Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Families Have Failed Their Children

 

Civilization hangs suspended from generation to generation, by the gossamer strand of memory. If only one cohort of mothers and fathers fails to convey to its children what it has learned from its parents, then the great chain of learning and wisdom snaps. If the guardians of human knowledge stumble only one time, in their fall collapses the whole edifice of knowledge and understanding. —Jacob Neusner

Many of us lament where we are socially, culturally, politically, and religiously in this country. Unfortunately, there are few things we can point to with great love and pride, without having others dispute our findings and attack our stands. For those who feel the losses of our present moment, we want to know why we have reached this place in time. How did we fail so terribly? How did we fall so low? And more urgently, what are we to do about it?

Since most institutions that suffer have been taken over by those who would desecrate or even destroy them, it will be difficult to begin with those organizations themselves. But what we can do is to look where the seeds of society are sown, how they are nurtured or neglected. In many cases, we have to start with the family.

In parents’ efforts to raise perfect children, many of them have given them everything they could possibly need. Some of those indulgences involve too much permissiveness and no boundary setting; some of them involve giving them material things that are supposed to make their children happy. And some of those efforts are ways they try to ignore a past, which connects their children not only to positive stories but for a balanced view, the sad, even tragic stories.

But for children to learn how to embrace a full, productive, and ethical life, they must be exposed to all of it: risk-taking along with boundary-setting; material gifts and the joy of earning for one’s self; the humility of leading a life within a religious framework and the joy of breaking down barriers; and finally, learning both the beauty and ugliness of life.

When we exclude these diverse, colorful, and rich ways in which life unfolds, with its opportunities and limitations, we create a distorted and unrealistic future for our children. We have created a false reality and haven’t given them the tools, education, and wisdom for them to find their own paths. We have cheated them of understanding the importance of their role in the stream of humanity and left them adrift.

And, so, we have given them a world of desolation and emptiness.

The great chain of wisdom and learning is about to snap.

Published in Group Writing
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 19 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Richard Fulmer Member

    Susan Quinn: The great chain of wisdom and learning is about to snap.

    The far left claims that there are no chains of wisdom and learning that connect us to the past, and that any customs and traditions are, indeed, chains – chains that oppress us. Instead, they believe, each culture and each era, has its own truths that are valid for only that particular people at that particular time. Each new generation, then, must create its own truths and recreate society.

    I suspect that the Left will “discover” that this endless cycle of creation and re-creation must end the instant they take power, but that’s just the cynic in me.

    How do we teach our children that age-old wisdom still speaks to us across the ages?

    • #1
    • August 13, 2020, at 6:37 AM PDT
    • 1 like
    • This comment has been edited.
  2. Old Bathos Moderator

    In Alcoholics Anonymous, the second and third steps refer to forming a relationship with “a power greater than ourselves.” For those seeking recovery who have theological issues about the existence or nature of God, they are advised that initially, it matters less how you conceive of God so long as you know it ain’t you.

    Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom. Rather than the humility and confidence that come from the challenge of being imperfect and struggling yet nevertheless held in some beneficent state, our kids are told to wish and resent, to hate the limitation of human nature.

    The thrust of the message many want to tell our kids is that they should be able to create a world entirely conducive to their desires and wishes but that reality is instead dangerous, unfair, evil, and still largely refuses to be properly shaped by the enlightened ones. Moreover, we are hampered by evil adults who are in league with this defective reality to thwart us. So, kids, be fearful, unhappy, and resentful and give power to those of us who want to give the reality you deserve. We are at war with gnosticism. Again.

     

    • #2
    • August 13, 2020, at 7:14 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  3. Arahant Member

    Richard Fulmer (View Comment):
    I suspect that the Left will “discover” that this endless cycle of creation and re-creation must end the instant they take power, but that’s just the cynic in me.

    It is not just the cynic in you. It is a hallmark of the left’s efforts. They call those who would then change things counter-revolutionaries, and they execute them or put them into gulags or “re-education” camps. Every time they try it.

    • #3
    • August 13, 2020, at 7:47 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  4. Arahant Member

    We live in a very rich society. The problem with rich societies is that they produce more. Not only do they produce enough food for everyone, but they produce plenty of all the arts. Instead of just the really talented being paid or really wealthy people being able to indulge in artistic endeavors, almost everyone is wealthy enough to do it. That means much more is produced, but the same amount is good. Thus, it becomes a small boat of goodness on the overwhelming flood of the bad. This includes wisdom and false wisdom.

