Why can't we all just get along?

If I am not reading about another shooting right here in the Burgh, I am inundated with tragic headlines about teenage suicide. Or, at the very least, I see road rage on an almost-daily basis as well as kids being mean in the Catholic school where I regularly substitute.

Sigh.

Have we become this appalling of a society? This self-centered, unfeeling, uncaring, and just plain mean? And worse, of course. I am afraid the answer is yes. But it does not have to be this way.

Two of my favorite classes in college were psychology and sociology. I am very interested in human behavior and the whole nature-versus-nurture debate (full disclosure: I have not read much about this theory since college 17 years ago). I tend to lean on the side of nurture; if you grow up surrounded by hate, you will probably continue down that same path.

I don't remember kids being so mean to each other (and disrespectful to authority) when I was a kid. Sure, some would make fun of others (I was much more often on the receiving end), but it seems out of hand almost everywhere I go. And unfortunately being mean at a young age can lead to so much worse down the road.

Parents and society are failing. We all have to do a better job of teaching our kids to be kind, respectful, and accepting. At the very least, we should not tolerate people being mean to one another. If I am somewhere and see a kid being mean to another or continuously jumping ahead of others and the parent does not step in, I sometimes will say something. I am all for letting kids work out their own problems, but after awhile or if something is really blatant, I decide enough is enough. I try to employ this tactic while subbing as well.

The rash of suicides by gay teens is particularly heart-breaking. I understand that many religions are against homosexuality, but don't most of those same religions preach kindness and compassion and following the Golden Rule? I don't care if you have problems with someone being gay or a lesbian; that does not give you the right to treat that person negatively. If you believe in God, surely you can see that God would not want you treat any one of us poorly. And for people who find themselves defending their lack of religious beliefs, that seems to be an even better reason to be kind, sort of like "proving" you don't need God to be a good person (note that I am not saying you have to prove you don't need God; I am simply referring to people I know who have defending their lack of religion to me).

Is it that hard to get along with one another? Can't we try just a little bit harder?

Comments

Burgh Baby said…
I have already seen bullying happen at my daughter's preschool. PRESCHOOL. I don't even know how a person can sleep at night if they let their kid behave like a bully at the age of 4. It's not OK. Not even close.
Facie said…
At preschool? Yikes. But I am pretty sure the apple does not fall far from the tree, sadly.
Bill Applegate said…
I agree..I just don't recall kids being so mean to each other growing up. Don't get me wrong...their were some bad kids, but nothing like I see today. Parents were more involved in the kids day-to-day activities and just didn't let it happen...everyone is soooooo worreid about being so "PC" and not offending anyone that NOW it seems that no one really cares about doing the "right" thing for fear of being reprimanded...I don't know it's just very frustrating to me...sorry for the rant...
Mel said…
We have this problem with a bratty, older, bigger cousin. There is serious family tension, but no one wants to address the elephant in the room.

I do address it when I feel someone is in danger. Even if the kid is a stranger, if I feel my child is in danger, I speak up. So what if I offend? I'm not physically touching the other child, although honestly, I would do that if I felt the situation was drastic and merited it. That would worry me b/c that's when lawsuits happen. BUT I am weary of everyone being so timid. Timidity never built anything meaningful. Courtesy, humility, and consideration are great characteristics--but I balk at being afraid to speak truth or hesitating to do what I think is right. Even if another parent IS peeved. If he or she would get off his or her can and get involved, then maybe I wouldn't have to.

Sorry--got off topic. And Facie, you're right--the apple learns it all at home. Where, in our society, the kid doesn't spend nearly enough time, IMHO.
joely said…
I think that it is interesting that the nature of children has not changed in the past 50 or so years, it is the parenting. Respect, responsibility, and resourcefulness used to be taught as the most impartant aspects of child rearing. Now it is all about self esteem, self entitlement and a bunch of other BS that leads to non empathetic adults and poorly behaved children. So until the psychobabble about raising children stops and kids go back to being raised to be responsible, I do not see everyone getting along. Todays kids think only about the "self". Just my opinion.

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