November 19, 2012

Remember Who You Are

Four words my father always said as I walked out the door: Remember who you are.

Behind those words were years of pre-peer lessons taught with heaps of praise and parcels of punishment. I knew exactly what he meant -- honesty, loyalty and the self-worth that comes from earning others' respect. Note, not a word about self-esteem.

Nobody cared about kids' self-esteem in the maligned '50s and overrated '60s. They cared about kids' behavior and manners. "Sir" was every dad's name.

A call home from a teacher put an arctic chill in your bones. If you cheated, used profanity or used drugs, fergitaboutit. You might as well tattoo your forehead with an inky T -- traitor.


"Remember who you are" meant you were somebody -- a person loved, cared about, invested in. You were a repository of great expectations for people you didn't want to disappoint.

Peers were other people you liked and whose admiration you sought, but who ultimately had less power -- and skinnier belts -- than the folks back home.

If peers make the difference in today's culture, as Harris contends, there's a reason for it. It's not that parents "count zilch"; they've simply sacrificed their roles to their children's peers. Parents still count zillions, but first you have to be a parent. 
                                          ~Author Unknown; 
                                            this originally appeared in the Telegram & Gazette, Worcester, MA
                                            sometime in the '80s. I still have the original version I cut out of the
                                            paper, way back when. 

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November 19, 2012                                      


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