Dave Richards for May 30th…………
--As the years go by, the way we see some things changes. Memorial Day is seen today as the beginning of summertime, even though it was originally set aside to care for the graves of fallen veterans. And something which comes in hundreds of colors, is the reason automobile tires are always black.
It is true, the meaning of the Memorial Day holiday is somewhat askew, but we do still honor fallen veterans today. But did you know that rubber automobile tires weren’t always black? I was looking the other day at some photos of old classic cars. Several excited my curiosity. Those old cars from the early 20th Century were sporting gleaming white rubber tires. As I thought about that, I considered how difficult it would have been to keep those tires clean, especially back in a day when only a small percentage of roads were paved with asphalt. So I decided to look it up and I learned that white is the natural color of cured rubber and that making them black was considered a major improvement, but not for the reason you may think.
Tires are black because today’s tire manufacturers add carbon black to the mixture when they are made. But they didn’t do it so their tires wouldn’t always look dirty. They did it because the carbon black also made the rubber tires last longer, it slowed down wear. Now the connection to something which comes in hundreds of colors……..
The Goodrich Company was a major supplier of rubber tires in the early 20th Century. The company which supplied Goodrich with the carbon black material was Binney & Smith, the creators of Crayola Crayons. I found that very interesting. Now on to this week’s rant………….
--I heard a news story yesterday regarding automobile traffic in Cumberland which made me shake my head. The claim is that a significant problem is being caused in town by parents driving their children to school instead of sending them on a School Bus. This pushed my button. Why? Because I believe we are seeing one of the many “unintended consequences” resulting from the trend to over-protect children over the last generation or so.
Anyone of sufficient years will tell you that, as much as it sounds like an argument waiting to happen, the truth is that it IS possible to over-protect our children and delay their education in the needed survival skills of life. We’ve been watching it happen for years so that now it seems the DCYF will come and take your kids away if you do not accompany them to the bus stop in the morning. Then, when they’re on the bus there are always two people in charge, one driving and another who can watch the kids. Later, there’s a full-blown police presence INSIDE the school, complete with a sworn officer of the law. No wonder today’s kids are quite comfortable with Google tracking everything they read, say, or look up on the Internet!
The way I see it, now that you have conditioned the parents to get up and bring the kids to the bus stop, it’s just a small adjustment needed to take them the rest of the way to school. It’s totally logical. But our roads were not developed to handle this traffic. How will we solve this? I predict the current problems will give rise to further ‘home-schooling’. And further home-schooling will cause an increased inability of future generations to learn how to live and get along with other people.
I think developing inter-personal skills is vital for society itself. And, I think delaying the teaching of those skills is a cruel way to raise children. Oh, you can bemoan the harshness of life all you want, but to quote a former president of the United States who would have celebrated his 100th birthday last weekend, “Life isn’t fair.” And I think you’d better teach your children this lesson as soon as they are able to understand it. And then teach them how to deal with it in a way which moves their lives forward in a positive direction. If you do this, you’ll be giving your children a most valuable education in survival itself.
In the early 1970’s there was a popular song recorded by Johnny Cash called “A Boy Named Sue”. It was the story of a man who was given a girl’s name at birth by a father who knew he wouldn’t be there to teach the boy how to defend himself in the world. Despite the humorous theme of the song, there was a small bit of wisdom in the idea behind it.
About the best we can hope for as parents is that our children survive their mistakes. I think the better we prepare them for that, the better parents we are. A gentle, wholesome discipline is what is called for, NOT over-protection.
--That’s what I think. What do you think? Comments to: email@example.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.
Thanks for reading!