thinking at executive levels is rife. To be fair regardless of where one is in society ( hierarcially speaking) the pressure to conform to that 'norm' is tremendous. In the previous cited Chomsky vid he seems to be addressing exactly what Chad espouses...
What Jon Jandai doesn't say is that even his society has very similar pressures/ prejudices to conform to some indefinable ( well, impossible to maintain... in absolute ) standard.
Also having been raised/lived adjacent and in his type of tribal lifestyle it has very real problems and disadvantages problems.

In essence I think it boils down to the simple conclusion that peace and happiness isn't found in objects but from within one's self. The real difficulty with this concept for most people is that humans generally have two major problems .
The first is a sense of perspective/ proportion. Life isn't black or White but a complex combinations of shades grey. The shading is determined by the context. How well we understand the context determines how precise we understand the problem (the shade of grey) . This in turn determines the proportion the intensity of the response. Chad incorrectly sees this as simplistic requiring less effort however the truth is the diametric opposite.
The second human failing is that of determining (in perspective) the difference between a WANT and a NEED.
The current incantation of Capitalism and its attendant Consumerism strives (needs to ) have people confuse the two.
Buddha makes the valid point that Peace/ self contentment ( enlightenment) can only come with conquering (controlling ) desires (wants). By this definition this leaves us with ,and the core of Jandai's talk, 'NEEDS'
It doesn't take a genius to then deduce this control or willingness comes from with in not externally.
In my case that means happy with a less want filled life style. More power to you Jon for your efforts.

Paul said...

Ex -

You stated
"However Like Paul there are some things about technology I like and NEED for various reasons. I would suggest that Paul's logic has failed him because he interpreted The talk as about tribal living. It wasn't!"

Can you elaborate on where my logic failed? So we are level set, I have not yet watched the video in Jon's other posting so there may be context that I am missing.

Perhaps I could have been more elaborate in my original comment in this thread. My response to the Jon's question, that I quoted in my original comment, was semi serious but also semi in jest.

I cannot speak for the masses but I would *not* categorize my behavior as "keeping up with the jones". I did not take Jon's statement literally. I took him to be asking what might the world be like if we, as whole/collective, were less inclined for consumption. I suggested such a world would be poorer. That is a world where people are "not trying to keep up with Jones's" (metaphor) is a world where the level of consumption is reduced. By definition, I think, this would make the world poorer.

So we are clear, I am not encouraging anyone to keep up with the jones's (again metaphorically speaking).

If Jon, or your, or anyone else are happier in being out of the rat race (once again, a metaphor). I think that is cool.

I do find the following kind of rubbish - possibly self-refuting
"Buddha makes the valid point that Peace/ self contentment ( enlightenment) can only come with conquering (controlling ) desires (wants)."

Striving (presumably) for peace (self contentment) is itself a desire. What I think is required here is to explain why the desire for peace (or self-contentment) should be treated differently than other desires.

Examinator said...

Ya Paul,
Thank you for your considered rebuttal Good on you :)

I will admit to a bit of short hand and even a bit of conditioned assumption for that I apologise.
What I was trying to say was that you APEARED to be basing your rejection on what Jon (website one) on an assumption on strictly either or basis.... i.e. either base your life on (keeping up with the Joneses[ rat race] or tribal 'simplicity' (sic) ).
I went on to explain that Humans (presumably you and me ) tend to reject alternatives by viewing them in terms of mutual exclusivity, which is logically unsound.

The same Jon also set the context by stating that Jandai's vid had resonance, what he didn't say was that it was absolutely true inferring a mutually exclusivity.

I don't believe that either Jon or I have left the mainstream society at all in fact we are both up to up to our necks in it. It seems to me it's about HOW you get involved
In reality if there is anything to learn from Jandai's vid it is that we as civilised (sic) westerners over/intensification of emphasise the importance of acquisition of Wants/desires and needs (things). This is driven by manipulated (aka consumerism... base principal of current capitalism), of our social NEEDS i.e. belong to a society(base principal of behaviourism, neuro psychology [ genetic influences], anthropology, sociology, religion and nationalism... uncontroversial...a.k.a. Human Nature ).
One of the techniques of consumerism is the deliberate increasing emotional responses i.e. Sell the sizzle not the steak. Emotive words like sizzle, chunky, delicious etc.
*Interesting facts (technique)* a hamburger van will sell more food hot dogs etc. if the smell of frying onions is obvious.
When selling a house the smell of brewing coffee and relaxing music will help.
When selling cell phones the last thing they're actually doing is selling a phone or phone calls (they're functional, needs) they're selling the emotion feel good cool, having the latest self image,
( e.g the brick type cell phones..... very expensive and bloody near functionally useless.. horrible reception limited areas ) fun.
NB I said CONTROL DESIRES NOT ELIMINATE. Also note that the extreme of desires is Obsession. and the opposite is indicative of disorders.
Buddha and I are merely suggesting moderation.
How? Simple ask a few questions …. Do I need this to survive? Yes or no.
In the case of a vaccination against some deadly disease ? It depends on if I'm likely to be exposed to it. e.g. Cholera not so much,(unless I was going to live in Jandai's village)may be a want.
Ross River Fever vaccination? Given I spend time in swamps … it is a Need.
Do I NEED a bigger computer ? …What am I doing with it? In my case it would be a want. This one does what I need. It aint broke.
What I've demonstrated is Priorities and proportion (aka context) i.e. that mutual exclusivity is a nonsense in most cases....not enough people challenge their views/opinions for objectivity, provability, therefore they tend to be emotive/ venting are predicated on unsound assumptions and flawed logic.

Jon said...


True. But would people be happier?

What amenities do you like? I also have an iPad and love it. I'm not really saying don't own anything. What's really great about the iPad (and computers generally) is your books and movies can be digital. I'm trying to get there to reduce clutter in my life. I like stuff too. I like riding my bike. I'm fine with buying stuff that you need and will use, but take a look at some of the examples I give. Expensive diamond rings, large weddings. Homes that really are twice as big as they need to be. These purchases are the kinds of things that require us to work 35 years, rather than retiring after 15. That's good for owners and bankers. We must work hard to send that interest payment. We likewise create a larger labor pool, which means wages can be reduced. We (or maybe some of us) really aren't doing it because internally we desire it. We do it because of social convention.

It's like Ex says with marketing. In advertising images are contrived with the express person of prompting you to make an irrational choice and spend money you don't need to spend. That's why so many Americans must work even though they'd rather not.

Yeah, they'd be poorer in a 1000 sq ft house, rather than the 3K sq ft house, which they finally pay off after 30 years of interest payments. But they got to spend time with their kids for real. Not just virtual tuck-ins. When you are near death and you ask yourself if you think you spent your time wisely, would you rather have worked to pay off a mortgage that was enormous or would you rather have spent more time with your family?

Jon said...

Chad, I can't speak for you and what you require for happiness, but I assume you'd agree that a virtual tuck-in is not a real one. But maybe you need that RV badly enough for your own happiness that it's worth that sacrifice. For me it isn't.

