Opinion: Lessons from childhood: Stand up for yourself, take responsibility

By Ron Hagg
Posted 3/26/20

When I was 4 years old we lived in a large apartment complex in Falls Church, Virginia. One day I wandered to the upper apartments. Three older boys got a hold of me. One sat on me and the other boys gathered some grass and put it in a pile by my head. One boy took out some matches and said they were going to burn me. I was very frightened.

You have exceeded your story limit for this 30-day period.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Opinion: Lessons from childhood: Stand up for yourself, take responsibility

Posted

I want to tell people how I was raised. I think lots of kids today are not raised like I was.

When I was 4 years old we lived in a large apartment complex in Falls Church, Virginia. One day I wandered to the upper apartments. Three older boys got a hold of me. One sat on me and the other boys gathered some grass and put it in a pile by my head. One boy took out some matches and said they were going to burn me. I was very frightened.

I got away and ran to my mother. When I told her what happened, she got down on one knee. She showed me how to make a fist. I made a fist - then she told me, "The next time this happens to you take your fist and you bop him hard on the nose."

When I was in first grade I had a very cool wooden train set. My neighbor, Jimmy, and I played with them a lot. One day we were playing Roy Rogers. I remember we colored the underside of the train tracks with crayons. We were making potions to protect us from the bad guys. One day I couldn't find my train set - it was missing. Soon after this I was over at Jimmy's playing when I saw a train set just like mine. When I turned the train tracks over I saw our crayon markings. Jimmy told me that he liked my train set so much he made the same markings on his. I was having a hard time with this. But since he told me - I believed him.

I went home and told my mother. My mother convinced me he was lying. I'll never forget what she told me. "You go over there and get your trains back." I remember being very nervous when I knocked on his front door. His mother answered it. I told her I was there to get my train set back - that Jimmy had taken it from me. She asked Jimmy about this and he told her it was his train set. I then told her about the crayon markings. I went into his bedroom, found my train set and picked it up. Jimmy was yelling for me to leave his train set alone. As I walked out the front door with my trains, Jimmy's mother kept him away from me.

Starting in fifth grade I started to get in trouble in school. Fights mostly. When I got in trouble at school, the school would call my parents. They never backed me. The reason: I was wrong.

Looking back at the old age of 72, I'm glad my mother taught me to stand up for myself. And when I was wrong she didn't make excuses for me or blame others. She didn't come to my rescue. I believe these lessons from my mother have served me well.

You know you're old when you don't like the direction society is going. I have seen kids at Smith's yell at their mothers - yell awful things and the mothers just take it. This is so wrong.

Set boundaries and keep to them. Do not negotiate with your kids. For example, "If you clean up your room I'll give you such and such." Parents are the alpha and children get confused if they can manipulate their parents.

I saw some friends of mine doing this with their child. "He's impossible to get to go to bed. We go through this every night." Every night they'd negotiate with him. I advised them not to negotiate - put him to bed. If he gets up, put him back - no negotiations - just the action. I saw the parents a couple of weeks later. It was hell the first few nights, but now he goes to bed - no temper tantrums - just accepting that it is his bedtime.

We played outside, made up games, had super adventures. My parents didn't have a clue where we were. Freedom. There's an informative website: letgrow.org. This website promotes independence for our children. Check it out.

Children need the freedom to succeed or fail. We learn from our successes and our failures. If a parent constantly steps in to rescue their child from any failure, this disrupts their self-reliance. This is one reason we have become a nation of entitled people.

Ron Hagg lives in Arroyo Hondo.

Comments


Private mode detected!

In order to read our site, please exit private/incognito mode or log in to continue.