I have never written to a paper nor commented on articles, as much as I have thought about it. I have been an avid reader of New Times since moving back to my hometown 11 years ago. Although the rag leans to the right, it does a decent job of showing both sides.
Since my Thanksgiving afternoon was somewhat ruined, I felt the need to finally complain about people. Not just any people—the people that take no responsibility for their actions, the we-are-equal, everyone-gets-a-trophy, I-don’t-discipline-my-kid, and what’s-yours-should-also-be-mine type of people.
I purposely live in Atascadero so that I don’t have to deal with neighbors. I DON’T LIKE NEIGHBORS. If I did, SLO would be a perfect place for me. Now mind you, I’m not old by any means. I have an 11-year-old daughter and consider myself somewhat up-to-date on what’s going on in the world. Recently, I took a step back and looked around and wondered, “What the hell has happened to people?” They have no concept of their surroundings, they are rude, and most of all live in a ME, ME, ME world. I still hold doors open (not only for women but for anyone close). I say please and thank you when ordering food and have tried to instill the same in our daughter. MANNERS, plain and simple. RESPECT, for other people and their property. DISCIPLINE, not only for myself, but for my daughter (I was raised with it, and so will she).
My reasoning for this rant is as my family and I came home around noon from the South County Turkey Trot 5K, my wife heard some commotion coming from just over the knoll. I ran up to see what was going on: There stood approximately five young kids, ages 4 to 11, and one grown man in his late 20s to early 30s. The kids were throwing rocks and using fallen oak branches like baseball bats, hitting an old convertible sitting on the property (there are some old cars on the property not seen from the road, only accessible by hiking in). As I began interrogating them on their reasoning for such vandalism and stupidity, I was dumbfounded by their response—not only by the 11-year-old boy shaking in his shoes, but by the adult who allowed such ignorance to take place. The adult stated, “We thought they were abandoned.” He then proceeded, “The property wasn’t fenced.”
Astounded by their lack of remorse for damaging someone’s personal property, I could not believe there was actually an adult with them allowing this to happen. Who in their right mind thinks it’s OK to walk around on private property and proceed to vandalize that property, regardless of what condition the property was in? Bottom line: It’s not yours; don’t touch it.
In my experience, I have found that it’s the parents who have taught their kids that there are no consequences for their actions. In addition, it’s the parents who don’t keep score in youth sports and everybody gets a trophy. Furthermore, it’s the parents who count to three and never follow through except for a stern warning. Finally, their political view of redistribution of wealth is correct (now that’s a whole different debate, had to get a little political jab in there, LOL!).
I’m sorry to have to be the one to tell these parents, but NOT ALL KIDS ARE EQUAL! Not all make the team as they get older, not all get the job promotion, not all get to move up the corporate ladder and become boss. These parents need to teach their children that the world can be a big, scary place. Also that your best isn’t always good enough. Most important of all, if you f@#$% with the wrong person’s belongings, in the wrong place, you could get hurt—or worse yet, shot.
So I ask myself: What are parents teaching their kids? Or, better yet, NOT teaching their kids this day and age? Obviously they are not teaching them respect, morals, discipline, etc. So why do I have to teach it to their kids? Why do I have to fence myself in? Why are parents so afraid to discipline their kids?
There is a silver lining to this story. After the confrontation, after making sure my visiting neighbors found their way back off of my property, my daughter approached my wife and me with, “If I would have done something like that, my rear-end would’ve been red and I would’ve been grounded for weeks, wouldn’t I?” She then proceeded, “I would’ve had to apologize to the property owner, write a letter, or pay for the damage, huh?” We firmly answered, “YES AND YES!” So to sum it all up, maybe, just maybe, there is hope for the future generations?
Travis Kenney lives in Atascadero. Send comments to the executive editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.