Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Value of the Word "No"


Unless you live in a cave, you have no doubt heard of the latest travails of Brittany Spears. The media will not let you miss it. Now, it would appear, she has lost visitation rights to her own children. She is a sad example of what this essay is about.

It is not about Brittany alone however.

She is but one of many celebrities who do not seem to understand that the rules also apply to them. She and others, such as many pro athletes, music makers, stars and starlets, some politicians, and any of that ilk who have been seriously misled by their own upbringing. Many of these people have been cheated by their parents. They are often led to believe that they are special because of some perceived talent, good looks, or possibly just their parental heritage or family name. Many are raised by sycophant nannies who never utter the word “no”. They wouldn’t dare.

Consider the young person who excels in certain sports at a very early age. People, often with ulterior motives, promote this youngster. They tell him he is without peer. They tell him he is going to be rich beyond his wildest dreams. They tell him he can do no wrong. Often his parents are in on it because they see their own futures rolling in money. They are all cheating this youngster out of the value of the word “no”.

Then there are the children who, through no fault or effort of their own, are born with striking good looks. You have known some. They are always given the spotlight. They are the center of attention. Teachers favor them in school. Bosses promote them. They often become successful in certain aspects of life but a closer examination reveals what is often called an empty suit. Eventually the truth of their total lack of substance comes out and they are left with nothing but a life in politics. Did I say that? I guess I did.

Parents, you have a big role here. You are not doing your children any favors by refusing to let them take responsibility for their actions. I have talked to teachers who say that to reprimand a student for bad behavior often brings rebuke from that student’s parents. After a while they say it is just not worth it. Judicial system, you are not doing law breakers any favors by granting soft sentences or alternate punishment for violations. The offenders quickly get the message that crime often does pay or at least doesn’t cost. They are cheated out of the opportunity to learn the right lesson.

I believe the only way we are going to get a handle on the situation facing us today is to start at the beginning. Children must be made aware of the fact that for certain offenses certain and sure punishment ensues. Reward is also important. Young people should be encouraged for the good they do.

The word “NO” is one of the most important words in our language. Sometimes it is harsh. Rarely is it welcome. It is, however, vital to the upbringing of children.

There are always going to be people who excel in some areas of life. Some in sports, some in intelligence, and yes some in good looks. That’s life. What becomes increasingly important is that when these children are being trained for the life to come they must hear and understand the word “no”. Whether they hear it from their parents or not, they will surely, at some point, hear it from society. Brittany Spears just heard the word “no” from society.

Ron Scarbro January 2008


Heather said...

Well now. I think you've got it!

As your daughter, I know first hand how comfortable you are in using this word "no". I know as a parent how difficult it can be. I also know that you as a grandparent find it more fun to say yes and let us deal with the outcome. LOL

The important note here is that I do say no. I understand the critical importance and long term gain. My kids could have heard it more often than they did and do hear it more often than they like, but they are great kids and they are your legacy.

God Bless. Thanks. Love, Heather

Erik said...

I was so moved by your blog, that I've now taken a fine point permanent marker and written the word, "NO" on each and every one of my bullets. After all, I don't want to cheat the sonnofabitch out of his opportunity to learn... however brief it may be.