Also all around me I find people that think security is very important. Lock your doors because threats are everywhere. In your case you've spent money on a security device. Again, I can't speak for you. I don't know where you live. But where I am I tend to think people are very irrational on this subject. They want to spend money (generating profits for others and requiring them to work more and spend less time with their kids) so that they can alleviate this perceived threat. I don't think I really need to lock my doors at night. I don't need a gun in the house. Nothing ever happens. I've never even heard of anything like this happening anywhere near where I live. But the perception of a threat lines the pockets of owners and requires me to keep working. All to fill a need that really isn't a need at all.

If you need these things, by all means keep working. But just make sure you do because you're paying a price today.

Jon said...

Ex, I'm definitely going to have to watch the Chomsky video you provided before.

Paul said...

Jon -


True. But would people be happier?"

In the aggregate, people very well might be happier. I am not contesting this; though neither am I assuming it to be true. How is that for a non-answer? :-)

Ex - in your follow up; I understand and agree w/ much of you say. Though perhaps where we may disagree is in how strongly we distinguish a WANT and a NEED. I think the distinction is weaker for me than it is with you.

Jonathan said...


There seems to be a movement over the past 5 years or so for getting out of American consumerism. There are different approaches, but there are a lot of common themes popping up. Such as:

1) Reduce and Reuse, Man - get rid of your crap, sell your house, and live a simple life in the US, enjoying a lot of the benefits we’ve grown up and loved, just on a smaller scale. Think the guy who built the 500sf house for his family and rides his bike everywhere.
2) Reduce and Unplug, Man - Get rid of your crap, sell your house, move to a less expensive yet exciting location (this is more popular with the 20 to mid 30 crowd) such as the Philippines, Bali, Thiland, and to a lesser extent India.
3) Have Your Cake and Eat it Too! - Boost your income with some entrepreneurial brainstorm, work like a dog for 3 years, and then pay everything off and live the dream on passive income.
4) Time is King and Stuff ain’t Bad – The new rich aka the “NR” are the guys who live simpler while extracting themselves from their 9-5. They save up, go on 3 month sabbaticals from work with their family, and with their frugal ways can live 3 months on less than the average family spends on restaurants, all while marching on towards getting away from their 9-5, and freeing up their time and life. Think 4 Hour Work Week.
5) Sacrifice Now, Live Awesome Later – This would be the Dave Ramsey approach of paying off your debt with gazelle intensity, and then 3-10 years down the road you’re completely debt free including your house. You’ve got your stuff, still have a job, but you’ve got financial security and freedom to do a lot more due to compound interest of savings working for you, instead of debt interest working against you…

Chad said...

Jon - My main source of a security system is my gun collection. I do pay a modest monthly fee that monitors carbon dioxide, fire and break ins (kind of a side thing since we barely ever set the alarm) - but again at $17/month it is super basic.

Thankfully I have experienced both sides of the coin - scrapping by and working 3 jobs to make sure we could eat and now enjoying the fruits of our labor in unique and exciting ways at times. Although we do not 'need' any one or a collection of things to be happy, having the ability to enjoy a few things is a great blessing. I think those who say they can live without certain things, say it because they can't or are not willing to do what it takes to obtain those extra things.

Of course I had a chuckle when you went through the 'I hate the Rich' part of your speech and the 'slave wage' portion, but am too tired and enjoying this scotch and cigar way to much to get my blood pressure up a single point so I bid you a good evening sir.

Examinator said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Examinator said...

Paul, and others
You make my point about life isn't black or white as in mutually exclusive. Life is a series of shades of greys.
I think Buddha's lesson is each to their own but we as a culture should stop looking to externalities to give us happiness(contentment).
e.g. I grew up in PNG, no TV. Not much radio, 8 hrs of power per day. We lived in a regular house with regular food and clothes. Was I unhappy , bored ? Not bloody likely.
I simply enjoyed to the max the things at hand. the jungle was a great big adventure play ground to me. ....swinging on vines....running across gullies on fallen tree bridges, watching nature especially birds. Tracking animals, eating wild grown treats...fishing, swimming building cubby houses in and out of trees. Playing ambush and hunting(?) with the other children (native).

I read books like crazy when it rained I had comics, an erecter set etc.

Was all this some halcyon childhood? Um not really ...Simply put I was habituated to my environment. Leaning self reliance and to be able to live with myself (aka my pleasure came from within) .
Today I have a 700 non fiction/reference type books and 600 novels (mostly SF) most of the latter are on my ebook reader, and computer which I find very convenient/enjoyable for what THEY PROVIDE. I consider worth the effort/money to *sacrifice * (key word/ concept) . I simply don't believe in a free lunch.

Jon “loves” his IPad hmm Way too much information?? kinky? ;)

My wife has a pad and we tested an IPad asking herself was she buying a pad per se or what it provided TO HER? i.e. Challenging for practical (contextual) functionality to objectively justify the differences.

Most people today will buy something on a externally motivated whim (it was a good idea /emotion at the time) not considering any of the above. Probably using them for about a week after which it sits in the cupboard ignored.
NB Jon's criteria may have been different …I'm talking generalities. The basis of marketing.

When we emigrated from the States we did a “want or “need” questioning of our belongings.
The rough criteria was “ had we used it in the last 12 months”.
Wwe had 7 appliances that stirred or mixed. We had 6 electrical appliances for frying or boiling /steaming . A set of good pots would do the same job. 4 sets of crockery, a daily one, a big setting one, and two for special occasions, one UNUSED. had we done a 'need or want' test before buying them & including opportunity cost we would have had enough for a cruise. Charity did well that week.
[[BTW enjoyment is a need, natural, so is humans unique ability the think issues through. Most people don't they let vested interests tell them... advertising etc. ]]
I used to smoked a pipe and 'Cuban' cigars drank, $ 200 a bottle wine but ultimately decided that they weren't worth the sacrifice of something else including potential risk consequences ( prioritising, basis of budgeting)...

[[It's interesting to note how hard nosed execs budgeting can be about others, telling others to tighten their belt, live within their means but... don't demonstrate how to control their “right” to indulgences even using them as justification for pay rises/bonus increases virtually in the same breath.]]
End of part 1

Examinator said...

...So I stopped smoking and now I buy wine on *discernible * taste/pleasure.
I'm prepared to bet that I could produce a blind test of wines and a smoker wouldn't be able to tell which was the *“most” * expensive i.e. the difference between a “good” $25 one and a $200 one. Likewise the difference between a $ 600 surround system and a $1500 one. Most people can't.
A fellow exec publicly ridiculed my choice of MY wine. So I bet him the difference between the the most expensive and the cheapest … donated to migrant relief charity (just to rub it in :) ). the pretentious prick lost!

Just because you can is no sound moral justification that one should, a concept many business types (executives) and corporations, have difficulty with.
I.e. Romney's reluctance to produce his tax returns.... i.e. perhaps exposing his wholesale usage of tax avoidance ( moral tax evasion?) by rich only techniques ( tax havens etc).
What the corporate types don't want to commit to is that if there was a reduced tax for the rich they wouldn't use the above methods to pay NO, nix, nada, bupkiss, zip tax.
e.g. At one stage Australia's richest man paid $3k all up. ( the same as a person on $30k) !
The right love to throw around hyperbole but when push comes to shove...it's always some one else's fault or responsibility.
The flaws in which are bleeding obvious.

