My mother was not averse to washing my mouth out with soap. I should define that as a mouth that spoke four letter words, dirty words, as they were called. Sometimes a hairbrush came flying at me and my brothers for being ugly to each other. The ultimate challenge was avoiding a swat with her broom for fighting or being mean to each other. Usually the quickest one of us avoided the broomstick across our behind but we all understood the intent. Hopefully corporal punishment is no longer used. School taught us about not cheating. If we did cheat on a test the teacher punished us and mom was waiting when we got home. Teacher’s action was certainly humiliating but mom, she could inflict pain, not always physical but it hurt. Saying I was going to the library when I went to hang out with the guys or maybe kissing Catherine by the swings, this could be serious trouble. This was lying and that was worse than a dirty mouth. School work and homework contributed to the learning cycle. We were expected to complete these though not necessarily in A+ fashion but with some reasonable effort. Education was important to my family. Both mom and dad barely finished high school but wanted a better life for us which education would make possible. Loyalty to the family, my bothers and friends was instilled in us as well. Loyalty to country was expected but different. We were expected to believe in our country and the good it does. Military service when conscription existed was complicated. My parents had family members, relatives and friends who died in WWII. Sacrificing more lives, more family, was a discussion that could have different outcomes even in the same family. Respect was fairly high up there as well, respect for mom and dad, neighbors, teachers, friends and our girlfriends. These we carried forward through life. We don’t describe others we disagree with by using vulgar or mean terms. We respect our spouses. Even though divorce may happen with couples actually cheating should not be a common practice.
When we left home that maternal leach remained intact. Dad helped and corrected us but as for golden rules, mom was the enforcer. That family control guided us through our lives even after our parents were gone. With some modifications we passed these practices on to our children. The application of these moments throughout our lives was critical. These were the unwritten rules or that little voice one hears through life. Often just small things like returning money even a small amount given incorrectly by a store cashier. There are bigger events like standing up for your fellow worker when being treated unfairly. Knowing when we observe some action, some activity, which is wrong, we must speak up and address it. Maybe some of us had these values reinforced by our religious beliefs while perhaps less so for others. Regardless these beliefs we hold are meaningful and real. These were the bonds that bind us together as a family, as co-workers, as friends and ultimately as a nation and a people.
These matter to me. I react negatively if others show no regard for these standards of acceptable behavior. I will first of all clarify to a person, that I disagree with, my objection not only for me but also my children. I emphasize that certain behavior is unacceptable. If people, friends, relatives or other influential people don’t accept that, then I distance myself from them and suggest others do the same.
How do we deal with a leader, politician or other prominent person, who acts and speaks contrary to our value system? I do not succumb or acquiesce to their behavior. That behavior can adversely effect my family, friends and others, we all must stand up in support of our beliefs. A person’s position should not silence us, not a city leader, a minister or priest and on up the ladder, up to and including our president. With that in mind and all politics aside, President Trump, clean up your act. My children and others are still learning.