So I spent part of my evening last night browsing through YouTube clips and obviously, there are several videos of families gathered around the Christmas tree opening presents. Usually a pretty heart warming thing to watch; there is a child in all of us (whether we admit it or not) that looks back fondly on the time spent on Christmas morning. However, I came across a group of videos that were of children receiving presents that they didn’t want and the resulting temper tantrums they threw.
I will admit, some of the reactions were in fact slightly comical and I particularly loved the ones where the child obviously didn’t like the present but tried as hard as they could to hide it.
Then there was the other side of the spectrum…
One kid threw himself in the floor and began flailing his arms and legs about as if he were have some sort of epileptic episode. Another jumped up, stomping his feet, and screaming “I hate you! I hate you!” as he paced up and down the stairs. Even another actually told his dad that he could “Suck [his] balls”….Seriously?
I made the mistake once (and only once) of telling my parents that I hated them and on the rare occasion that I decided I was going to throw a tantrum, all my mom had to do was give me “the look” and I knew I had better straighten up FAST! Somehow or another those narrowed eyes and pouty lips put the fear of God in me even though neither of my parents had ever really given me much of a reason to fear them. Back then, you didn’t have to beat your children senseless to get them to understand (even though in those days you were allowed to discipline your children without the risk of having CPS breathing down your neck) all you had to do was instill a certain boundary line. You didn’t have to be mean – you just had to let your child know that you were in control and that you were the parent, not the friend. My mother instilled in me a value that I should respect authority, a value that seems to be fading faster and faster every day.
Back to the point, the purpose of this blog isn’t about temper tantrums and spoiled rotten brats, my question is: When did we turn from being grateful for the kindness of others, to taking that kindness for granted? I thought the purpose of gift giving was to show those you loved how much you loved and appreciated them. I understand that small children may not always understand this but at some point, they have to be taught that everything in life is not to be taken advantage of. Don’t get me wrong, the reactions from the really young ones are acceptable and, to some degree cute, but some of these children were approaching their teens and absolutely were old enough to know better.
I originally wrote this inspirational message to close out this thought. Outlining a plan to “make the world a better place” (yes I know this post is full of clichés….LIVE WITH IT!) but after I re-read it I thought “What a bunch of bologna!” This is going to sound pessimistic but, can we really do anything to change the future? Have you ever really thought about how we got to where we are now? A lot of people find it easy to point the finger at my generation as we are the ones who are currently raising these unruly children. Okay, okay, I see your point to an extent but, how did MY generation get to this point? Isn’t it safe to say that it was from the values that my parents’ generation instilled in us? (Sorry mom) And didn’t those values start from the values that their parents instilled in them? If you think about it, it’s really a never ending cycle.
Sorry folks but June Cleaver never really existed. Well, okay, I obviously wasn’t around in those times but I guarantee you there was corruption and immorality in the 50s and 60s just as much as it is now. The difference? They didn’t have modern technology. There was no internet that could tell you every little thing that was happening in China minute by minute. No one knew you were going shopping at the mall because you didn’t have the ability to “check in”.
Don’t spin this the wrong way, I’m not denying that the world is worse off than it was 50 years ago and I’m not trying to slam the older generations. What I’m getting at is simply this: We are humans; humans are cruel, rude, and immoral by nature. We also have the ability to control some of these natural reactions but have to make the decision to do so; we just need a push sometimes.
I feel as though I really need to explain myself further because I feel like I have made myself vulnerable and exposed a darker side of my personality. I’m normally a pretty jovial, easy going person who tends to lean towards sarcasm and humor to explain my quirky ways but, there’s just too much more to say that would make this entire rant worthwhile. Let me just say that in spite of everything I’ve said today, I do know that there is good in the world and I think that everyone has the ability to find that common bond within themselves. I also believe that “bad people” can turn good. You hear people all the time say that “People don’t change” well I can testify on a personal note that that is absolutely NOT true. I was a much darker person not all that long ago. I won’t go into details on that, I’m sure it will come up at some point in the future but let me just say that anyone can change if they so choose.
So now that I have turned a rant about Santa into a huge debacle over the impurities of the world, I have to come up with some witty way to close this post. The only thing that I can think to say now is……well, ummm, nothing!