Jon said...

Jon - My main source of a security system is my gun collection.

Really? And by "main" do you mean you frequently have to use them? Or at least occasionally?

I think those who say they can live without certain things, say it because they can't or are not willing to do what it takes to obtain those extra things.

Both of those are true for some. For others there's a third option. They have the money and could do it but choose not to. I'm somewhere between unwilling to do what it takes and I could do it but just choose not to.

I'm not a saint, but I think about the point made by Oscar Schindler in the movie. He's got this fancy watch. He could have saved 2 people with it. Was it worth it? There's so much suffering. I feel bad buying a big RV. I'd like it fine, but it doesn't do that much for me. And look at how many people could be helped. Like I said I haven't given all my money away. I'm tainted like everybody else. But spending money on some of these things seems to me like going to a buffet and taking 90% of the food from the table, leaving the remaining 100 people to fight for the small amount left. And I walk off with all the food and can't even consume it all. It just rots. Something wrong here.

Chad said...

I've never had to actually had to unlock the gun case where I live, but will be prepared if it ever happens. We live in a great neighborhood, but I think that maybe my big NRA sign that sits next to the security sign probably helps take our house off any intruders list. With that said since I have my concealed carry permit I have assisted in breaking up a potential robbery (low life was arrested) and there was a group who thought they were going to car jack me until I pointed my Sig at the leader of the mob's face (also arrested and has a nice scar over his left eye).

I have absolutely no reservations buying an RV. Not only do I sell my products into the RV Manufacturing Market, it supports employment for those whom actually work, of course gov't steals more money from me in taxes from the sale, I will need to store the unit (more employment support), will need to use it so I will have to by food, fuel (also taxed heavily) and will need to rent camp site locations which again supports employment (and more taxes). When we go to Michigan football games all the above applies again.

I actually feel opposite of you, I feel honored to help boost this economy in my own small way and to support the working folks in this country while at the same time being able to enjoy this short life a little bit more.

Jon said...

So you've never actually needed a gun in your home or a security system. Do you think you ever will? Sounds like no.

The issue is not just buying the RV. It's also being away from the kids working 70 hours a week, offering virtual tuck ins instead of real ones. Is the price worth it? That's the question. You'll have your RV. But you'll never get that real tuck in back. The kids will be gone before you know it. Will they wonder if the accumulation of possessions was more important to you than spending time with them?

Giving money to the poor also boosts employment, because it allows them to purchase the things they need. In purchasing they spur demand, which stimulates the economy.

Buying an RV actually does less to spur demand. Winnegago has stock holders. They get a large chunk of the money. And since nearly half of all stock is owned by the top 1% you'll be sending them the largest share of the money. But since they are already so rich it won't affect their spending habits. Much of the money you send won't be re-spent at all.

On the other hand if you give that money to someone poor they'll spend all of it, helping them and doing more to spur demand than giving it to a rich person would.

That's why the 50's and 60's is considered the golden age of the US economy. The tax system was somewhat redistributionist. When the poor got money in their hands they spent it, stimulating demand, and generated overall economic growth that is much better than what we have today.

Examinator said...


This haunted me when I had children and was one of the factors that caused me to walk away from living to work rather than working to live.
I made a point of joining Dad and children clubs with ALL MY children. and when I went bush I always did so As a family.
I can honestly say that since I got married 30+ years ago only twice did I go away for a weekend without the family and only one was fun...fishing.
The earlier one was with a gun nut ....he got drunk and fired at every thing from tweety birds to trees why? search me ...he'd been a groomsman at my wedding. We parted company shortly after the camping incident nearly 30years ago...what's more I don't miss him.
PS my adopting dad was ex army (infantry) Master Sargent he drilled me so I could shoot a rifle, Owen and Bren guns('machine guns' semi and auto rifles). I was drilled to where I could the disassemble and re assemble the blind folded by the time I was 6.
In fact it wars our party piece with serving soldiers white officers in the then Colonial PNG army.
He taught me that guns were tools of war and use outside that (against people) showed a failure of imagination, courage and/or intelligence in the operator.
I've seen him face down 100's angry armed rioting Natives, unarmed. Ok he had a seated police dog (boxer)beside him. He was 10 yards in front of the supporting native policemen They armed but at Thrust position with Their rifles and under *strict* orders not to fire until he ordered it.
And this from a relatively uneducated(2 years of High school.) American Southerner Vet of the Infamous Burma Railway (WW2). ("Bridge over the river Kwai"..."King Rat" movies were base on that).
I also saw him unarmed take on a gang of 4 thugs to defend an old 'black man' in Charleston and win.

Jon said...

Ex, you have had some kind of life. Crazy. Mine is astonishingly boring in comparison. Probably most are though, so that's nothing to be ashamed of. Living all over the world, now in Australia, which does sound awesome from you description in the earlier post.

Your politics suck a bit though, eh? I saw a fun video of Julian Assange confronting your PM and how she had screwed him over in some way.

Chad said...

Absolutely 100% worth it for sure no question. Not only am I fulfilling my personal dreams, I am teaching my children what is important and why. Last week my son - who turned 6 yesterday - stood in front of his class and told his classmates/teachers that his 'Great American' is his daddy because he works harder than all the other daddy's and makes sure he is always happy.

You see, I would place a bet that I spend more time with my kids than you do. Yes, I travel about 8 days per month, but on the other 22/23 days they are barely out of my sight.

Handing my earnings to someone because they are alive is rubbish for me, even when we do community service it is hardly ever just money. Money gets wasted, go down to the inner city - give $100 to every "poor" family on the block and 95% of that money would be wasted on drugs, alcohol or non essentials. If giving money to the poor went to positive things, there would be more charity. Reality is that it actually hurts them because the hand they put out only becomes bigger and more needed and nothing is solved.

When buying my Forrest River Class A or C (ford of course) - I am very happy that a portion of the money goes to the stock holders. They were there when the market crashed in 2008/2009 and lost all their investment. They helped keep what was left of Elkhart up and running when times were tough.

Even of only 20% of the money makes it down the ladder, I would do that every time over handing 100% to the 'poor' directly.

Examinator said...

My politics suck?!
What politics? what do you mean ?
I'll bite.
I've only told you the good stuff.
e.g My dad was a raging great racist, belligerent and a sometimes violent Alcoholic. Who died at 42 when I was 16.
So how come he jumped in to defend a black man?
simple it was vet day and the black man ..." might be a N but he's an army N ... and no rich White trash bunch of Brats is gonna bash an *ARMY* N on my watch" (his words).
When I asked him why he didn't chase them away with his rifle on the back seat he said.
'Boy has your brain gone off to skinny dip in the Gatter swamp agin? I told you don't point a weapon unless you mean to die for the cause. Ifn I had got the weapon out one of those fool children might have attacked me and I would have killed him.... They may be Dumb as dawg shit but they stupid... They would have taken my Numberplate and then their daddy would have charged this powerless white trash with murder....the death penalty.
Now by beating all 4 they're too proud to go home and tell daddy that one white trash sole beat them up."
Like when I faced down them Kanakas(sic)( kanakas come from French Polynesia... a different race) I knew that ifn I'd used a weapon it would have been the weapon that won authority not me and either they or their "one talks" (kin) would do payback may be killing you or your mama. This way I respected them and they respected me. See boy ifn you use a weapon you are trusting that they won't come back when you or your kin don't have a weapon or enough weapons and you and others may die."
If he had survived I'm fairly sure he would label the current Republicans as White trash with brains skinny dipping in the gator swamp."
PS he considered the dems as weak trash.

