That was the evening ritual as announced each night by “Auntoy”, my stepmother’s mother. Auntoy (her real name was Florence Pauly Carroll–but I don’t think I knew that until years later) was the savior of my youth.
Today’s podcast is about the vital, no-substitute-for it, home life, family life. I have used the term dinner table in the past as an anchor phrase for how wisdom and learning about everything from handling finances to faith to work ethic to understanding history to values to respect for authority to patriotism to how to think (not what to think) is shared and discussed at the family level.
As a way of getting us into this discussion, I am going to take a moment out of our 10 minutes together to tell you a bit more about me. Then we’ll get into why family interracton, the dinner table, is the beginning of everything.
My parents split when I was 1. My Dad got custody; I did not see my Mother for several years afterwards. For about 2 ½ years, I was raised by the staff in one or the other of my paternal grandparents’ homes. I met my step-mother, Paula, when I was 3 ½; she, my Dad, Auntoy and I became a family. Dad was distant, Paula was unpleasant, and Auntoy was my rock, my support. I remember times with her at the dinner table–having nothing to do with dinner–that I still treasure. Halfway through my Junior year in high school, I moved to Colorado to live with my Mom and her husband–mainly to see if it was any better there. This is not the “dinner table’ upbringing I am recommending and encouraging. But it is the one I want for your children and grandchildren. Yes, grandparents get to participate, too. Let’s talk more about the dinner table.
In schools, doesn’t it all start with parental involvement? Time after time we hear that the parents of low performing students are the ones who do not show up for the parent -teacher meetings. In homes where the importance of getting a good education is modeled and stressed, that’s the direction the kids go in. Conversely, in homes where being taken care of by others is modeled and stressed, that’s the direction the offspring most often take.
The dinner table works. For example, successful political, acting and sports families, often produce equally–or more–successful children. Archie Manning had a good college and NFL career as a quarterback. You may not have heard of him, but you have likely heard of two of his sons, Peyton Manning and Archie Manning. Kirk Douglas was a movie star, as are his sons and grandsons. Anglina Jolie’s father is Jon Vought, and Drew Barrymore is a member of the Barrymore family of actors, and the granddaughter of acting immortal John Barrymore. And we all know about political families like the Kennedys and the Bushes.
Closer to home, one of my friends and former business colleagues is a highly skilled personal investor, using skills and disciplines that he learned at, you guessed it, the dinner table. He has built an enviable financial life by putting those dinner table skills to use.
Today’s Key Point: What your children–what other children–learn at home through modeling and discussion will help shape their entire lives. For good or for ill. Your choice. And silence–no conversations–is also teaching and modeling. It goes on when they are listening and absorbing. It happens when they appear distant and distracted. And, yes, your kids are absorbing everything even when they are openly unreceptive and defiant.
Yes, it takes a village, but parents are the main hut in that village. The village is there to support the parents and grandparents in their good work–not to substitute for parenting. Teachers, law enforcement and community services are all part of the village’s support system for the parents. If parents abdicate–don’t step up to–their responsibility, the best the village can do is try to pick up the pieces.
The home is a place where it is clear–absolutely no disagreement–that personal responsibility, not government, is where everything must start. As our children grow, government services, e.g., schools and law enforcement, will play an increasing role in educating and discipling our kids, but we parents are still the prime movers. We are still the ones with the responsibility. These services play a vital role in, for example, education or discipline in giving a young driver an expensive speeding ticket. And we welcome them as valued partners.
But it all starts at home.
Segueing from the specifics of today’s topic to overall principles, the core, driving principles at Revolution 2.0, are:
And do it all in love; without love, these are empty gestures, destined to go nowhere and mean nothing.
If we apply those two core principles, personal responsibility and brother’s keepers, simultaneously, never only one or the other, we will always be on the right path. Depending upon what we face, one principle or the other may appropriately be given more emphasis, but they are always acted upon together.
The Founders, Revolution 1.0, were declared traitors by the British Crown, and their lives were forfeit if caught. We risk very little by stepping up and participating in Revolution 2.0™. In fact, we risk our futures if we don’t. I am inviting you, recruiting you, to join Revolution 2.0™ today. Join with me in using what we know how to do–what we know we must do–to everyone’s advantage. Let’s practice thinking well of others as we seek common goals, research the facts that apply to those goals, and use non agenda-based reasoning to achieve those goals together. Practice personal responsibility and be your brother’s keeper.
Let’s continue to build on the revolutionary vision that we inherited. Read the blog, listen to the podcast, subscribe, recruit, act. Here’s what I mean by “acting.”
Revolution 1.0 in 1776 was built by people talking to other people, agreeing and disagreeing, but always finding ways to stay united and going forward. Revolution 2.0 will be built the same way.
Join me. Join the others. Think about what we are talking about and share these thoughts and principles with others. Subscribe, encourage others to subscribe. Act. Let’s grow this together.
And visit the store. Fun stuff, including hats, mugs and t-shirts. Recommend other items that you’d like to see.
Links and References
As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the blog with comments or questions about this podcast or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. And you can subscribe to the podcast on your favorite device through Apple Podcasts, Google, or Stitcher.
Now it is time for our usual parting thought. It is not enough to be informed. It is not enough to be a well informed voter. We need to act. And if we, you and I, don’t do something, then the others who are doing something, will continue to run the show.
Know your stuff, then act on it. Knowing your stuff without acting is empty; acting without knowing is dangerous.
Will Luden, writing to you from my home office at 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.