June 30th, 2005

As my mind wanders back into reach

One of the assumptions at the time the USA was formed was that the strength of a nation was in its people. I got infected with that meme in grade school. Problem is, a nation is also a superset of systems, and its strength is also the strength of the concatenation of those systems. And by the time I was growing up, there was a lot more emphasis on producing weak and compliant subjects than citizens, and it has gotten worse since then.

My parents weren't trained to be parents; they just kind of fell into the job, and did the best they knew how with the limited resources available to them. They didn't know how very well, and those resources were limited, and so I do have complaints, but overall they didn't do badly and I certainly don't blame them for their goofs. I want to do better than they did, and it's infuriating to me that I can't get them to help me by reviewing how I was raised in comparison to how we with the benefit of a few decades hindsight *wish* I'd been raised.

I can get over that; I had an eight-hour marathon discussion with my Dad last night about it. The gist: He's 73, and that's more work than he wants to do. I don't *like* that, but I can understand it and respect it.

So how can I raise my sons to be powerful men? How do we combine power with subtlety, with the knowledge of how and when to *not* exercise it, as well as when to do so? Being weak makes the decision easy; you don't have any power to use. If you *have* power, you have to make decisions.

An LJ friend of mine posted a rant today about some incompetent parents taking their badly-behaved brats out in public. Would kicking Daddy's balls up between his eyebrows as a way of getting his attention been proper behavior? I suspect it would have been. Would I have had the guts to do so? Probably not. Am I ashamed of this lack of courage on my part? I'm not sure yet; I'll get back to you on that. It's what I'm trying to open discussion on right now.