BTW I'm not dead yet, my life isn't over... mind you there are a few right winger who are willing to shorten it .
Liken Ah always say ...context is king.

Jon said...

Absolutely 100% worth it for sure no question.

I once read that the more certainty a person expresses in his opinion the less he actually has deep down. So like if I said "Guess what? I just saw Bill Murray on my way to work this morning." you'd probably believe me. But if I said "I am SURE I saw Bill Murray" you might kind of doubt me.

Not only am I fulfilling my personal dreams, I am teaching my children what is important and why. Last week my son - who turned 6 yesterday - stood in front of his class and told his classmates/teachers that his 'Great American' is his daddy because he works harder than all the other daddy's and makes sure he is always happy.

You think the fact that your 6 year old son thinks your doing great is proof that you can be sure with 100% confidence that you're doing the right thing? When I was 6 I thought my Dad was God. Not just until I was 6. In freshman high school we had to do a speech on who the most important/influential person in our life was. For me it was my Dad. That continued through college and beyond until I entered adulthood, at which point I was more capable of making independent judgments. You know what I realized? Though I love my Dad he's really quite wrong in many of his judgments. This has led him to raise us in a manner that I think was often wrong.

He got the main thing right, which is that he loved us all and did his best to give us what he thought we needed. I have tremendous respect for him. But he was way off base, and continues to be way off base in my judgment, on many serious issues. And not just at the age of 6 but by the age of 20 I was not capable of recognizing that.

What I see in you is what Ex points out a lot. This total black and white attitude. You're totally right on everything without doubt. And look at the basis of this confidence. Your kid thinks you are awesome.

You and I have very different parenting methods. My wife has 2 bachelor's degrees and yet instead of utilizing them, having her pull money in, we decided that she would stay home and home school the kids. That means no RV, not a lot of trips to Europe, kind of old beater cars. Paying for college, if they go, isn't going to be easy. This is a setback for us and for our kids, but we've judged that the trade off is worth it.

The fact that my 12 year old boy is very grateful that he gets to do school in this way PROVES NOTHING. He's a flipping 12 year old kid. How the heck would he know? I don't even know. My 9 year old girl is not at the level of her peers for reading and math. We know that. But instead of cracking the whip to ensure that she keeps pace we have decided that it's OK if she's a bit behind. We will encourage her but accept that she is behind and wait for her to do it on her own time. Let her find that internal motivation to do what she wants. Am I 100% confident that this is best for them? No. I don't know. I tell them that. I tell them that I'm not sure that the decisions we make will put them in the best position, but I tell them that wherever we end up we will do what it takes to help them meet their goals.

I read a great quote recently. It went something like this. The problem with people isn't what they don't know. It's what they do know that isn't true. You render confident judgments on things you cannot know. You cannot know that your choices you make are in the best interest of your kids. And neither does your 6 year old. They might be. But have a little humility and recognize that you are not infallible. You may be making a mistake.

Jon said...

Ex, not YOUR politics, but what your politicians in Australia do and have been doing. I think they lick the boots of the US a bit too much. Australia is one of the very few nations that sometimes joins the US and Israel opposing a peaceful settlement in Palestine. I think you sent troops for Operation "Iraqi Freedom." Pretty sad. I can understand Americans. We're subject to an astonishing amount of propaganda. Australians? You can do better than that. Of course we can over here as well. All of our politics suck.

Chad said...

Ok, sorry - I am 99.9% sure that our chosen path is the right path.

Wow - you too have a huge burden to bare for sure. You have decided that one of you will not work to benefit/fit your personal beliefs and now that your daughter is falling behind it is simply okay. Not that your going to hire a tutor to give her a chance to catch up - it is just okay.

We've established that we have different parenting skills and different paths, but it would take physical injury or death to not give my kids every tool possible. If they screw it up that's on them, but I can say they had every tool possible.

Here is the question, would you sacrifice 20 hours a week with your daughter if that separation time resulted in her reaching her dreams? What if that required your wife to start working due to costs to get her a tutor, but the results was allowing her to reach her dreams?

If my biggest downfall as a father is that I missed a couple Little League games and missed 8 physical bed time checks a month while giving them every chance to succeed in this world - man I win. My heart would break in two if my wife and I decided that one of us would stop working - voluntarily - and my kids ended up not reaching their dreams because of it.

Examinator said...

Ah now I understand..Now I follow.
You are absolutely correct...big Time.
Two small point they are Australian politics not necessary mine.I despise politics that discriminates encourages prejudice(period).
Chad FYI that disqualifies me from being a socialist.

As I've said before I carry passports that declare nationalism out of compliance and convenience NOT CONVICTION.

I'm well well know on several site here as being opposed to war and I comment on a 'Jewish' oriented pro peace and justice for the Palestinians. Afghanis site.

You are correct Jon, I adored my dad at six but by 12 I feared him Hated him Now I understand him (in context) but still don't like what much of what he did or stood for.

Chad,I'd be concerned if your children at that age didn't admire you.

I remember seeing a video of southern US kindergarten aged (3-4 years old)children declaring that they HATED Niggers.... My children learned obscenities from children who idealised their Daddies was that proof That daddies view were correct? Not by my reasoning
you are talking about environmental CONDITIONING/ habituation.

One uniquely US practice I ignored because it struck me as ill considered was Summer camp.
I took my children as a family camping.

Rich Brits are big believers in boarding schools.

Given My parent were in PNG I spent 2 year in Boarding school....arguably the worst years of my childhood. Perhaps that why our children were raised close. As indicated earlier we joined clubs as a family or as Father and child.
My wife was keen to ensure that bond. As the primary care giver she felt that her bond was sufficient.
We joined 'Field Naturalists' Wild life animal/ plant topics.
'Friends of the zoo' Behind the scenes access and(supervised) hands on of all manner of exotic beasties,
'Friends of the Museum' again behind the scenes access and private lectures etc. In any Museum 98% of their items aren't on public exhibition. All these as a family .
Double helix (a hands on science cub that did visits to interesting science and manufacturing sites etc. i.e. They saw how Grass eyes were made;d part of the rooky Fire brigade training; Behind the scenes at a real CSI lab; inside Electricity generators on down time... even got hands on time in a industrial robotics lab, hands on with an electron microscope; hands on scientific field research and an archaeological dig.
Explorers were pre-teen Boys and dads. Adventurers, daughters and dads.
Every week we had at least 1-2 events to attend.

Now in context...this was in a 6 year period while we were posted in Adelaide Aust.

