2012-07-06 / Columnists

It’s My Turn

By Sharon Gabriel


Bye Bye Birdie was all about competition Bye Bye Birdie was all about competition The Rockaway Theatre Company is now presenting “Bye Bye Birdie” which has a song in it entitled “What’s the Matter With Kid’s Today.“ Though written in the late ’50s, it fits right in with Howie Schwach’s “Rockaway Beat” column last week.

Really, there is nothing wrong with the kids today, but there is something wrong with some parents. Giving your child everything you can is certainly not giving the child the one thing he or she needs most, self-esteem. By having the latest iphone, app, computer, cell phone or any other gadget that comes down the pike, doesn’t teach the child selfesteem. In other words, when you get something for free, it has no value.

How about a child “working” for some things that he or she wants? Maybe putting 50 cents a week into a special fund that would be matched by the parents, or completed by the parents to teach the child that you have to work for things, nothing is free.

This, I think, doesn’t only go for children today but for the 20 somethings and beyond. Everybody needs the latest of everything and the credit card companies are doing a land-office business. Charge it, we’ll pay for it later, my child needs the latest thing there is.

Nothing has a value today. In my day, the Stone Age, few parents could afford the latest of everything. They just didn’t have the money and there was really no such thing as a credit card.

I didn’t realize it at the time but my parents were poor, money-wise, but very rich in self-esteem and bringing up their children to appreciate and value every new thing that we got. Second hand clothes from an older cousin, of course, because your mom couldn’t take you to the store and buy you the latest Ralph Lauren polo shirt or high priced sneakers. So, you appreciated when you received a brand new coat and shoes. There it is again, feeling good about yourself, self-esteem. How about a second-hand bike – it rode just as good as a new one.

To this day, I can remember that when I started working and had a few dollars in my pocket, and it was only a few dollars, I went to Saks Fifth Avenue and bought a handbag. That experience of being able to walk into that store so many years ago and purchase something, stays with me because it was something that I accomplished on my own with no help from anyone else – self-esteem. When I wanted a car, my parents couldn’t afford to buy me one and I had to get it on my own, but my father said he would pick up the insurance. Wow, that was great, but I still had to buy a used car on my own and it meant a lot to me. When I could finally afford a new car, I traded in the used one. I did it on my own.

Giving each child on a baseball team a trophy, as mentioned in Howie’s column, may make the child happy but it’s nothing special because every other player has one. The child mentioned in his column didn’t do what his coach said and lost the game for his team, yet his parents, instead of telling him to follow his coach’s orders yelled “Good hustle.“ What was that child learning, that you can do whatever you want and you will still get ahead. I feel sorry for that child and many others when they get out in the world and not everyone tells them “Good hustle.”

As for the schools, I can’t speak as Howie does because I do not have children in the school system, but I remember not being a great student, but average and you rose and fell on your own merits not what you could do as a group. You got a good mark because you alone accomplished something, not as part of a group. Many children today cannot even tell you the name of our Vice President or where the Mississippi River is located.

What I have seen in the high school is that teenagers today have no concept of the outside world. We looked forward to college or business and knew how to dress and present ourselves. Go into a high school today and look at the dress of some of the teachers, it is as bad as the students. The students aren’t learning that when you go to business you should make the best appearance possible. When I have spoken to the students at Career Day, they had no idea of how to present themselves or to dress for business. All they seemed to be interested in was how much money they would make. (Not that there is anything wrong with that.) They made me laugh because no one wanted to start at the bottom, they all wanted to start at the top, be president of the company. When I asked them what they knew about a specific company, they had no idea what a president would do but they didn’t seem to understand you can’t start at the top —- unless your parents keep telling you that you are the best thing since rye bread even if you’re not.

Kids, from someone who’s been there, try something on your own and see how good you feel. Give me a call if you want to speak.

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