Tough Love by Dr. Karma

*Sorry, but after two weeks of construction work, I find that TYPING is too tiring. I barely got through the post on Mad Genius and it probably makes no sense whatsoever. So I should probably take a day off, or at least a few hours, and do something non-demanding, like crochet.  That way I’ll be better and able to write tomorrow.  And FYI, I’m too old for construction work.  So I have to write a million or so books, so I can pay someone to do this stuff for me. – SAH)

Tough Love by Dr. Karma

So I watching this TV movie on TNT years ago, because my parents and aunt were, and it hooked me after only a couple minutes. I would’ve been inspired if I hadn’t kinda already made the decision to head down a similar road a couple years ago. This is what it’s all about. Not coddling and excusing the behaviors of kids but toughening them up, teaching them what they’re made of.

People often complain that libertarians and conservatives have no compassion. That we simply don’t care about the less fortunate. While I can’t speak for others, I do care. Thing is, in my admittedly short time on this earth, I’ve learned the difference between acting like you care and actually caring. The dichotomy is something I’ve seen in relatives, friends, teachers, mentors…basically anyone in a position to affect the long-term behavior of anyone else in a meaningful way.

In practice, it’s quite easy to tell the two apart. One type defines caring in terms of what they themselves do. “I did [blank] for them.” Or “I gave them [blank].” The other kind of person defines it in terms of what they get others to do. The most important people in my life have always been of the latter type. In one or two cases, it took me several years to realize just how important they were.

Which doesn’t change the fact that without them, I would not have taken the path I did. I would never have known what it was like to break your own trail, to clamber over the obstacles in my way, to find the meaning of what strength is. Without them, I would have trudged down an easier path, worn smooth by the countless number of feet that passed before mine, and I would be lesser for it.

As steel must be forged in the hottest of fires, so too must the human spirit. And while there is a danger that one can go too far, becoming as brittle as the hull of the Titanic, in my eyes the far greater menace comes from not being exposed to the inferno in the first place.

We accept that the immune system is strengthened by exposure to pathogens, that muscles only grow when stressed to their limit, that without gravity, bones do not grow strong. But far too many of us deny the importance of being pushed to one’s limits when it comes to personal growth.

The key to a child’s success is not their diversity training, their self esteem, or their ability to use large words. It isn’t in making them ‘feel loved’, or in the clothes they wear. It isn’t in being passed along to get a meaningless high school diploma. It won’t be found in a four year degree either. People will only realize their potential when their success is contingent upon their own efforts.

Perhaps my biggest problem with leftist thought when it comes to this issue is that it is a mindset that consists of nothing but excuses. Why one ethnic minority can’t match the success of others. Why one sex hasn’t achieved what the other has in various pursuits. Why children of the poor are unable to achieve what the offspring of wealthier people are able to. And, as in all things, some of these arguments have merit, whereas others hold so little water as to remind me of my youth in the Dust Bowl.

The best of these are nothing more than extenuating circumstances. They explain why some people haven’t accomplished what they are capable of yet. And while they’re somewhat valid in that context, they do nothing to contraindicate the future success of these people.

Yet what the Left tends to focus on isn’t the fact that these people have unrealized potential, but rather the aforementioned extenuating circumstances. Social welfare now encompasses 43.5% of our budget. The ghetto? As large as ever to these admittedly cynical eyes. Affirmative action has before my very eyes grown to encompass some recent immigrant groups while ignoring others. Exclusionary politics and who hurt who are the rule of the day in their minds. And while righting wrongs is a noble pursuit, it does little to change what Maslow called self-actualization. While it’s a useful term, Maslow’s framework itself is exceedingly flawed. Many of the greatest figures in history never had the trappings of comfort and wealth; instead they succeeded because they were willing to push themselves. On the other hand, every one of us can point to many, many acquaintances who rather than being enabled by their wealth and comfort were instead hobbled by it.

Rather than getting their hands dirty as Mr. Clark and I do in our respective professions, they treat these symptoms, willfully turning attention away from the disease growing within. They reward people for their poor choices, they remove the sting of failure from the inability to realize one’s potential. They act like they care, but they never make the steps to actually better the lot in life of these people. They never show people what they’re capable of. And they never demand they do it.

