People who admire families with well-behaved, happy children…

… but who don’t like finding out why they’re so well behaved.

At The Thinking Housewife, Terry Morris speaks of how he and his wife are frequently told by strangers, “I just wanted to tell you that your kids are the most well-behaved kids I’ve ever seen.” He continues:

We, or more precisely my wife, once had a woman approach her in a local restaurant to say exactly that. She further explained that she was a retired public school teacher, and was curious about where they attend school. When my wife replied that they are homeschooled, the woman’s demeanour changed dramatically, and instantly. Noticing her disappointment at learning this information, I blurted out, “Which is the main reason they’re so well behaved.” She returned a sarcastic smile, mumbled something unintelligible, and turned and walked out of the restaurant, her husband in tow, and me saying, “Pardon. I didn’t catch what you said.”

That anecdote reads like a scene from a traditionalist Atlas Shrugged, if someone were to write it.

In the ensuing discussion at TTH, there is agreement that “vertical socialization is the key” to raising well-behaved, happy children, and male authority.

- end of initial entry -

Terry Morris writes:

No kidding, the other day, after reading that you were planning to write an essay critiquing Atlas Shrugged, I drafted an e-mail to you suggesting, tongue-in-cheek, that you write a traditionalist version of that book. But I decided not to bother you with the idea.

The irony in these stories of strangers approaching my wife and sometimes me with such encouraging words is, as noted in the entry title here at VFR, their pronouncement of surprise that children can both be well-behaved AND happy. When, in fact, good behavior in children generally indicates internal happiness. Whereas bad behavior in children (when it is habitual) generally indicates internal turmoil and emotional instability.

LA replies:

“I drafted an e-mail to you suggesting, tongue-in-cheek, that you write a traditionalist version of that book.”

Perhaps you thought of such a book, because you are actually living it.

Harry S. writes:

I am a butcher by trade with two sons and 12 grandchildren. My younger son, 34, a plumber, and his wife, 30, have recently had their seventh child A constant refrain over the years by those observing their children is to marvel at how well-behaved they all are. In church with them on occasion (I attend elsewhere regularly), I am consistently informed as to how impressed everyone is with the sterling behavior of their children. They mean it kindly, of course, but I also get the feeling that they are nonplussed over this remarkable phenomenon.

My son has for some time grown somewhat jaded over the constancy of these reports. But as their grandfather I remain gratified, though myself somewhat perplexed as to how it can be that sound Christian people can find this occurrence so anomalous.

I think the answer is “It’s the American ethos, stupid.” I often make the absolutist statement that I NEVER (excepting my grandchildren—please forgive the self-serving nature of my parenthesis) observe today’s parents exercising obvious control over their children. If my expostulation is not absolutely fair it cannot be far off.

This veritable quantum-like conundrum as to the “how—why” of the children’s behavior not long ago was simple arithmetic for virtually all of us butchers and plumbers:

(1) They are all home-schooled (though a more recent development).
(2) Discipline is uniformly and consistently applied.
(3) The home environment is safe, stable, and loving.
(4) The home is Christ-centered and biblically informed.
(5) The Church is honored and cherished.

This, my friends, is a brief sketch. But I think it is a manifestly sufficient answer to the grand query as to “HOW.”

LA replies:

Wonderful comment. Thank you.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 07, 2012 10:02 AM | Send

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