Articles are available for reprint as long as the author is acknowledged: Domenick J. Maglio Ph.D.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Our Parents Were Right

Parents have an inherent responsibility to protect their children from the dangers of the world. Generation after generation has warned children about dangerous situations they have learned about through their own experience. When we were young many of the things we thought were ridiculous, old fashioned and no- sensible have turned out to be realistic and prophetic. They were right and we were naively wrong.

“Saving for a rainy day” has been replaced by “buy now- pay later.” According to a recent poll cited on National Public Radio, today’s adults do not feel financially better off than their parents. Even though they earn more money, they spend more than they earn and buy what they want rather than what they need. Each newer generation has readily rejected the notion of saving to the point where the average American has none.

America is reaping what it sowed 45 years ago when the “Me Generation” threw out all the rules. “It is all about me” became the self-serving mantra of college students. These same young adults who detested their parent’s work ethic lifestyle, ironically demanded money from them to live an instant gratification lifestyle.

Although the parents of these self-centered young adults were from the “world of hard knocks” they chose to believe their “children knew best.” Parents were convinced to discard their nagging ways and accept the easier liberating lifestyle of their non-responsible children. No longer did parents feel obliged to share their experience and knowledge with their children. The duty to ones family, community and country was replaced by optimal self-indulgence. Each younger generation has walked down this path with less mature advice from their self-delusional parents.

APBF era, the “After Parents Became Friends” Era was the impetus for the radical downturn in our culture. We rejected the knowledge and wisdom of our ancestors for the unrealistic dreams of inexperienced “know-it-alls.

When they were parents and not friend’s adults knew to resist the ignorance of youth and not join it. They knew dining together was good for the entire family. It allowed parents time to mould their children. Parents taught American exceptionalism based on God and laws of nature, to their children. These were some of the things they taught us.

  • Having children without marriage, lying, stealing, cheating or disrespecting others is wrong.
  • Evil exists and needs to be recognized and controlled.
  • Watch a person’s deeds not his words. Talk is cheap.
  • If things appear too good to be true, watch out.
  • Do not take candy from a stranger.
  • There is no free lunch, especially from government.
  • Do everything to the best of your ability.
  • A person’s reputation matters. Show me your friends, shows me your future.
  • We are judged by the company we keep.
  • A good family and your health are more valuable than gold.
  • Knowledge is power.
  • Silence is golden.
  • “Wait until your father gets home. “I punished you for your own good.”
  • “Punishing you is harder on me than on you.”
  • Father knows best.
  • The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.

Moving away from these accurate evaluations of human nature and towards progressive falsehoods has led us to today’s world. Our society is much more dangerous, uncaring and purposeless. The less than perfect families of the past have been superseded by fragmented families and dysfunctional government agencies.

After almost 50 years we have the data to compare. Americans are materially richer and spiritually and socially poorer. Violence, divorce, drug and alcohol addiction, unwed mothers and dropouts have sky rocketed. We have moved away from God, laws of nature and meaningful relationships. The evidence is overwhelming.

The blueprint to obtain a more civilized existence is clear. America offered more stability, personal responsibility and peace of mind when we chose to be guided by God, the wisdom of our ancestors and moral values enforced by our parents.

America has prospered on our forefather’s formula of combining limited government with the comprehensive understanding of human nature. It was not a vision of a utopian state that drove them but the desire to design a nation based on the history and knowledge that worked in the past.

To revitalize our spiritually ill society we must be again guided by American exceptionalism rather than continue to demean ourselves in a culture of hedonistic tribalism.

Dr. Maglio is the author of Invasion Within and Essential Parenting. He is a psychotherapist and the owner/director of Wider Horizons School. Visit:



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