They seek to spare us from the flames, and in doing so leave us as useless as a lump of raw pig iron.

** Dr. Karma is an attending physician at (information redacted). His many professional accomplishments include contributions to evolutionary biology and saving an untold number of kids from stupid adults and an even more stupid entrenched bureaucracy. His primary accomplishment remains convincing his coworkers that he’s a pediatric specialist rather than a hitman in a mere six months. He specializes in whatever he feels like that day, and his coworkers are too scared to point out that he’s ‘just a psychiatrist’. The kids get better just to get him to stop yelling, singing, dancing, or dressing up like batman. It works, so he’s good with it.


71 thoughts on “Tough Love by Dr. Karma

  1. Rest up Sarah. Everybody who works hard needs a break (and not in an arm or leg). 😀

  2. Sarah,
    I have never tried a blog simply because I am too lazy to do the hard work of keeping one up. Take your rest, recover and do what you need to do for yourself and for us.
    BTW, I like the Dr. Karma piece. He says nothing every successful parent doesn’t actually know. The most difficult lesson for a loving parent is to allow your child to fail so that they may grow and learn. That this is harder on the parent than the child, the child will never know until they have kids of their own.
    Definition of a successful parent: when your grown and married daughter calls you and says,” Daddy, Jake (grandson) did (whatever it was he did – not important) and I SOUNDED JUST LIKE YOOOUUUUUU!” Ah, success; I have “ruined” my child’s life.:D

      1. I, on the other hand, have not become my parents. This is something for which The Spouse is truly thankful.

  3. Consider the situation of climbing Mount Chocorua in New Hampshire (or any other mountain in the world for that matter) with your child. You can carry him all the way up, doing all his work for him. Sure, he’ll enjoy the view, for about 10 seconds, and then he’ll want to play his handheld game again, just like he did for the past 3 hours hauling him up the trail.

    Conversely, you can walk the trail with him, showing him you can do it, and having him learn he can do it too. Sure, you’ll have to stop frequently because he gets tired, or discouraged. You’ll hear complaints of, “I’m tired” or “It’s too far” and of course the ever present, “Are we there yet?” Yeah, you might have to give him a boost up some of the steep parts because he’s too short to reach the hand and foot holds. But when he gets to the top, he’ll realize he accomplished something himself. He’ll spend 10 minutes or more looking around. And he even might see the other peaks and ask, “Dad, can we do that one next week?” All you did was provide the guidance and encouragement.

    The Left always wants to give a man a fish. They get to feel good about it; and it guarantees the man will come back to them for more fish handouts, ensuring they get to continue to feel good about it. Which wouldn’t be so bad if they were doing the fishing themselves; but they prefer to steal our fish to give them away. Of course if they’re not around to hand out fish, the man’s going to go hungry that night. On the other hand, teach the man to fish, and he’ll not only feed himself; he’ll feel the satisfaction, the pride, of self reliance doing it himself.

    Not to mention stop bothering you for more fish.

      1. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, or play golf, or collect stamps, and with any luck you’ll never be bothered by him again….

        1. Haha! The blurb on the back of the original EverQuest box… “Buy this for a loved one only if you never want to speak with them again.”

    1. When a man is starving it may be wise to feed him before taking him out to learn how to fish. 😉

      No one is doing anyone a favor by keeping him from learning the skills necessary to take care of himself.

      1. Dropping people naked in the middle of a large trackless arctic desert is providing them naturopathic medical services. If you don’t want to provide people medical services, you want them to die.

        1. I have a list of people that I’d like to drop naked in the middle of that large trackless arctic desert. Hopefully that won’t offend the polar bears, arctic foxes, and snowy owls.

          1. If they are some of the same people who come to my mind I can only think that they would give the polar bears severe indigestion.

  4. One of my favorite hymns includes the verse, “When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie/ My grace all-sufficient shall be thy supply. The flames shall not hurt thee, I only design/ thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.” The speaker is G-d.