The average Aussie family belongs to 3 clubs (usually sporting) Adelaide the average is 5 we went crazy and belonged to 10.

THIS type of club culture simply doesn't exist in US major Cities, if it does it usually involves the same people. Not so in Adelaide.

Now in their late 20's to early 30's... They freely acknowledge the advantages/desirability of their diverse experiences/ exposure encouragement to explore and think for them selves.
They all come home to me if they need solutions or discuss non personal/ emotional issues or problems with me but the emotional stuff is Mom's. The say that as teenagers I was too goal oriented and drove them too hard. :(
They say I was stricter than other dad's but they see that as a plus in that they were never in serious trouble, and have a good understanding of their community responsibility ( other peoples property).
Their mom says I was the motivator to their all having degrees etc their environmental awareness, their scientific, logical problem solving inclination. Then she states a long list of my emotional failings as a parent.

Conclusion : Good father bad father? (Nebulous) questions. Was it proof of being correct ? With out context ..proof silly question.

Examinator said...

Being a good American or Aussie to me is a bit like being popular....some politicians, pop stars, sports persons and media 'personalities' are popular but competent or good human beings ? meh!
Che Guvara was a 'good' even popular Revolutionary but competent part of government? No. a good human being? again meh....
Absolute good or bad are delusionary (non existent word but it's accurate in that it causes delusions). Such over simplification give prejudice fertile ground. I would argue with out this type of extreme mutual exclusivity/ exclusion in thinking prejudice would be impossible .... And I'm all for that. Terms like rich or poor as prejosative terms couldn't exist. Again I'm all for that.

Chad said...

Of course my son think I walk on water, but at 6 he understands work is a skill and is a trait that is positive. I was a bit short sighted and opened myself up to critisism on my first post. What made me proud is my son actually said 'hard worker' when speaking to his class.

My son earns money by getting great grades, cleaning his room, induing his mom and pops and when he hits doubles and triples on the baseball field. He hands back money for bad grades, red cards or mis behavior and at 6 he is getting it. Before the - o my he is a kid thing starts - the chores/work is very modest, but it is laying the ground work to success. Today was a proud moment for me. After he cleaned his room and put more money "in the bank" he asked if he could take the trash out to earn another $1. Of course I paid him $2 for the act, but he is starting to get it.

Another proud moment today happened while we were at the RV place. We found a unit that everyone liked, but it was slightly above what we wanted to pay. My son, bless his heart, said he would give back his allowance/earning money for the next 30 days if it would help.

He just might be the next Tom Brady, Alan West, Sarah Palin (male version), but Imthink he is going to be e next and only Caden Cilley.

Proud daddy.

Chad said...

Again short sighted - just talking only about my son. My daughter who is 3 - she is going to be a smart one. She is also learning fast and it makes me proud.

Jon said...

We may do some tutoring with her, but on the other hand we think there's no reason to be too concerned. Recall this post of mine and also this one. I don't share Republican assumptions about how cracking the whip and monetary rewards for grades. I want my kids to internalize the idea that learning is it's own reward.

Let me ask you this question. What if your son decided he liked the Amish world. Make some furniture. Work a few hours a day on the garden and with the animals and otherwise enjoy the sunsets, admire the stars. Is he successful in your eyes if he's happy doing that?

Or does he need to be a "hard worker" going 70 hours a week, traveling. Do you find time to read books with your schedule? I love reading books. But it doesn't pay much. Does that make it less valuable? What if your boy lived life like the guy in that Ted talk. About 2 hours of work per day and the rest was free time. Is that failure for you? Or does he need to run around at 100 miles an hour so he can buy an RV?

Chad said...

Once he turns 18 - his decisions will be his. If he turned to be Amish, I would gauge that ultimately as a failure on his part absolutely, but will love him none the less. At the same time my wife and I will be able to hold our heads high since we will have done all we could to give him the best opportunity to succeed.

I suspect, however, that he is going to be a very successful member of society - my daughter too.

You did the standard Liberal re-direct by asking me a specific question while avoiding the difficult question laid at your feet.

If we could see in the future, would you become less selfish and ask your wife to work to earn more money to pay for a tutor in order for her to reach her dreams even if against your beliefs?

I'm going to give my kids all the tools possible, it seems to me that your going to choose what tools that your kids will get to use.

Jon said...

Liberal re-direct? I answered your question with my first 5 words.

Actually I said she "may" get some tutoring, but apparently (my wife just informed me) that we do have a tutor lined up. Which is fine. I'm not opposed to it. It's not something I view with a sense of urgency. She doesn't have to be right at the level of everyone else. That's a feature of US style education that I think contributes to our not so great performance. We want to customize it based on the pace we think works best, not say she must be precisely where a 9 year old should be, as if every 9 year old needs to be at the same place. We just don't believe that and we think forcing everyone into that grid is actually counter productive.

I do respect that you work hard to give them everything they need. Of course it's tough to have less time with them. That's depriving them of the tools they need as well, right? Kids need their parents time. So you kind of have to decide which tools you are going to deprive them of.

If I made very little money then we'd set our priorities differently. We would sacrifice the mom at home time in order to get food on the table. A lot of people would like to homeschool but can't because the 1 income earner isn't enough. So we feel fortunate.

I gotta tell you though that when you say you'd consider him as having failed if he wanted to be Amish it sounds to me like you're saying that what's important is not his happiness but that he conforms to some idea of what you think success is. Is that correct?

Examinator said...

I don't want to spoil your bubble BUT reality will get in the way.By that Genetics, their school and experiences in the world will determine how they turn out.
The best a parent can do is Provide the widest range of tool for THEM to make THEIR choices. And guess what? you may not like them?
What you seem to be doing is 'conditioning/indoctrinating' creating someone in your image.
BTW the work for reward may or may not stick.. You may be horrified..
Ask your self what are you going to do if one or both decide to go greenie, Democrat, maybe Gay and want a same sex marriage, get pregnant or get someone pregnant?
My wife & her sisters were raised to be a good conservative Catholics. Guess what? one married a unionised Calathumpian, one married me and the third became a very unhappy nun who left the order at 38 after nearly 20 years and came home, disillusioned with no skills but those of a lacky in a geriatric home.
It seems to me by YOUR Views their parents failed miserably.

We didn't steer Our children merely gave them the tools to decide from the options available... to be their own people. None are clonelets of us.
I put it to them to-day ( belated Brunch birthday party) "what did they see as the most important features to them of their raising?" Guess what they were? Hint.. I think you'll be surprised.

Examinator said...

