May 18, 2007
Dinner defines dysfunctional
BY BRIAN VEDDER OPINION
stating that the father especially was obvious- ly ignorant towards what a well-structured family should act like, and that he lacked basic parenting skills. It almost sounded to me like she was trying to make excuses for the family and shrug off the severity of the parents’ mistakes. She pointed to the fact that the parents were probably brought up the same way and that neither of them knew any better.
Recently, I went out to dinner at Jumpin’ Jacks with my parents, and while we were eating, we noticed a loud father and his two sons sitting at a table behind us, waiting for their mother to come back with the food. The two boys were probably around age 6 and 15, and were both wearing very tattered and dirty clothes, as was their father.
The boys were obviously restless, as they kept jumping around, and were very rough with each other. While this was going on, the father was continually cursing at his sons, telling them to stop, making jokes about their mother and acting as a generally terrible role model. The younger boy sud- denly jumped on the bench of the table, and then proceeded to deliberately fall off of it and yell in pain. The father then stood up, walked over to the son, grabbed his shoulders and hoisted him off of the ground. The father held on to his son’s shoulders and began to pinch them with his entire hand, telling the kid to stop being so childish. The kid yelped out in pain and swore he’d stop running around. Minutes later, the son again started to run around and in response, the father began to physically threaten his son. Soon enough the son began to echo the curses of the father.
I understood what she was trying to say, but I still could not grasp the idea that two human beings could go through life without
Also within earshot were a trio of teenagers, two boys and a girl, who were walking away from the family, and one made an intenti- noally audible comment on how the family was “white trash.” The father then began to shout back, making full use of his arsenal of derogatory words for homosexuals, just as one of his sons commented sarcastically on one of the teenager’s appearence. When the teen turned towards the family, the father yelled at him, telling him to “come over here” and “fight him like a man.”
The mother then made her debut in this scene of sorts, literally carrying four cheese- burgers, three fries, three drinks, a fish fry, onion rings, ketchup and napkins on one tray. Neither the father nor the sons made the slightest attempt to help her.
While this scene was unfolding before my eyes, I expressed my anger and disgust to my mom, asking her how any family unit could possibly operate under such conditions.
She employed common sense to help me understand the dynamics of the situation,
noticing the dramatic differences between their parenting styles and those of other parents they are sure to have come across at one time or another. Why do they fail to rec- ognize that what they’re doing is wrong, and that their kids will turn out just like them?
As a detached observer, I am able to con- sciously recognize the differences between me and that father at Jumping Jacks. But the very basics of parenting seem to escape this man’s mind, with even the most basic instinctual childcare tactics seemingly lost to him. This dad doesn’t even seem to care that these outrageous characteristics are going to be learned by his sons, or that the cycle will undoubtedly be repeated for gen- erations to come.
The utter lack of intellegince displayed by these men truly struck me, and they seemed to have no idea that society was literally look- ing down upon them, shaking their heads in disbelief. Once again, take my opinions with a grain of salt, but seeing a family without any morals at all blows my mind and makes
me wonder what these people could possibly be thinking.
The father expressed several different as- pects of horrible behavior that the kids have no doubt already began to pick up on. Looking at how the father told a boy who was maybe 16 years old, to come over and “fight him like a man” is completely outrageous. How could a man possibly have any self-respect, knowing that he would willingly beat up a kid who was a quarter of his age and half his height? Then there’s the situation of him calling this kid a “faggot,” creating a horrible
image of gay people as a whole, as well as making it sound like this kid somehow gave off the image that he was gay, which he didn’t. This man literally was just throwing out insults to sound intimidating, barely even knowing what the word actually meant, not knowing how stupid he was sounding. He was giving off this image to his children, and to the little one especially, horrible vocabulary to use in everyday situations. These children never stood a chance at creating a functional family, nor having the intellec- tual capacity to see how messed up they really are. The last thing that really made me grind my teeth involved the mother. One characteristic of the mother was that she was winningly treating the husband like he was her ruler, waiting in line alone, bringing him food and allowing him to basically raise their children. The father was continually making fun of her, diminishing any respect that the children had for her and literally making them believe that they were above her and that she was there to serve them. With a family who is beyond help, the mom is just so helpless in this situation. Even if she wanted to fix her family, the father has demeaned her authority to almost nothing. I truly believe that what he’s teaching his kids reflects what he believes. The absolute worst thing about this entire situation is that the kids looked upon their father with such an awe of respect and adoration that the children have no chance to become functional adults and will inevitably pass these horrible traits onto their children.
ALL OPINIONS expressed on the op-ed pages represent the individual viewpoints of their authors. The content does not
arr o ,thehighschool,
the school district, or the Board of Education.