It's no surprise to anyone that I adore living in the South. You smile to everyone you pass on the roads. You can ask almost any person you walk by for comfort food recipes. "God bless you" is heard in the grocery stores, gas stations, pretty much anywhere. You can start up conversation with anyone while waiting in line and the older country folk have wisdom of a lifetime they love to share.
Every morning, I go downstairs and the first thing I do is open the blinds. Trees, grass and songbirds are my "good morning," every morning - every season. I'm sure Cris, my husband, has heard more than enough of "Dear God, I love North Carolina" but I do hope he takes pride in the fact that he's the first reason I came.
There is one thing that I noticed soon after moving here... and that's the work ethic in the people born and raised here. There are a lot of construction workers here that seem to be very "on the job." Home Depot and Lowes is always full of people hauling materials for their jobs - and on a side note, lots of cowboy types tipping their hats to the ladies, which I just love the see. But it seems that work ethic is pushed into minds in the teens. Every summer, I see teenagers mowing lawns and doing all sorts of work around the home for their neighbors. Thirteen year olds are cleaning gutters, raking leaves, trimming trees. It's an amazing thing to see in America's young guys! These are the kids that will grow to be men - something you don't see so very often. These guys will be able to raise a family and take care of their wives and children. I can't help but smile every time I see them, so busy in their labor and not at all bothered or ashamed by what they're doing. They're helping their neighbor, they're getting paid and getting experience that they will no doubt use in their future.
These days, kids are babied. Their self-esteem is babied. No one is wrong anymore. No one is last anymore. No child feels the sting of losing a game because "we're all winners," right? I feel like that's such a big problem these days. Babying every aspect of a child is sheltering that child. Teens are too sensitive now. Adults are too sensitive now. Everyone just wants to "follow their dream" and expects that dream to leap into their arms. That's not how life works. Life is work. It's labor. It's focus. It's time and sacrifice and not always getting what you want.
Kids here in the South are taught to respect authority and respect their elders. Teens here offer to help anyone who seems like they need it. Strangers will stop on the road to help you with your flat tire.
Where do you think this type of behavior starts? At home! I wish, I wish, I wish parents would realize that it's at home that our children are developing their behavior - not at school. In most schools today, the teachers are not teaching them how to respect, they're teaching them academics. As parents, it's our job - OUR job - to instill these things in our children.
Why are there so many kids talking back? Why are there so many kids calling their parents "stupid?" Why are there so many 20-something-years-olds out of work, out of school and out wasting their lives and their parents money away? They're too busy playing video games or dreaming their lives away to actually make a life for themselves, aren't they?
Where did they learn this behavior?