Posted November 29, 2002 - 10:10 AM
Posted November 30, 2002 - 10:18 AM
Thank you for your misguided concern, but I will raise my sons in a land of freedom and SELF responsibility. It takes incredible arrogance to pretend to care more for my children's well-being and upbringing than their mother and I do. We live our lives as a FAMILY, not a "village".
No two people are alike. Even brothers. I know what each of my sons can and can't handle. I give them the freedom to choose, but I also restrict their activities according to MY evaluation of their individual abilities and maturity. I have no doubt that you would also object to the fact that my sons hunt with me, too. Yes, they own their own firearms. They also know more about firearms safety, and practice it, than most adults.
Like everything in life, even for people like yourself and their children, there WILL come a day when your offspring has to know what decision to make on their own. When they encounter their first firearm without an adult being present, which child has the better chance of surviving: one educated thoroughly and for whom it is not a "forbidden fruit" and who's familiarity has bred the utmost respect for this tool, or the curious and inexperienced one?
Motor vehicles are no different. Which child is safer in or on a vehicle with the keys in the ignition? Responsibility cannot be "legislated and regulated" despite your wildest dreams. You can only punish the lack of it after the fact. It must be TAUGHT and LEARNED from the earliest possible age.
I heard the same "concerns" from my neighbor when my oldest son, now 9, began his motocross racing "career" four years ago. Never mind that I spent far more on his safety equipment than his bike AND enforced its use. Never mind that I ride with and teach my sons firsthand. Never mind that this same (wealthy) neighbor buys her sons dirtbikes, atv's, go carts, etc.: but no helmets, or at least never makes their riding strictly conditional upon their use. Never mind that they ride alone and learn things the hard way if at all. None of that mattered.
What mattered to her was the fact that my sons compete in organized and supervised competition. To her, and you, "I" am the one who is going to get his sons hurt. Yet in between the times HER sons have spent with broken limbs from soccer and basketball, they have come to MY house to learn with my sons how to be safe on their motorized vehicles and have real fun. None of these boys has ever sustained a serious injury while riding ( defined as requiring medical attention ).
My oldest son has many hundred races and several times more practice sessions under his belt. Does he ever wreck? You bet. And hard! But he has no more interest in riding ANY bike without his protective gear than he does in playing with Barbie dolls...or guns. He takes his riding and fun and safety very seriously. He knows it works. He also knows his limitations and how to properly and safely eliminate those limitations through instruction and practice and determination. He carries this awareness and attitude with him in every endeavor whether it be on a dirtbike or off. It shows in school, in Cub Scouts, in his social and family life and will always be a source of inner strength, confidence, and character. His younger brother is learning the same things at his own pace and in his own way.
They have both seen people hurt. Not just on motorcycles. At school. Baseball. Football. Soccer. Traffic accidents. Bicycles. Horses. Stairs.Swingsets...Most injuries are not a result of the activity, but of unpreparedness and lack of awareness. No one knows more than a dirt bike rider how important proper gear and its use and adequate practice and training is.
Nothing worthwhile comes easy. No one is "born" to greatness. Quitters never win. No one always wins. Everything has a cost. Misjudgements can cost you dearly and can no more be "taken back" than a bullet exiting the muzzle, so think first! Big victories are the result of many little victories on the practice track. Life is not a team sport, so set your individual goals and standards accordingly. Be yourself, not what someone else thinks you should be, or you will never respect yourself.
These are the ways my wife and I have "endangered" our sons? These are just a few of the qualities my sons have deeply ingrained into them. They are not the cliche's people like yourself give lip-service to or feel you can "legislate". They were truly and indelibly learned as fact on the motocross track, in the woods and fields, and in our home.
You are welcome to your opinions and lifestyle and values. Don't even think of imposing them upon us. What are you teaching kids by doing that? Perhaps you should legislate against people like yourself...Wait, that won't be necessary...the Constitution of the United States already did...
Posted December 01, 2002 - 04:02 PM
I knew we could count on you. Good letter. Right on the money, my friend. Are we the only ones who understand what personal responsibility means? Is our whole society nuts over this concept that total strangers should be able to legally force us to raise our kids the way THEY see fit? Sounds suspiciously Hillary Clinton-esque to me, LOL!
Posted December 01, 2002 - 07:31 PM