Picture it, Sicily nineteen……. Wait sorry. I’ve been watching too much Golden Girls with my wife and daughters lately. The ideals that I grew up with, and the moral lessons built into the programming made sense. Even the ones that seem intolerant by today's standards were progressive by yesterday's. The kids enjoy the show and I know that they aren’t being polluted by garbage. You see parents of my generation, 43 years young, did outsource much of their parenting to TV. Not all of it. I was still in the woods every weekend during hunting season with my father and I was learning all the things I needed to learn. Shooting, skinning, hard work.
My father had my brother and I for a whole summer one year. He ran the company my mother’s father owned so he was out of work after the divorce. Money was tight. Wood was cheap. That summer my father and I built an entire room on the back of his house. Framed it, ran the wire, insulated it. I put up sheetrock and swung a hammer until my shoulders were sore. I hated it yet even as I think about it, I have a yearning for that summer..
I wanted to fix the mistakes of my parents when I became one. I didn’t get divorced. I love their mother. I don’t hit them. I have provided everything they could ever want or need. I sometimes look at them, and wonder if I set them up for success or failure. I taught them morals, I make them do work, but not to the level that was expected of me. I was in attics covered in insulation at 15 and that’s not something I’ve ever needed them to do. So now that I reflect as I get older, I question whether I fixed anything, and if instead I perpetuated much of what ails the world. Only time will really tell. I know my oldest is struggling with things, even though she is a sweet moral human, with a good work ethic. She’s getting high grades in college. I’m proud of her, yet worried. My other two cause me even more worry. I try every day to ensure they understand the world around them, but what can you really understand until you get out there?
Moving out of the cities is what has begun to change this. Learning to see neighbors as friends and not just people living near us. Going outside and seeing grass and cows and chickens has shaped a new way of thinking in them. We didn’t have that because growing up they always lived on military installations while I was serving. 20 years of serving my country and what I was really doing was serving my family to the government. Government run schools, government run recreational areas, government run housing. This was the fatal flaw.
The health and well being of my family is improving for the first time ever. While financially, we continue to struggle, given the state of inflation, there is a new found closeness in my family that didn’t exist. Sure I’m home more but that’s not why. I removed them from ease. They work together more now. Yes, we are a bit more isolated, but they are adapting. This comes with another set of problems. It is true, there are no solutions, only trade offs, and that is becoming clearer everyday.
My tag line “buy land, grow food, make babies” is not a meme. It’s a roadmap. It’s how you take control of your own future. Pete Quinones said something on the Dave Smith podcast this week that struck me as stupid, even though it sounds good. He said “there’s strength in numbers” and all I could think was how wrong he was. The greater the numbers in the group, the stupider the aggregate IQ gets. It’s a recipe for being ruled, not for voluntary interaction.