06 October 2009

"Kitchen Table Learnin' "

I think I've figured it out, at least a big chunk of it.
It's not just me that's noticed. It's not just me that's concerned.
And it's not just ethics, although indirectly I suppose your ethics have an effect on your total behavior. There is something different about most kids today and I've been trying to figure out what it is. I've come up with an answer, not necessarily the only one, but it's gotta be a factor...
Their "Kitchen table learnin' " was MUCH different from mine.

My Dad was one of seven kids in his family. Four boys and three girls, the boys ALL served in the military. Dad's older brother was on the West Virginia in Pearl Harbor on 7 Dec 41 as she sank there. My Dad was assigned to an ARMY infantry division in the Pacific theater, and the Purple Heart over his left breast pocket earned him an early return from overseas in 1945. His two younger brothers served honorably after the war ended. Two of Dad's sisters married men who served during WWII...
One of them was injured when his glider crashed during the Normandy invasion. A big man, he lost nearly half his weight while he spent the rest of the war in a German P.O.W. camp.
Extraordinary, selfless men (and women)...
These heroes were the "normal" folks I grew up with. They taught the living history lessons I learned around the kitchen table at family gatherings. They taught me there are barbaric, evil people in the world.

So when my draft notice came in 1966 there was no question about what I would do.
No, I wouldn't blow my "great toe" off my left foot. I wouldn't flee to Canada. I wouldn't marry the first girl that would have me and start a family just to avoid conscription.
I looked at the men around my kitchen table and knew what I had to do. I was frightened, but I couldn't disgrace these men in any way...
I would serve. I would do my level best. I would try to make them proud of me.

As you know, my training led to a year in Viet Nam flying helicopter gunships. I came home to a different nation than my Dad and his siblings came home to. Me and my generation were shunned in some cases. We weren't welcomed as heroes.

My peers? Many of them found a way to avoid serving.
To them, Viet Nam was a disaster. Many actually felt those that avoided the Viet Nam war were the true heroes. Those that risked their lives fighting the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong were chumps... "Baby killers", or worse.
Sometimes that attitude seemed to be the majority view expressed by my generation.

So then my generation had kids. And around their kitchen table, those children got a much different education about the world and the people in it...
-War was evil and to be avoided at almost all costs.
-The "military-industrial complex" was evil.
-We learned from "M.A.S.H." that military leaders were all buffoons, (except those that thought war was always evil like "Trapper" and "Hawkeye".)
(Granted, there ARE a few that are willing to suffer in uncomfortable situations to help others... Peace Corps, Mission work, etc..
And the fact that our military is an all-volunteer force shows that not all kids were raised in "Bizzarro world". God Bless those exceptional few!)

But most now seem to think all we have to do to get along with others in the world is extend a helping hand, build a campfire and ask them to join us in singing "Kumbaya"...
If there is evil in the world, it's because the U.S. is an aggressor nation.

Now we're seeing the result of the kitchen table education these kids got...
"I don't want to have to worry about getting a good job."
"I want good pay without having to work for it."
"I don't want to have to worry about my security."
"I don't want to have to worry about my health care."
"I want Big Government to take care of me from cradle to grave."
"What's so bad about Socialism?"

Well folks, we'll soon find out how successful this generation's kitchen table schooling has been.
But from what I read in comments here and what I overhear in real life, so far I don't like it much.


OlePrairiedog said...

The houses I grew up in had front doors, but company was the only folks that came in them. Everyone else came in the kitchen door and rarely went anywhere elsein the house. I grew up with the same stories,attitudes and ethics. Granddad, all my Uncles,My Father all served in WWII.I (as you well know) had the privelege of serving, And it WAS a privelege. I also experience the scorn when returning from RVN.

I taught High School ROTC for a number of years after I retired from Service. I found the attitudes of kids to be challenging, found there is a chance to impact some of the youth today. Literaly, turn them around. There were some troubled and misguided kids that are now serving and I still hear from some of them. At one time, 2001, I had a former student enrolled at the USMA in every class and one that was the Cadet Captain of his class. He took his commission and left for Ft. Rucker to become a Rotor Head. That made me feel like I got through to some of them.

Yes, the bottom line is kitchen table learning. Because that is what the SGM and I did. We talked, taught and communicated better than the parents did or could.

TwoDogs said...

I agree. It is very important that kids get this 'kitchen table' learning. One problem that seems to be common today is that the kids do not even have 'kitchen table' time. We found that time - as hard as was - we still found a time to sit down at the table as a family. CJ's comment from the previous post hits home as to the 'why this is important'. In the U.S., the public education system seems to be lacking some of the most important 'teachings' regarding why this Country came about. GB's example of the all volunteer army tells me that all is not lost. But to turn this mess around, the people who are looked up to the most are going to have take up the slack. And Mom and Dad, if you are not in the top 5 - you need to start doing something different before it is too late.

Cissy Apple said...

I wonder how many of those people who called our Vietnam vets "baby killers" had abortions or believe that it's ok to kill an innocent life as long as that baby's in the womb or on the way out?

cj said...

Maybe it's up to us to pick up the slack for some of those lacking what we had.

I try to have relevent conversations with my students. I try to get them to think. I'm not sure I succeed but I try.

One of my favorite 'lessons' is to show them what the WH site says about the Second Amendment. I then show them what th Second Amendment truly says and I try to get them to understand the difference. It's a small thing, but we've got to start somewhere. They're not stupid, just self-involved and sheltered.


Greybeard said...

What percentage of kids today are exposed to ROTC?
For heavens sake, how many are even exposed to the Boy Scouts?
You help make my point...
Scouts and ROTC are a lotta work for someone not looking far into the future. Thank God you can positively motivate a few, but those numbers are MUCH fewer today than they were say, 50 years ago, aren't they?

TD, your point is well taken. I know in the Greybeard family we all too often went to our "separate corners" to eat dinner because we were "busy" or our schedules were so disconnected. Still, the fact that Big Bubba had a Dad at home, and was living with his original Mom AND Dad seemingly gave him an advantage over most of his classmates.
Thanks for your comment bro.

Cissy, I often wonder...
How can you be anti-capital punishment and pro-choice?
Beats me, but many... maybe MOST lefties are.

We never know what effect our actions will have on others, including some of this younger set. A neighbor boy I always thought was an extreme pain came back to our home as an adult and told me he considered me the closest thing to a Dad he had while growing up...
Made me reflect on how I had treated him on many occasions, but he expressed appreciation for my care. A word or a kindness from you may make all the difference to one of those kids away from home.

The Old Man said...

Y'all know I was RA. My kids are a leetle more conservative politically than I (but not fiscally). Now more than ever is the time to prepare for "which we are about to recieve". Don't give thanks, get ready.
But all we can do is our best. Again.

kberree said...

I completely agree. So glad that my girls had a father and 2 grandfather's that served. They have a real appreciation for all those who did and what it brought to their lives.
kathy gore berree