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Are we raising a nation of wimps?

Almost daily I hear about the sissifying of our children and it causes me to wonder if there will be a United States of America before I buy the farm and leave the proceeds to my bride.  Let me make my points and examples and then you decide if I am right, wrong, or just another blow-hard.
I’m a baby boomer, born during the Korean War to a World War II father and a mother who raised a daughter and four boys.  My dad was a tool and die maker and he would send his resume out and just like that, we would pack up and move.  Consequently, my brothers and I learned to stand up for ourselves.
Back in the 1960’s kids did two things for fun; they played baseball and army.  Every kid had a toy cowboy six-gun or toy rifle.  We idolized cowboys who would shoot the bad guys in the black hats and John Wayne’s six-gun (read hog leg), Winchester lever gun and his powerful fists.
My brothers and neighborhood boys would prowl the streets in the evening, jumping over fences and shooting at each other with our toy guns, which more times than not resembled a stick.  We had incredible imaginations.  We mostly fought Nazi’s, better known to us as heinous “Krauts” and I’m not bragging when I say my personal body count numbered close to a million – killed or wounded.
Make no mention that I myself was either killed or shot to pieces almost every day and sometimes I would put on a spectacular display of jerking and flipping as the Krauts would riddle me unmercifully.  No matter, as I would reanimate only to take them on anew the next night – after baseball.  We were the Sandlot kids.
Moving around the country, I had plenty of opportunities to defend my new kid status and often engaged in real life fisticuffs which only helped me define myself as a man and did me no real harm and that includes getting knocked out in the hall in the 9th grade by a football player 3 years older than me.
It was 1967 and I was a Yankee in North Georgia and the teacher could plainly see me lying on the floor in the hall when I came to.  I got up slowly, collected my books, and took my seat.   The classroom was silent and blood was pooling below me on my desktop.  I stood up and walked to the teacher’s desk and before I could really say much, she pushed a hall pass to me.  I went up front and called my mother twenty miles away and she drove those twisted Cherokee County roads to take me to the doctor.  Not once was I approached by a teacher as I sat and waited, even though the class bell rang and many students witnessed me sitting there waiting with a bloody face and shirt.
I was feeling pretty beaten when we got to the shotgun building of a doctor’s office and as we walked down the hall, I spied my antagonist and his face was swollen to the point his eyes were almost closed and his hand was broken.  The doctor told me I only had a bruised nose and by default fighting rules and the extent of his injuries versus my own, I learned the next day I was declared the winner.  You see, this fellow only got in two punches and the second one was a hay maker, whereas I must have struck him ten times before he clocked me.  I feared the guy, but once I realized a fight was inevitable, I fought like a cornered…defender.

I went on to enlist in the United States Air Force and serve my country honorably in South East Asia for two tours working 12 to 14 hours a day supporting F-4 Phantom and F-111 Aardvark fighter jets with the 366th Gunfighters and the 6280th Combat Support Group.
Kids today are scared of bugs, anything that crawls, mice, the dark, someone pointing their finger like it is a gun…  What?  Yes, a boy was suspended somewhere here in the good ol USA the other day for doing just that.
A fellow here at work told me today his son was suspended for three days because he told someone he read a recipe for making a bomb.  The son had a near perfect record heretofore and made decent grades, but the mere whisper to a classmate of his supposed knowledge, got him suspended.  It did not matter what my friend or the boy said to defend him.  He was guilty.
My son got a three day suspension for bringing a nail file, scissors, and toothpick in a red Swiss Army Knife configuration to Crockett Elementary – because it “looked like a knife” and “We have a zero tolerance policy against knives, Mr. Marshall.”  When I challenged the decision, they graciously removed 2 of the 3 day’s penalty.  I walked away wondering what in the world is becoming of our school policies.
On the other hand, we have deranged and criminal people doing violence in our schools and… oh my God; bullies, so what is the solution?  First, there is nothing we can do to stop a crazy person from doing crazy things, or bullies trolling for a target, but we sure as heck fire can teach our kids to stand up for themselves. 
Second, a criminal is a criminal, not because of the economy or society, but because they choose to commit crimes over working for what they get.  We need to teach our kids to defend themselves on all levels and when they are of an age where they can up the ante, tell them it’s okay to up it, either by learning fighting skills or getting a concealed handgun permit, or both.


Anonymous said…
Very well written :) HC
Anonymous said…
What a great read and so very true! I had to forward this one to my manly man. SW
Anonymous said…
Very good. BAM
Anonymous said…
Good article, Bert! I totally agree with you. LH
Anonymous said…
We need to offer tax breaks for home schooling and allow private schools to compete on an equal footing with public schools.

Public schools are too large and wasteful and the only thing they produce is football players for your entertainment. CK
Sandi White said…
Thank you, Mr. Marshall for saying out loud what I am afraid to think. What kind of people are we raising today? Cowards? I can't remember the last time I saw kids running and playing outdoors. My own grandson is overweight because he doesn't care to do more than play video games and apparently it's become controversial to tell your children, " Go outside and play, it's good for you!"
Anonymous said…
Thanks, some one needed to say it. SW
Anonymous said…
Good point, but as they say-you can't turn back the hands of time. RE
Anonymous said…
Very good article, Bert. CB
melody marshall-sievers said…
Dad, u were tough on us kids growing up. At the time, I loathed you for it. Now, many years later, I am fearless and well respected. Thank u for not raising any wimps.

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