    Wisdom has been the same throughout mankind’s existence. It has not changed in 300,000 years. Mind you, it has seldom been heeded, since every generation wants to learn the hard way. But the margins are wider now. In a hunter/gatherer society, there is not enough margin to make too many errors. If you mess up on the hunt, everyone in the tribe is hungry for a day, and everyone is unhappy with you. But in our society, if you write down a bad idea and publish it as a book, nobody is going to starve because of it, unless it is you due to a lack of sales. The thing is, that there is only one set of good ideas, one set of wisdom. There is an infinite number of bad ideas. There are infinite ways to repackage bad ideas, too. Thus, we are flooded with a thousand flavors of bad ideas, and good ideas only come in one flavor, and that flavor is hoarhound. Not many like the taste of hoarhound; it’s medicinal.


    This is the Quote of the Day. If you have a quotation you would like to share, we still have plenty of openings in August, including tomorrow. Come sign up today.

    • #4
    • August 13, 2020, at 8:12 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  5. Rodin Member

    That our society will fail is probably a foregone conclusion, sad as that is to say. History is replete with failed societies. What is painful is the feeling that although failure is probably inevitable it need not be in our time. Just a little more of this or a little more of that and our society could be sustained for another few generations. Why must it be now? We can see the means of the destruction of society clearly and yet feel helpless to thwart the forces that confidently push forward oblivious to how it will destroy everything, including those perceiving (wrongly) they will be immune. The American Revolution is being swallowed up by the French Revolution.

    • #5
    • August 13, 2020, at 8:14 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  6. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Arahant (View Comment):
    There are infinite ways to repackage bad ideas, too. Thus, we are flooded with a thousand flavors of bad ideas, and good ideas only come in one flavor, and that flavor is hoarhound. Not many like the taste of hoarhound; it’s medicinal.

    So very true, @arahant. No one wants to take the tough journey; they just want life to be easy and risk-free. Their demands to do so are immoral, and so many have been trapped in their liturgy. So sad. Thanks.

    • #6
    • August 13, 2020, at 8:35 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  7. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Rodin (View Comment):
    Just a little more of this or a little more of that and our society could be sustained for another few generations. Why must it be now?

    I don’t know. And the optimistic part of me wishes that you were wrong. But I think you are probably right, at great cost to this country.

    • #7
    • August 13, 2020, at 8:37 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  8. Richard Fulmer Member

    Arahant (View Comment):
    But in our society, if you write down a bad idea and publish it as a book, nobody is going to starve because of it, unless it is you due to a lack of sales.

    One way to boost sales is to write something outrageous that gets people talking and clicking.

    • #8
    • August 13, 2020, at 8:40 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  9. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Richard Fulmer (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):
    But in our society, if you write down a bad idea and publish it as a book, nobody is going to starve because of it, unless it is you due to a lack of sales.

    One way to boost sales is to write something outrageous that gets people talking and clicking.

    What is outrageous anymore?? The Marxists or us?

    • #9
    • August 13, 2020, at 8:40 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  10. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    We live in a very rich society. The problem with rich societies is that they produce more. Not only do they produce enough food for everyone, but they produce plenty of all the arts. Instead of just the really talented being paid or really wealthy people being able to indulge in artistic endeavors, almost everyone is wealthy enough to do it. That means much more is produced, but the same amount is good. Thus, it becomes a small boat of goodness on the overwhelming flood of the bad. This includes wisdom and false wisdom.

    Wisdom has been the same throughout mankind’s existence. It has not changed in 300,000 years. Mind you, it has seldom been heeded, since every generation wants to learn the hard way. But the margins are wider now. In a hunter/gatherer society, there is not enough margin to make too many errors. If you mess up on the hunt, everyone in the tribe is hungry for a day, and everyone is unhappy with you. But in our society, if you write down a bad idea and publish it as a book, nobody is going to starve because of it, unless it is you due to a lack of sales. The thing is, that there is only one set of good ideas, one set of wisdom. There is an infinite number of bad ideas. There are infinite ways to repackage bad ideas, too. Thus, we are flooded with a thousand flavors of bad ideas, and good ideas only come in one flavor, and that flavor is hoarhound. Not many like the taste of hoarhound; it’s medicinal.

