Wednesday, July 27, 2005

She's baaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

Kersten resumed her position in the pitching rotation with a column on Thursday, July 28th, titled Meet one big 'counterculture' family. They seem like a happy bunch - a big bunch to be sure with nine kids - but a well adjusted and happy family.

Well. Spotty can see that the bloggers will be on short rations around her for a while. But Spotty will put in half-hearted effort just to placate his readers. He will just react to some quotations from the article.
The first [idea about happiness] is about the source of [that] happiness. Every day, cultural messages insist that happiness means getting what we want (or think we want). But the Reinhardt household has turned this message on its head. There, happiness comes not from "getting what I'm due," but from interdependence and loving self-sacrifice.

This one is pretty interesting to deconstruct. This really sounds kind of collectivist: interdependence and loving self-sacrifice. The kids learn responsibility by being rewarded with love, appreciation and a smoother running family. Spotty says that most parents at least try run this kind of a ball club with varying levels of success.

Children should, in fact, take the nurturing and cooperation skills to their lives outside the family at school and into adulthood. That's how you can tell they were properly nutured at home. However, the nuture/cooperation model is not the MO of a lot of conservatives once they are out the front door.
The Reinhardts' second insight concerns the importance of connecting effort with rewards. Contemporary parents often believe they should do all they can to smooth their children's path in life. But the Reinhardts stress the self-respect that comes with earning your own way.

All of Spotty's pups and the friends of his pups have part time jobs; Spotty thinks they work too much some time, but they feel better about earning their "walking around money" and funds to buy special things: bikes, guitars, a small boat, etc. Membership in the family entitles a kids to some stuff, though; you can't put them entirely on commission.
Finally, the Reinhardts stress the importance of clear rules and expectations -- curfews, no sleepovers, and the like. We baby boomers can find it hard to say no to our kids, because we're often tempted by a desire to be their pals. The Reinhardts use their parental authority to try to build character.

Spotty says you have to be careful about this one. If using parental authority to try to build character means parent induced adversity, Spot doesn't recommend it. If it means encouragement and support to get kids to try new and more difficult thinks, Spotty agrees.

Spotty says that the Reinhardts seem like nice people, but from his experience, they aren't all that counterculture. It is Spotty's opinion we are not hurtling toward hell in the proverbial handbasket at anywhere near the velocity that Katherine thinks, or implies by stories like this.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

exellent, as always...cp