Chad, Just read your latest, The problem is that they'll choose well before 18 and there's precious little you can do about that .... even the Spartans BC knew that.
The point I'm making is that YOUR INPUT is lot less directly important than you think at best it will underscore (add shade) to their character... that can be good or bad. You conservatism may come back to bite you and them if for example if they veer from your planned version. History should prove that but it is confirmed by Neuro and behavioural psychology research. Sadly old bean it's way more complex with variables you haven't even thought of yet.
My point to you is to ask yourself honestly are you raising the children for their good confirmation of your ideology?
You are letting your children become their own people and you may end up with an Alex Keeton his genesis in the 80's show 'Family'.... a born Republican in a Democratic complete with tie and brief case in grade school family. I think you may be able to cope with what comes better. However it is proven from research that statistically children cope better with clear boundaries, encouragement (not drive/pressure or rigid directions) and love... Consider the the chance of a gay child will you be able to love them and accept their orientation (genetic). Keep in mind 1 in 5 people have suffered major depression, 1 in 20 suffers from major mental illness. 1 in 40 has gay tendencies or is gay. As a crisis intervention councillor I can tell you that these don't respect wealth or status. Not surprisingly those from rigid or oppressive backgrounds tend to suffer the most and are the most intractable sufferers.
The key to their survival has been shown as Acceptance....
You may note that many poor gangsters started as vulnerable children looking for acceptance for who *they see * they are.That may not be who they were raised to be.

Examinator said...

Jon, I would agree with you wife monitor it a bit more before going for tutoring etc.
We had a middle son at 5 YO had speech dificulies. We thought it may be his older brother who always answered for him. Anyway he eventually went to a speech therapist and he got worse.
He tended to be a self sufficient child more inclined to his own company than children out side the family. he had Keen eyesight, good hearing and an upper Quadrant IQ..for his age in grade school he was every girl's favourite...if a stickler for the rules. However his marks and his attitude started to slip in high school and actually started talking suicide displaying all the signs.
After a long session of Drs etc a child psychologist had him tested for
CAPD (WTF??!) i.e. Central Auditory Processing Disorder.... Um yes I'll have a dozen lightly fried?!
In essence it is a physical disorder that means that while his hearing is brilliant his brain doesn't process all that he's told...(about 80%) his brain effectively filled in the last 20% hence his lower grades, developing prickliness, isolation not understanding complex instructions.
In our defence the disorder has only 10-12 years been a Testable/ PROVABLE DISORDER. it wasn't when he was 5-6 if it had we would have saved him and us a lot of worry and grief.
Now we (he included) know what is needed he is now at 27 at University and in his second year in Engineering .. his latest grades were 2 credits and 2 A's.
Complexity ideally is written down. There is nothing sub with his smarts.
Yes he's still prickly at times and impatient but he has a girlfriend who seems to be able to handle him...
We're happy because He's happy.
Well, like Buddha says we didn't have any FIXED EXPECTATIONS to be disappointed with and were able to adjust comparatively easily.
PS as it turned out there was a girl in the grade below him ...a friend of my daughter.. in chatting we told her parents of his problems and the diagnosis.. they tested the girl and she had CAPD only worse... her dad had real difficulties with it thinking she is some how retarded. She's not! She is now a petty officer in the Navy. Her relationship with dad is still strained.

Chad said...

"That's a feature of US style education that I think contributes to our not so great performance."

Agreed. That's why we hired a tutor to give my son and eventually my daughter the opportunity to learn at his pace and outside the standard courses, not at the pace of the other 15 kids. It also gives my wife and I an opportunity to direct the curriculum to combat the Progressive movement that has taken hold in the schools.

"I gotta tell you though that when you say you'd consider him as having failed if he wanted to be Amish it sounds to me like you're saying that what's important is not his happiness but that he conforms to some idea of what you think success is. Is that correct?"

For me the answer is Yes. In my opinion, if his or her decision is to become Amish when not raised Amish or to choose any alternate lifestyle would be extremely disappointing. It would not alter my love for my children, but it would be severely disappointing for sure and it many ways would put a strain on our relationship. When I say lifestyle, I am speaking about the big things - Amish, Gay, Parasite, Drug Abuser, Alcoholic, Criminal or a drop out street hood. If - through his path in life they choose to be a Democrat, choose to be a mechanic instead of a businessman or chooses the military - none of those things would disappoint me.

Obviously there are almost an infinite levels of disappointment and levels of joy that a proud or disappointed father/mother might feel once our kids grow up and I am certain to hit all those. Even in good things there are disappointments.

Chad said...

"My point to you is to ask yourself honestly are you raising the children for their good confirmation of your ideology?"


Yes, yes and yes. Will they be chained, shackled and forced to adopt every single idea or thought that their mother and father have - absolutely not, but there will be a few topics not open for discussion. My wife and I are not clones - we disagree and have different opinions across a spectrum of topics, but children do need to be directed.

In my opinion Ex, your posts have done a great job outlining exactly what the Progressive movement has done to parenting and to the world in general. I am not saying you said anything wrong mind you, you've encompassed all my parenting concerns in a couple paragraphs.

You asked me if I can accept my son being gay for instance. Well I don't know to be honest, but I will tell you that I will do everything in my power to not let that happen and it is NOT an acceptable or accepted thing in this house. He's only 6 and a lot of things can change, but we have a good idea that will not be an issue for us.

Ex - I actually think that things are starting to change a little bit. How many more subjects are left to be desensitized? What is really left out there that is exciting for kids? I think that it has actually become fashionable to be Conservative for kids now. Tim Tebow is a good example and kids are responding to that. I think Individual Responsibility is coming back in style now and a lot of the reason for that, in my opinion, is the 24 hr news cycle, Facebook, Blogs, Twitter and other types of social media/technology. Teachers, Colleges and potential Employers are out there looking at the type of person that these kids are and the Internet can/will find dirt on just about anybody right now if you have some dirt.

When my son gets a red card at school, I can log onto the schools website, call up the video to the exact moment that he got on trouble and review what happened myself. What is so cool about that is that we get to see the whole picture and not just go by the teacher saw at that moment. The teachable moment was minutes before the actually act and the evidence is indisputable.

I really think that personal responsibility is coming back in style almost by force.

We got my son a cell phone that attaches to his belt/side recently that serves only 3 purposes. It can dial 911, it can dial mom/dad and last it is a tracker. We can hit a button and immediately see where that phone and he is. Same with cars they have trackers for those as well - I mean man our kids whole life will be basically digital tracked and recorded. If they lie, we will know before they get home.

There is a business to be born right there, parent privacy devices for the kids. Software/hardware that will show them in one place while they can be in another place. Mmmm.

Examinator said...

