How Did We Survive? The Grumpy Guy’s Guide

The other day I asked a youngish kid, maybe 10 years old, to kindly not play behind my car, in my driveway, because it wasn’t very safe. Her response to me was, “I don’t have to. I can play wherever I want.” Which led me to:

Only the strong survive…

How did we manage to survive our childhood? According to present day norms, I shouldn’t be here. You either, most likely. If you were to believe the propaganda coming down the media poop chute, children must be delicate Faberge Egg creatures, which require shelter under thick, impenetrable glass domes. They are little kid lab specimens, groomed and kept for parental amusement.  The kids can’t get dirty, they must play in structured group settings and are fed a diet of entitlement. During seasonal gatherings, parents can show off their collection and boast about Little Sally’s exceptional talents for sorting buttons, or coloring mostly within the lines. And everybody gets a participation trophy…

Participation Trophies For Everyone! image by terren in virginia via flickr creative commons

Participation Trophies For Everyone!
image by terren in virginia via flickr creative commons

While this seems innocent enough, these lab specimen kids will be unable to survive outside of their protective bubble, in the real world. Recall one of the scenes from the Hunger Games , if you will, that moment when the games begin and all the tributes are released from their starting spots. Who goes down first? The weak and unprepared. Now I’m not saying we need to train future generations in Ninja warfare, but they do need to survive, on their own.


We have created a population of a self-indulgent entitled critters who toss a hissy fit when things don’t go their way. “I want it now!”

We all know this kid...

We all know this kid…

We survived standing on the front seat while Dad chain-smoked and drove. Drinking from the garden hose was the only water you got, and there was no such thing as a bicycle helmet. You fell down, you got back up. You certainly didn’t get a trophy when you lost. Experiencing life’s ups, downs and road bumps makes you prepared for what’s ahead.

  • Do stop them from sticking a fork in the light socket. Don’t make them use a plastic spork.
  • Do teach them to live within their means. Don’t teach them that their means can be extended until their credit cards are maxed out.
  • Do set a good example. Don’t have little Johnny fetch your bong.
  • Do show them respect for others. Don’t forget to show them respect — they need to know what that feels like.
  • Do keep them off my lawn. Don’t be afraid to say, no.

I’m not encouraging parents to let their flock turn feral. That form of neglect only leads to future generations of photos posted on the People of WallMart website. Parents of these snot bedraggled ragamuffins won’t feel the rise of the Lord of the Flies until it’s too late. Off the cliff they go…  There is a happy middle ground here. While you figure out what that is, just keep them off my lawn.

get off my lawn

get off my lawn

I’m about to redesign the website, paring it down a making it a bit and more user friendly (I hope).  So if something doesn’t look right to you, give me a shout and let me know.




  1. Hilarious! And so very true. Some kids today think the world owes them something. It’s not their fault; it’s how they were raised. Perhaps our generation coddled them too much, I don’t know. Nothing a good kick outside in nice weather can’t fix. And drinking from the garden hose was the best water ever!

    1. As a Probation Officer (a few years ago) I sat on the School Attendance Review Board, where the parents and the truant kids would come and explain why the little darlings couldn’t make it to school. The parents would come up with all kinds of excuses…everything except admit they were part of the problem. And yes, the garden hose was awesome!

  2. I would have said something like “Okay lie down and I’ll make road kill out of you.” I love that Clint Eastwood movie – can’t think of the name but it’s a good one.

    1. We ended up nicknaming the kids…Speed Bump 1 and Speed Bump 2. I think the Clint Eastwood movie was, Gran Torino.

  3. Hear hear! Love it, James. Gran Torino is the Eastwood movie and it was great, Jan!

  4. Talking to a cashier in town the other day, she asked me if I had heard about raising “free range kids.” Uh, no…chickens, and turkeys, not kids…She then said parents are reverting to “how we were raised (insert assumed age)” except the kids all get name tags so others don’t think they are lost! Sounds like a wave of free range kids may be headed to your lawn. Watch out.

    1. Free range kids won’t necessarily become cage free adults.

      1. Ha! This is true, and I hope you get to be the one to write about that someday.

  5. True. I was raised by wolves according to today’s standards! My parents would have been in jail for child endangerment. But it served me well overall – pretty independent, never bored, and able to create my own happiness. A fun post 🙂

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