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I watched a video linked on a Parler post the other day that got me thinking. If you’ve seen the video my description of it will immediately let you know which one I’m referring to. The problems I’m describing happen in families across this country, and I assume across the world.
In it, a young man was sitting with what I took to be his son who was about six to eight years old. The man is quizzing his son on some spelling – looks like he’s pulling them off a list on his phone. He asks the first two words, which the son gets right. Then he says something along the lines that the third word is the bonus round, get this right and I’ll give you five dollars (man, inflation from my childhood has rocketed!).
He tells the boy what the word is “pigeon.” But the way he says it is as if separate words — “pig-e-on.” So, yeah, not even close to how you say pigeon. The boy is a bit confused right off. The man doubles down on how he’s saying it and acting like how could the boy not know what the word is.
A woman I am assuming is the mother was videotaping this, and she jumps in to say it the right way, and they argue back and forth with many colorful words about it, each on getting angrier and angrier until the man storms out of the house.
Now, I think the video was posted in the spirit of “see how stupid people are, yuk yuk yuk” much like the photos of strange-looking people at Walmart, etc. And I found it funny at first. Har har har.
Now, I know nothing about any of the people in this video, and for all I know it could have been a big put on. But I can see things like this happening and it ended up really depressing me.
Here’s a young man, who apparently hasn’t had the best of educations, sitting with his son doing something that I think all fathers should do – be involved and help in their education. And he makes a mistake. He gets a bit upset when the initial corrections come. Not the best reaction.
Then the mother piles on, and instead of saying “hey, could I talk to you a minute over here where the small boy can’t hear us?” proceeds to argue with him in front of the kid, and pretty much calls him an idiot but with colorful words involved.
I’m left with anguish for that young boy. He’s watched his father get belittled by his mother. He’s watched his father get angry when he gets something wrong and is corrected. He’s had what was an education affirming experience turn into a mess. If that happens even somewhat regularly, how does he overcome that?
I’m left with pain for the father. I’ve been a young man and we all get things wrong. Even now as an older man, I bluster a bit when called on getting something wrong — especially when it makes me feel stupid. And my wife might poke fun at me, but she never belittled me in front of our son.
I’m left with sadness for the mother. Raising children is hard, and doing it by yourself is even harder. I’m sure there’s a lot of frustration and anger that boiled up into her reaction. But treating the boy’s father that way isn’t going to help either and may drive him away. That isn’t good for the son, which isn’t good for her either.
It’s not a poverty thing. It’s not a race thing. It’s not something that government can fix. I think there are things each community can do to make it happen less often, but it will always happen some.
No answers. Just depressing.Published in