    And applying Sturgeon’s Law, since 90% of everything is crap, we get a lot more crap. This explains Cats, Charlie’s Angels, and The Last Jedi.

    Well, nothing truly explains The Last Jedi. Sometimes abominations just happen.

    • #10
    • August 13, 2020, at 8:40 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  11. Richard Fulmer Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):
    Just a little more of this or a little more of that and our society could be sustained for another few generations. Why must it be now?

    I don’t know. And the optimistic part of me wishes that you were wrong. But I think you are probably right, at great cost to this country.

    Gandalf: All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdAN0o3oqB8

    • #11
    • August 13, 2020, at 8:45 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  12. Arahant Member

    Richard Fulmer (View Comment):
    One way to boost sales is to write something outrageous that gets people talking and clicking.

    Correct. And then you can have training sessions and big consulting fees, too.

    • #12
    • August 13, 2020, at 8:51 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  13. Freeven Member
    FreevenJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    In Alcoholics Anonymous, the second and third steps refer to forming a relationship with “a power greater than ourselves.” For those seeking recovery who have theological issues about the existence or nature of God, they are advised that initially, it matters less how you conceive of God so long as you know it ain’t you.

    Thankfully, I’m not all that familiar with the AA process. This is the first time I’ve heard this formulation and I think it’s wonderful. A society (or individual) without humility will destroy itself.

    • #13
    • August 13, 2020, at 11:30 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  14. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    Home-school your children, then send them to Hillsdale College. Support Hillsdale. Sign yourself and all your friends up to receive Imprimis, their speech digest, which is free. Support their Barney Charter School initiative, which is seeding classical charter schools all over the country. They have said that they are setting up so many schools, they are hurting for teachers. There are definitely things you can do.

    We are. After I retire at the end of this month, and when we get back from the South Dakota meetup, I will become a Hillsdale Associate, a local resource for the College. I will be meeting with prospective students, parents, and donors to the College when I hear about them. And Ray and I have embarked on endowing a scholarship.

    All is not lost, yet. There are positive things everyone can do.

    • #14
    • August 13, 2020, at 12:22 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  15. Freeven Member
    FreevenJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):
    Home-school your children, then send them to Hillsdale College. Support Hillsdale.

    For those who aren’t able or interested in making direct donations, consider simply visiting their online bookstore and buying some of their merchandise. It’s a win-win kind of thing. I regularly wear their shirts and caps around town. I’ve been surprised by the number of people who stop me and ask if I went there, if I’ve taken their free online course on the Constitution, etc.

    • #15
    • August 13, 2020, at 12:34 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  16. Unsk Member

    Damn straight Susan! Parenting is the key to many of our problems. 

    • #16
    • August 13, 2020, at 1:29 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  17. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Unsk (View Comment):

    Damn straight Susan! Parenting is the key to many of our problems.

    Thanks! When I wrote this OP, @unsk, I wasn’t sure how people would react. There are some people out there who worked hard to be good parents in all the ways I describe, and their kids still went off the deep end; I’m not pointing to them. But I am calling out those who took so many counterproductive steps or few steps at all raising their kids, and we don’t have to ask how their kids turned out, with the help of the universities: they’re rioting in Portland and Seattle

    • #17
    • August 13, 2020, at 1:38 PM PDT
    • Like
  18. E. Kent Golding Member

    My daughter is a dedicated Christian and a moderate Republican. Experience and life will take care of the moderate part.

    • #18
    • August 13, 2020, at 2:24 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  19. David Foster Member
    David FosterJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The closer men came to perfecting for themselves a paradise, the more impatient they seemed to become with it, and with themselves as well. They made a garden of pleasure, and became progressively more miserable with it as it grew in richness and power and beauty; for them, perhaps, it was easier for them to see that something was missing in the garden, some tree or shrub that would not grow. When the world was in darkness and wretchedness, it could believe in perfection and yearn for it. But when the world became bright with reason and riches, it began to sense the narrowness of the needle’s eye, and that rankled for a world no longer willing to believe or yearn. Well, they were going to destroy it again, were they, this garden Earth, civilized and knowing, to be torn apart again that man might hope again in wretched darkness.

    –Walter Miller, A Canticle for Leibowitz

    • #19
    • August 14, 2020, at 3:17 PM PDT
    • 5 likes