Wednesday, August 09, 2006

You Should Be Ashamed of Yourself

Back in the day, there were several actions that would garner you a 'You should be ashamed of yourself!' from your elders.

Back in the day...
"Mom, here's my report card. I got all D's and only one F."
"ONLY ONE F. There's no such thing as ONLY ONE F. Why did you get an F? You should've studied more. You should be ashamed of yourself for thinking only one F is not a disgrace to this family. Go up to your room and think about what you've done and what you intend to do to make it right."

Current day...
"Mom, here's my report card. I got all D's and only one F."
" Which teacher GAVE you an F? Is that the one that's always sending home a ton of homework for you to do each night. I don't know how she expects you to finish all that mess. She gets on my nerves with that. She's lucky I don't go to those PTA meetings, cuz I'd beat her @ss, stressin my child out like that."
...kid only half listening, because he's about to get to the next level in his PSP game.
"She got my pressure all up. Go on up to your room til dinner gets here. What do you want pizza or chinese?"

Back in the Day...
"Mom, I have something to tell you. I'm in trouble."
Mother faints. Father while shedding a tear, says to his daughter...
"You have two options. Marry that good-for-nothing boy that did this to you OR go down to Charlotte and stay with your Aunt Lila until you're due and then give the baby to a good family to raise like their own. It breaks my heart that you've brought this kind of shame to our family. We work so hard to give you kids a good life."

Current Day...
...kinda scared...
"Mom, I'm pregnant."
"Who's the father?"
"Kevin, he's the only one it could be. I haven't been with Charles like that since the beginning of the year."
"So, what are you gonna do?"
"I want to keep it."
"What did he say about that?"
"I haven't told him yet. But, it's my body. I don't need him for this."

What happened to that good old fashioned healthy dose of shame. The more our culture mandates that everything is acceptable, the less shame we've felt about our behavior. On the one hand, the lack of shame has been helpful. Victims of violent crimes like rape and molestation shouldn't feel ashamed of what they've been through. But, I'm all for bringing back the shame for being a teen mom, being arrested, doing drugs, and being ignorant. Usually things are brought out of the darkness to enlighten others and provide a teaching point. All we've learned from taking the shame away from these acts is what kind of baby shower a 15 year old likes, how to do your time 'with honor', which drugs are considered 'cool' and that school isn't cool. We've become so used to such things that we're desensitized and we end up rationalizing the behavior, instead of trying to correct it.

Come on now, we know that's not right. We should be ashamed of ourselves.


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