Re being gay,
this is the problem I have with your views..
How they behave maybe is by that I mean do they go radical, promiscuous or a million other HUMAN variations.
BTW. CAPD Is also a Genetic thing...NOT necessarily PASSED ON BY Mom and Dad.
What seems to be coming out in your posts is a fairly large portion of basic lack of comprehension as to the way actually genetics work. Specifically the the level of serendipity / or oops (seemingly random factors involved).
What you don't seem to understand is that there isn't one gene per feature in the child rather its the combination of which there are many and there are many combinations that can give a singular feature and that the coping process isn't precise.
I am a perfect example of what I mean I am genetically from real rural dumb peasant stock...raised by a rabid, an alcoholic, Republican with many of the prejudices you exude. An adopted mom wasn't quite as virulent but but but she drank with both hands and swore regularly, a product of her environment ...although she read.. My grade ejumacation was public schools save for 3 years a country school. 3 years in a Strict religious boarding school (worst years of my childhood). I left school at 16 ..future learning was at night school and at University. I was born or so it seems, with an IQ that put me into the Mensa (look it up) crowd. By your reasoning I shouldn't have been what I was/am? Please explain to me in your reasoning how I could this be?
Yet again you have lumped me in as a 'Liberal' please stop that! I'm not ! I don't subscribe to any Philosophic dogma...or predetermined thinking. It has been said many times I don't fit most “social norms”
As for your “desensitised” bit …. one could clearly show from your comments that it is you who is desensitised to the hard reality.
I put it to you that it is you who has hard prejudiced ideas AGAINST PEOPLE who don't conform to your predetermined ( ideological Dogma). Unlike ****SOME**** Liberals who simply replace one set of prejudices for another( aka Venting) I actually accept people for who they are ….I've told you before that our positions in man made hierarchies (capitalist or other ) are superficial and therefore irrelevant. A bit like which team you support in your chosen sport... doesn't determine your rights as a human.
FYI I would treat the US prez as I would one of your 'lowly' workers. All staff who worked for the companies in which I am/was a director knew me by my First name and were encouraged to come and talk to me personally on issues that bothered them personally. At some times it made for some very incendiary “discussions”. As indicated before I rejected the elitist accoutrements like flash vehicles and huge office etc.

Examinator said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Examinator said...

I strive to be inclusive of everyone and all the variations there of. THAT MEANS I ACCEPT NO TWO SITUATIONS OR PEOPLE ARE THE SAME AND THEREFORE stereotypic or formulaic thinking is based on false logic be it "Liberal" (sic) or "Conservative" (sic) thinking et al.
Lumping me in with those is akin to calling me a Nazi or a fool. I'm demonstrably neither.
Your version of Conservative thinking tend to base on a selective self interest and justification ( primal animalistic (Malthusian) urges) exclusionary principals.
i.e. If you don't fit my predetermined stereotype you are to be vilified or ignored. Therefore excluded/prejudiced against therefore having lessor lessor rights.

In your flawed logic you will undoubtedly come to the false conclusion that I am condemning you and your principals....... Wrong I'm merely pointing out the indisputable facts (as we know them)and flaws in your selective reasoning .. What you chose to do with the facts is YOUR responsibility... The only sad thing about that is that you will never take responsibility for anything you do beyond the immediate.
I would be interested to read your children's views in say 10-12 years. It is know fact that knowledge a lessens the grip of dogma and rigid views. That why it is always the most rigid in society ( the power holders) want to control education and and opinion.
As Socrates said ' the more I know the more I realize (how much) I don't know” and in that context any Predetermined philosophy is flawed and inadequate. Power fears independent thoughts because it is those thoughts that threaten the dominance of power ...again history teaches.

To me being a liberal or a conservative (aka Democrat or republican ) The apposite analogy is like “changing the colour of deck chairs on the Titanic”. is simply changing the prejudices to exclude the other.
Perhaps you should look at the money influence in politics the partisanship in US politics during 1896 … elections. Note elevated capital V labor wars of the early 1900
The USA just hasn't learned from history ….1929 is still coming.

Jon said...

Ex, like Chad I don't know for certain how I would react, but I'm confident I would be accepting. Should be easy for me since I have no moral objection to homosexuality. It's maybe not something I'd feel totally at ease around immediately just because I have little experience with it, but I expect I'd adjust.

You never know what the future may bring when it comes to children, as you know having a son with CAPD. I think you're right that acceptance is the most important thing.

Chad, I think you're right that there are things that our children may become that would lead us to be disappointed and there's nothing wrong with that attitude. Just as long as you are accepting of them should they go down a path you don't prefer.

There's a good movie I'd recommend to you called "Into the Wild." It's a true story about a kid that came from wealth, got like a law degree, but then just walked away from the corporate fast track consumptive lifestyle and became kind of a survivalist. I enjoyed it. It may annoy you I suppose since it portrays the anti-consumptive lifestyle in a positive light, but it's a true story so you may at least enjoy the different perspective. Personally I like movies that challenge my own conceptions.

I get the feeling from you that you derive your own sense of self worth from your posessions and wealth. Is that a fair characterization? Many people do not share that notion of success, including me. Many thoughtful people including many wealthy people. George Carlin said "Trying to be happy by accumulating possessions is like trying to satisfy hunger by taping sandwiches all over your body." Be prepared for the fact that your children won't share your idea of what success is. That won't be too much of a problem as long as you are accepting of them and let them know you love and respect them even if they aren't wealthy.

Paul said...

Ex -

Re being gay,
this is the problem I have with your views..

It may be a fact that homosexuality is a "GENETIC HAPPENSTANCE" but I find this type of response lacking actually.

A gay person ought to have the right to live their life as a gay person whether it is by choice or due to genetic causes (or a combination of thereof). A gay person also ought to have the same rights as a straight person - full stop.

Also w/ regards to -
How they behave maybe is by that I mean do they go radical, promiscuous or a million other HUMAN variations.

I am not sure I understand what you are saying here but it sounds like the implication is that promiscuity is inherently immoral? If this is not what you are implying ignore the rest of this comment -

There is also nothing inherently wrong with promiscuity. A man or a woman can have as many sexual partners as they wish - so long as they they are doing it responsibly (and honestly).

Examinator said...

I was referring to to the way they the gay child feels about themselves in context of the family.
The more rigid/ignorant the family belief structure (the less acceptance)the more extremely self destructive the child with problems becomes.
I'd like $ for every troubled child I've crisis counselled whose base problem is the family's non acceptance or resistance to the child's "problem" (sic, gay being one.

I sat one night and watched a 17 yo go from being a bright and intelligent child to what she is today a virtual vegetable, all because her family refused to accept that she was gay and wanted her to go through various 'aversion therapies(sic)' to cure her (sic)! This collapse all happened in a the 40 minutes while we waited for the ambulance and the time she made ER ...it was new Years eve and the traffic was horrendous.
20 years later I still have vivid memories of her descent. It was as a result of a suicide over dose attempt she used LSD ... her first foray into drugs.
PS Dad, the patriarch and said "well better she's dead than being gay and embarrassing the family".
The other 2 children promptly left home never to return and mom died 3 years later from alcohol poisoning. Dad is still a Prominent business man.. working on his 3rd wife...24 years his junior...

FYI this event while extreme is by no means unique and there are squillions of cases where the descent is much slower and isn't noticed. Too much pressure to be top, to perform/excel, to conform to some stereo type.
Many parents live their lives through their children to the ultimate detriment of the children...
I think that Chad would be stunned at the type of children that crash (i.e. they are FAR, far from only comming from democrat or bad families.
Oddly enough a preponderance of the counsellors Including me had well less than optimum childhoods and many of them from Chad's demographic.

Examinator said...