    I believe that we need a little of that refining, a little stress, a little effort to become the people we should be. Granted, I do wish that it came on a better schedule, but so goes it.

  5. Alas, the leftoids really don’t care what happens to their objects of “help”, as long as they keep voting for more and more leftoids.
    That voting leftoid causes more and more to “need” a hand up out, is a feature, not a bug.

    1. I’ve been watching that dynamic for decades. The ‘Foreign Aid’ that locks third world countries into a cycle of serial kleptocracies. The ‘poverty policies’ the destroy ambition. The ‘Affermative action’ that makes any minority success suspect. The environmentalism that damages the environment more than leaving it alone would.

      The world was better off with rampant Colonialism, Matifest Destiny twaddle, and so on.

        1. There has to be a desire to improve and succeed. I’ve heard about the Gurkha initiatives in doing things like the organic methane gas stoves and light sources, which result in great fertilizer, resulting in better crops…

          And there also has to be the ability to adapt. I recently overheard a woman yelling at someone “See this hair dryer? Nobody from Middle East make that! We came here ‘coz it’s not a shitty hellhole, is why we leave Iraq!” (And whatever else was said I am going to assume was in Iraqi.)

        1. Regional variation found in both — the question is both what is the average, and what is worst (and how widespread it is).

      1. And you must be sufficiently and properly grateful, and willing to show that gratitude in the approved manner.

    1. This here is another test. And it appears successful.
      (Explanation: Changed email address for WP and evidently WP forgot what I look like. Silly WP. It’s a change of address, not plastic surgery.)

        1. WordPress (from context, this is the one)
          With Prejudice
          Washington Post (although usually WaPo)
          White Privilege
          Waste Product
          White Phosphorus (Willie Pete)

            1. Aye. And I recall WP 5.1 DOS which one fellow insisted was a wonderful thing. He was surprised when I reasoned that it was the first and only word processor he ever used at the time. AppleWriter //e (with NO graphical interface!) had a more sane command set. And MS Word, at that time, seemed reasoned and sane by comparison. Ouch. I use LibreOffice now, but used AbiWord for some considerable time before that – when I need a word processor. Most of the time a text editor suffices.

  6. The kids get better just to get him to stop yelling, singing, dancing, or dressing up like batman.

    Good thing our kids aren’t going to you, you’d be stuck as Batman forever.

    1. A late and very lamented pediatric surgeon up here would occasionally dress up as a cow to celebrate a patient getting well enough to go home. Just one of the reasons they had his memorial service in an auditorium and the crowd still overflowed into several conference rooms and the lobby (closed-circuit TV provided.)

  7. Concerning many Democrats and default-Democrats (everyday people, not the politicians): they don’t want to help people: they want to *feel* like their helping people.
    Results don’t matter: intentions and feelings do. (A corollary is that when you differ from them on an issue, they think not only that you don’t want to help people–but also that you *feel* like (intentions) you don’t want to help others.

    1. Rules of Helping:
      Make sure they want the help.
      Make sure it’s helpful help.
      Helping is about them, not you.
      Invented after someone spent waaaaay too much time (and money) fixing matters after “help” from their children; I like it because #2 hits on an awful lot of the “I am going to do something, inform you it’s help, and expect to be treated like a god even though it’s something you didn’t want done, done in a way that made a lot more work than just doing it yourself would’ve required, and you destroyed my stuff in doing it.”

      1. We used to dread youth work teams. We would typically have to show the youths every single job, and they would wander off once that one single job was done. So we would spend half our time showing them how to do stuff, and half the time gathering up the youths who wandered off and putting them back to work… by showing them the same thing we did earlier.
        They would want to go do “fun stuff” after lunch, and we would have to work as drivers and guides. And when they had left, we would have to work a full week to get to the point we were before the kids showed up.
        I suspect they were expecting the typical overseas fun trip with a veneer of “missions work”, but we didn’t get that memo.

        1. Sidenote: short-term overseas missions work just seems like a waste of time and money, especially when it’s service work. Just take the money you would have spent on the plane ticket and send it to the group, then go out and do something closer to home.
          Habitat for humanity and WorldChangers are good places to start.

