Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Is There An Anti-Parent Trend In The United States?

Well, if you asked me that question say five years ago, I would have said no. An emphatic no.
But ask me today and I think that there is a sometimes subtle, sometimes not subtle anti-parent attitude in the United States today.
What got me thinking about this was reading yesterday's Morning Jolt from Jim Geraghty of National Review. If you don't get this in your inbox every weekday, you should. And as an aisde, Mr. Geraghty is one of my favorites over at NR. I have quoted him many a time on this blog.
What Mr. Geraghty wrote about was taking his young boys over to a local Starbucks every Sunday morning and spending some quality time with the kids. Something that every father should do, no matter what their own marital situations.
But one Sunday, they went to a different Starbucks. Actually one near a playground in Alexandria, Virginia.
And it was not a good experience.
First is Mr. Geraghty's description of the crowd:

And the clientele was . . . different. You know the type: Beard. Skinny. Vintage t-shirt. Probably a piercing or two, definitely a tattoo. If they lived in New York, they would live in Brooklyn.
Ok, I would just change that to a Left Coast theme. If they lived here, it would probably be North Hollywood or West Hollywood. Or in downtown Los Angeles in one of the lofts. Basically, a hipster or a SWLPL type of vibe.
And then was Mr. Geraghty's description of the, well, disapproving looks from this hipster, SWLPL crowd:

I definitely got the feeling that our presence was disruptive to their perusal of the New York Times book-review section or their work on their screenplay. Nothing vocal, just regular disapproving looks in our direction. How dare a breeder like myself desecrate their temple of almost-urban cool.

And there was an awful word Mr. Geraghty wrote.
Breeder?! I had to read that a couple of times to realize that what Mr. Geraghty meant was that he was. . .a. . .dad! And a dad in the ol' fashioned way.
And what is wrong with that?
In my mind not a damn thing.
Being a step dad has been the most rewarding thing I have done other than getting married. Sure, I am not a breeder per se, but I have had the privilege to be a part of my stepson's life as much a father except for the "breeding" part.
Yet the thrust of the piece by Mr Geraghty is simple.
There is an anti-parent culture out there and it is getting louder and louder.
To stay with the coffee theme, there are three big chains here in So. Cal. They are the aforementioned Starbucks, then there is Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and Peets. And I confess that I like them all. Even though all three are very, very liberal in their politics.
Which leads to a rule of your humble blogger. Try not to let politics get in the way of what you like. Laugh it  off as a 'Well, hello?!' moment. Thus, until there is a Righty Coffee chain, I will continue to like the three I mentioned.
Back on point.
In the following order of the vibe and politics, Peets is the worst and Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf is the least of the hipster, SWLPL type of crowd. Which, oddly enough, means Starbucks is pretty middle-of-the-road.
I think that it is great that parents can take their children to a place like this. It is certainly better than the local pub. Or the race track. Or, well you get the point.
Are there some crappy parents? Yes, but most do not have children to be crappy parents. Not all parents let their kids run amok in inappropriate places. But come on, it is a coffee house. A chain coffee house. Hey, hipsters and SWLPLers, if you want to the full European coffee house vibe, there are a boatload near college campuses.
A lot of people like to emphasise the negative parents out there. Again, there are some. But there are many parents that are trying to be good. And teach their children how to behave. Right from wrong. All that kind of stuff.
I for one love seeing dads especially have a close relationship with their kids. It is sign of maturity. Of a dad giving of himself. I know that it is sexist to write what I am writing here, but it is true. It is expected that moms are naturally giving of themselves. But dads, that is another story.
And that is another point Mr. Geraghty raises.
How this hipster, SWLPL crowd is male dominated.
So true.
And they like their "freedom".
Freedom from what?
Their freedom is a myth.
What it really is is a self-absorption that they are too lacking to realize.
It is all about one's self. What? You want me to care about another human being? You know, beside bedding down a gal (or a guy-being a wee bit PC here!), actually a having a relationship? Having to give of my self to another person? WTF, man?!
When anyone gives of them self, that is true freedom.
I think that the problem here is that too many people have a misconception of freedom. And are just plain self-centered. And some of these people are. . .breeders. And they pass down their self-absorption to their offspring.

For me,  I get how people feel about the modern parent. But I try to remember my parents and how they raised us. And yeah, it is pretty different from parenting in the 21st century.
But again, I do hate to admit, there is a trend of anti-parent and anti-parenting that is on the rise. And you can find some of it at the local coffee house.



Amy said...

The term "breeder" originated in the homosexual community. Did not know the use had expanded, but assuming Urban Dictionary is up to date it is indeed used by hipsters and etc. I wonder if there isn't a bit of sour grapes in the use of the term.

Righty64 said...

That is what I thought. Which is why I was surprised that this is now mainstreamed. But no, I think that what the writer was doing was trying to get inside the dudes' heads. Which to me, is a tough thing to do!