Tags: For | God's | Sake | Just | Say

For God's Sake, Just Say No

Tuesday, 06 December 2005 12:00 AM

One of my sons had a conversation with his pastor recently. The priest, who has among his other duties the job of overseeing a large parochial school, was not a happy camper and what he told my son was not designed to make anyone disturbed over current trends of child rearing happy either.

The priest all but threw up his hands in frustration over the failure of parents to act like parents. Instead, he noted, they prefer to be their offspring's best buddies. And the end result is a reversal of roles: The kids end up more or less in charge since Mom and Dad are afraid to offend the little darlings less they create unrest in the bosom of the family and upset the apparent balance of power.

To put it simply, in that kind of atmosphere, just about anything goes – and does. In addition to getting their driver's licenses – and often cars – before they are sufficiently mature to operate a motor vehicle responsibly, they also end up with what amounts to sexual license. After all, they're going to do it anyway, etc., etc. One has to adjust to the demands of the times.

There is a commercial now running on TV that depicts a father who is confronted by his teenage daughter, who asks for $80. She wants a certain pair of jeans because "all her friends have them." Does Dad turn her down? Of course not – that would be cruel and unusual punishment. Instead, after hearing that all her friends have these $80 jeans, he goes to his computer to check out the manufacturer and learn whether the maker of such popular jeans might be a good investment.

And he reaches into his pocket and hands his daughter the requested 80 bucks to be spent on what were once known as a pair of work pants worn on blue collar work sites. That was of course before the designers got their hands on them and turned them into pricey fashion items they could sucker spoiled kids into believing are necessary to preserve their essential self-esteem.

Every time I see this commercial, I want to run out of the room screaming. In the few seconds it takes for this drama to play out I have been exposed to one of the great tragedies of our age – the dominance of child over parent, of the girl's need to conform to the current fashion regardless of the expense involved trumping her need to be taught the stern realities of life.

How could Dad possibly fail to recognize his daughter's absolute need to be fashionable? Were he to say no, she might well be cast out of her circle of expensively enjeaned friends and suffer severe emotional and psychological damage. Giving her the money was the easy way out. And besides, it made Dad feel good. What a pal Dad is.

What's worse, his response to what any normal, sane parent would reject out of hand is shown to be perfectly natural. She wants $80 for a pair of $10 work pants hiked up with a designer label not because she

How could he say no? What is he, some kind of heartless tyrant?

Remember that old slogan "Just say no"?

We are told that God always answers prayers, but that sometimes even He says "no."

It's "no" because in His wisdom the Lord knows what is good for our spiritual and material welfare, and when we ask for what He knows will be harmful to us, like a wise and good parent, God says no.

Saying no to Little Miss Perfect, along with teaching a little lesson about the value of money in a world where there are millions of people who don't earn anything like $80 for a month's hard labor, is an opportunity no good parent should want to miss. In a sane world the response of a father asked for that kind of money to buy a pair of jeans would be something like "What are you, nuts? If you're stupid enough to want to splurge $80 just to be in fashion, go get a job and earn the money."

The problem is that there are damned few good parents saying no nowadays. When it comes to satisfying their offspring's wants and desires, anything goes. That's the easy way out. It avoids dissension and temporarily tamps down the fires of rebellion simmering just below the surface in most teenagers convinced that their parents are idiots incapable of appreciating the realities of the times. Parents are to be tolerated, you know, like acne and homework. Tolerated, but never respected. Who respects wimps?

Mom and Dad respond by proving that they are indeed the idiots their children believe them to be. Instead of providing the discipline their children desperately need, and secretly crave, they grovel. And when Little Miss Perfect takes advantage of the license to do whatever she wants goes haywire, gets addicted to drugs or gets pregnant or is stricken with a sexually transmitted disease, they wonder how it could be. After all, Little Miss Perfect never lacked for a thing. She got everything she ever wanted.

It never occurs to Mom and Dad that that's why it all turned out the way it did. Little Miss Perfect got everything she wanted except that which she needed most: parental discipline.

Phil Brennan is a veteran journalist who writes for NewsMax.com. He is editor & publisher of Wednesday on the Web (http://www.pvbr.com) and was Washington columnist for National Review magazine in the 1960s. He also served as a staff aide for the House Republican Policy Committee and helped handle the Washington public relations operation for the Alaska Statehood Committee which won statehood for Alaska. He is also a trustee of the Lincoln Heritage Institute and a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers.

He can be reached at


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One of my sons had a conversation with his pastor recently. The priest, who has among his other duties the job of overseeing a large parochial school, was not a happy camper and what he told my son was not designed to make anyone disturbed over current trends of child...
Tuesday, 06 December 2005 12:00 AM
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