In for a penny in for a buck.
I might also war story a bit more and really freak Chad out.
Some years before I shared a house with a gay person ... he had his lovers Um I had mine (women)... often older and better educated than me.
At one point I was at his coffee shop 'review theatre' and a cat fight started between some 'starring tranies' and I was press ganged into directing their next production. Being straight I had no interest in any of the performers so bias was eliminated.
Well it was an eye opener and an interesting experience.
As it happened I had just met my wife and our first date had been to the museum .....The second date was to the coffee shop theatre.
Being a good catholic girl she had never been that close (knowingly) to a trany.
She nearly fainted as we walked in when a 6'4" 15 stone woman(?),"Susan", complete with wig and sparkley evening gown came over and kissed me on the cheek as a welcome...(her day job was a long shoreman).
I introduce my wife and some friends of the time. Susan bent over gave my then girlfriend a peck on the cheek and told her to look after me or else she'd have to deal with her. Then winked.
Well my girlfriends eyes were the Size of dinner plates... undoubtedly wondering what she'd got her self tangled up with. When the wall split in two revealing the theatre stage well.
Being in the audience I got the usual good natured stick from the performers...."revenge for being a tyrant director"
My wife handled it fine and 3 months later we were married..
Gees one get's 15-25 years for murder I'm over 30 year vet of marriage war....:P ...;)
BTW we don't currently have any gay friends (that we know of) and who cares?

Chad said...

I think your a bit out of your depth Ex. My wife and I are friends with 3 that are gay, one who is a tranny and another who chooses to cross dress and plays both sides. I rather enjoy their company when we hang out they are interesting people. Your story not only does not freak me out, it is a bit weak compared to some experiences that I have witnessed.

What your mis understanding is that I am simply offering you my honest opinion - an opinion that belongs only to me and will not be forced on you or Jon, my friends or family for that matter. I will tell you exactly what I tell my friends, as long as your lifestyle is not forced on me, as long as money is not taken from me to support your lifestyle and as long as they do not attempt to train/influence my children by telling them to embrace the lifestyle they have chosen we are all good.

They absolutely respect what I have told them and accept those guidelines, when they come by the house and are around my kids there is no guy on guy or girl on girl kissing or fooling about out of respect for my house rules. When we go to their house for a party we know that kids are not allowed and that things will get interesting.

In my house and for my children, gay is not normal - gay is not openly accepted until further notice. If my son (by some genetic mutation or by choice) announces he likes boys then we will tackle that bridge when we come to it. At the end of the day however, I would be crushed and acceptance would be extremely difficult.

I also like the color Blue, not red. I like Ford and will never will own a Chevy and I don't eat fish.

Chad said...

Jon - isn't that an older movie? I am 99% sure that I have seen that movie before and it dawns on me that I liked it, but it has been a while.

"I get the feeling from you that you derive your own sense of self worth from your posessions and wealth. Is that a fair characterization?"

Yes and no. I am not sure what your definition of wealth is so it is difficult to answer exactly. My sense of self worth comes from the ability to provide the essentials and a little beyond to my family. To do that it does require a certain level of wealth, but to die with the most tools and toys does not interest me that much.

At the same time, if we take care of the kids education, their health and our bills then can enjoy life in certain ways because of 'wealth' through earnings that would be a nice bonus.

Examinator said...

Not out of my depth merely extrapolating from YOUR WORDS
I have to agree with what you say by and large. even now I have a long standing house rule that insists that like Charlie Rich's song 'behind closed doors' please if you want to get amorous. I reason that it's ONLY THE BUSINESS OF THE TWO INVOLVED. I don't think that sex is a spectator sport and never have. (see I'm conservative ;-) )
AS I understand it cross dressing 'seahorse club' is different than Homosexual. Cross dressing etc may be by choice one should never assume the two are interchangeable. They maybe but it isn't guaranteed. e.g. 'Susan' aka Chas was a good father of 4.(by choice)
Where as Dianne/Lloyd my flat mate was a genetically a female in a male body i.e.XX chromosone with a penis. He was stunning as a girl.... his dad didn't want to know him/her.(not by choice) likewise her partner male, Jeff.
Later L/D had the gender re assignment operation. eek!
Let's be clear It would be a difficult situation to readily accept for either side. However, we made it clear to our children that we were as stated only interested in ensuring we gave them the tools to survive and the wisdom to choose for them selves...regardless of our own personal prejudices and or demons.
Of course it involved rules and boundaries. As it turned out all of them are proud that we set rules that kept them out of trouble and taught them to know the difference.
Perhaps it might be prudent to moderate your absolutist rhetoric. As that WILL effect the children particularly when it comes to a drama. Bullying readily comes to mind as does sex and booze/ drug experimentation.
We deliberately set my wife as the escape valve for the children. Something she is/was better suited. I was/am the family problem fixer.
Mum,was the broken heart clinician and I was the ultimate solution for unfair treatment at school etc.
Stereotyping? perhaps but We think it was more like best usage of abilities. Especially given my un-pigeon-holeable, problem solving nature.

Examinator said...

"You have learned well grasshopper" he he yuk yuk . ;-)
You make my point exactly and more succinctly.
We tried assiduously not to have expectations of our children to avoid pressure or passing on our prejudices or burdening them unduly with pressure.
Apparently I wasn't so successful on the latter.
My cautionary tales of not to be like Dad and the drama's a late education created were too heavy handed.
Unlike Chad's words I'm NEVER 99% sure of anything much less something that defies definitive proof, like child raising. I'm old enough to remember DR Spock (not star trek) and now the evidence of the damage his views/techniques have caused... however, Like the title of this topic CONTEXT is everything.

Examinator said...

PS without it nothing makes sense

Chad said...

"Perhaps it might be prudent to moderate your absolutist rhetoric."

That will be a negative sir. The 'moderate' thinkers of this world have helped produce a lost and frankly useless generation in my opinion sir.

I am very comfortable with my position, but thank you for your advise - we will just have to see what happens when we get to the finish line.

Examinator said...

It seems to me that you have misunderstood my suggestion not advice (wrong word in the context look up the meanings).
NB I didn't say become a moderate aka Liberal (your meaning...perish that thought). Moderating one's rhetoric DOES NOT mean you are any less a committed what ever you are.
It simply means being less belligerent/confrontatious and probably better understood. Keep in mind I can't see you all I've got is your words and as such they tend to paint the wrong picture.
Arguably the best warrior ever General Sun Tsu (taught in every military academy world wide) says in his ' the Art of War' A good warrior only fights when there is no other choice..... Why provoke an argument when there is no need.
Do you tell an annoying customer he's an ass hole even if you think he is. what would it gain? a lost account!
One doesn't go into a hunt with trumpets blazing either.
I doubt that Jon or I think that you are anything other than what you proclaim...(your not a closet Democrat) are you ?
Nor would either of us entertain the idea that we're going to change that.

Neither should it mean that we are going to disagree on every thing I've indicated a few things I agree with and one While I agree I am also aware that it's based on false logic/ prejudice? which I'm working on.
In the final analysis what you think isn't going to dramatically affect me
but you are able to modify some of my views. Does that make me or you weaker or stronger...hardly. As I've said before Truth and/or wisdom has many parents prejudice but one ..one's self.
Like I also said if one filters everything through ones prejudices one will learn nothing new. Me I won't stop learning until I'm dead...

Examinator said...

Next Subject I'd be interested to hear your takes on the revelations of the bank...their words ' focusing on legality instead of best practice hence libor and money laundering see the Guardian and the Washington Times