Thursday, February 23, 2012
Master Calvin was fussing and Princess Dragon Snack was crying. Obviously, they needed some adult intervention, so I called them both downstairs, determined to get to the bottom of their squabble. With tears streaming down her face, Princess Dragon Snack told a tale of woe. Master Calvin had kicked her - and he meant to do it! Master Calvin was emphatically denying the charges leveled against him, claiming that Princess Dragon Snack had gotten kicked as she was trying to drag him out of her "Hugglepod". Concerned that Princess Dragon Snack was not being kind and sharing with her brother, I asked for more clarification. I was informed that Dragon Snack had been reading contentedly in her Hugglepod and, having finished her book, slipped out for a moment to retrieve another. Master Calvin, seeing a moment of opportunity, commandeered the Hugglepod and resolutely refused to acquiesce his position. It digressed from there. Dragon Snack started yelling, Master Calvin became defensive and now the perpetrators were on trial in the living room.
Wanting nothing more than a quiet afternoon, my first thought was to require Princess Dragon Snack to give up her cozy spot and enforce mandated sharing. And then, it hit me - in doing so, I would be grooming future Socialists to take what they wanted by force and coercion. They would have no concept of personal property rights and would view all property as something to take at will or expect to be granted rights to just because they wanted it. This, I could not have.
Personal property rights begin the moment someone has something to call their own. They are the owner of it, the person responsible for its care and maintenance. While sharing is an admirable character quality it cannot be forced. People (even little people) have to choose how they want to share and with whom. If I forced Miss Calamity (12) to share her water color painting supplies with Master Calvin (4) she wouldn't have usable supplies for very long. Master Calvin would pour water over them, ruin the brushes and generally wreak havoc. Due to the fact that Miss Calamity owns her water color supplies, she has to have the final say as to who she will share with and when. If we don't guard her personal property rights, she will be left with little or nothing of value. And it wouldn't just be her that was affected, it would be our whole family. No longer would she paint beautiful pictures or spend afternoons teaching her little siblings the finer points of water colors. No longer could she carry her paints to the woods and study the world around her by painting it. The simple act of not guarding her personal property rights would send ripples of untold consequences.
Yet another consequence emerges from not enforcing or encouraging property rights. When children know that their things are not really their own, they will cease to take care of them. Why should they? They don't have any real authority over them and the energy used to care for them would be counterproductive.
This is the world in which we live. We have trained our children to "share" (whether it is appropriate or not) and can't figure out why our society is hallmarked by an "entitlement mentality". It begins with "we the parents". It is essential that we teach our children the importance of personal property and the rewards of working for and earning our property. As parents, it is our somber duty to guard our children's personal property rights, just as our government has been charged with ensuring ours. We are the very foundation of the free world.
After considerable deliberation, I rendered my decision in the Princess Dragon Snack vs. Master Calvin case. I ruled for Princess Dragon Snack. I encouraged her to invite her brother to use her Hugglepod when she was finished with it (provided that he wasn't fussing or crying at her about it) and I instructed him to find something else to play. Confident that her personal property rights were completely intact, Princess Dragon Snack chose to invite her brother into her Hugglepod with her and they spent the afternoon reading together happily. Case dismissed.
I don't want to raise Socialists. I want to raise contented children who strive to make their own way in the world and respect the rights of others in the process. I want them to take responsibility for themselves and care for others as they would like to be cared for.
We are not a collective. God made man to be individual. We come to Him on a personal level, one by one. We cannot stand before the throne of God and use someone else's salvation. This is something Socialists do not understand.
When we encourage everything in our children's lives to be communal, we are setting them up for failure. We are stealing their ability for happiness and contentment. We are stealing their joy. We are raising Socialists.