      2. One good guideline: If you start to say “I was just trying to help,” stop and apologize instead.

      3. Oh good Lord yes. Not that I haven’t been guilty of those errors myself.

        Though I do firmly believe accepting and encouraging “help” from young folk as a learning opportunity for them.

    2. Exactly. They don’t want to eliminate bigotry, they just want to fight it. Perpetually. Every election cycle.

  8. LBJ and other Democrats learned long ago that Welfare is a far better mechanism for keeping blacks down than Jim Crow. Plus, not only will they vote for you, the system will give rise to a huge, bloated bureaucracy of unionized Democratic voters. And as a bonus, the dependency system is colorblind, so you can get any race, color, or creed to vote for you in exchange for benefits.

  9. One type defines caring in terms of what they themselves do. “I did [blank] for them.” Or “I gave them [blank].”

    I found it particularly irritating when the progressives in government would point to scripture and tell us that the Bible says we are to be charitable, and that this justified whatever give away program they were attempting to pass or enlarge.  In the end they are not only doing their virtue signaling at the taxpayer’s expense they are out sourcing the work involved in caring for others.  I don’t think that was what He had in mind.

    The progressives are now no longer are as inclined to cite religious imperatives, which is probably for the best.

    1. There a word that can be translated as love or as charity. I can twist love all out of budge the other way.

    2. I wouldn’t have as much of a problem with that if they were consistent about it.
      “Yes, the Bible says we are to be charitable. The Bible also says that we are supposed to not have extramarital sex of any kind. Are you going to make *that* part of the law as well? No? Then be quiet.”

      1. Does “do not permit a poisoner to live” mean we have to kill communists? 😛

  10. “The real takeaway from this story is that Fiske sounds like a real piece of trash. What kind of teacher goes to an entertainment newspaper with gossip about an 8-year-old boy? Hell, forget that she’s a teacher. What kind of human being does that?”

    Read the whole thing. I would note that I have spoken many times about the fact that my politics at the age of eight were mistaken, and that the political thinking of an eight year old is wildly different from that of any adult.

      1. I do. Kid me wouldn’t necessarily be amused, but he would not think I should lie about it.

        1. I don’t think it’s the telling the truth part so much (though it does sound like it may have been the teacher with the problem) as the writing it up for publication now that the child is an adult and nationally known and you’re just a crabby old lady who felt it her life’s work to dominate 8 year olds.

          1. Haven’t read what that blog links to; I’ve enough stress from reading about politics as it is. I’m just obnoxious enough to read condemnation of such practices, and want to defend my own right to reveal information about myself when I was young.

    1. That is utterly amazing.

      My youngest had a teacher who was afraid of men. All men. And they let her teach boys.

      My nephew had a teacher that was “out to get him” so in addition to having various challenges (ADD and possibly a little dyslexia) he had a teacher who seemed to be trying to make his life hell. And he was messy! My sister was livid. She arrived at parent teacher night to find that the teacher had instructed the janitor not to sweep around his desk in order to “preserve the evidence” which was a bunch of broken crackers of a brand that my sister never bought.

      Also, I was messy! Horrible messy. And didn’t everyone do the thing with the glue? Maybe not eat it, but spread it all over your palm and let it dry and then peal it off carefully? I kept a collection of that in my desk. Oh, and I pee’d my pants in 2nd grade because I was so terrified of the teacher and she’d told us to never EVER call her “teacher” and she’d erased her name off the chalk board that day and I couldn’t remember what it was because I had to PEE.

      1. Elmer’s glue in a layer over palm and fingers, peeled off when dry. I’m still quite messy and disheveled.

    2. My midwestern elementary school principal (3rd through 6th grade) thought I was a chubby, Odd, whiny kid. That was quite correct; I didn’t fit in that well with my classmates at that time.

      To her benefit, she told me this 30 years later when I ran into her in California. Major points for not humiliating an easily embarrassed kid. My skin is much thicker nowadays, though I’m happy with the Odd.

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