I had a wonderful Christmas break. Time with my family, gift-giving, good food to eat, and getting to sleep in a bit each day. Now that 2016 has arrived, it’s time for me to jump back onto my blogging site so here is my first post for this new year.
I enjoy watching the old tv show Perry Mason. My family rolls their eyes, but I do catch them at times following along with the plot of the show. The other day, even though the episode was from 1961, it could have been torn from today’s headlines: a rich, spoiled young man who behaved rudely to all, an insensitive jerk, was murdered. Take out the murder in the Perry Mason plot, and it reminded me of the sad saga of the “Affluenza” afflicted young man from Texas, Ethan Couch.
I don’t know Ethan Couch. I don’t know his parents. What I do know about he and they is what I’ve heard and read in national news reports. It was on June 15, 2013, in Texas,when Ethan Couch was driving while intoxicated. He lost control of his vehicle. Unfortunately, a group of people happened to be standing on the side of the road with a disabled SUV. Four people were killed when Couch plowed into them and crashed into the SUV. Two people in Couch’s vehicle were badly injured. In total, 9 people were injured in this crash. The nation took notice when in December of 2013, the judge ruled that Couch would receive 10 years probation and ordered him to a place of long-term therapy. Couch’s defense attorneys argued that the young man had “Affluenza”, meaning that since Couch had lived a life of luxury, that he wasn’t raised with any discipline and really didn’t know right from wrong, that therefore he didn’t understand that his actions can have consequences. Many people in the U.S., when they heard about this defense, shook their heads in disbelief. Couch made the news recently, along with his mother Tonya, because they were both in Mexico, Ethan living it up with booze, drugs, dancing girls, and he missed a probation meeting. Missing that meeting meant trouble for Couch; violating his parole agreement. His mom, Tonya, is also in trouble for aiding her son in going to Mexico and hindering the police in the apprehension of a felon, her son. Here is a link from CNN that goes over all of this mess of a situation.
There are so many lessons to be learned here but I’ll try to keep it to just a few. Parents, one has to raise ones kids with discipline!!! Now, I’m not talking about punishments for clumsy accidents, like spilling a glass of milk or knocking over a potted plant or leaving the lights on in the kitchen after everyone else has gone to bed, but I am talking about discipline being needed when your child out and out sasses back at you, disrespects your parental authority, tells you NO! That can’t be overlooked or ignored. If your kids can’t show you respect, then that means they won’t show respect to any other adults they meet in their life.
Ethan Couch is from a wealthy family. This fact made me think about another weatlhy American family, the Rockefellers. It was a couple years ago on American Experience, a show on PBS that I watch from time to time, and the episode was about the Rockefeller family. What impressed me was that John D. Rockefeller Jr. had 6 kids with his wife Abby, and while they lived in a fabulous home in New York state, he insisted that his children be assigned daily chores to do and that they receive an allowance based on if they got their chores done or not. This was a super wealthy family! John Jr.’s father, John D. Rockefeller Sr., founder of Standard Oil, had a net worth of $336 billion dollars!! Yet his son, was careful to raise his own 6 children to know how to work, and how to earn money, and how to give it away. John Sr. was also known to have given $500 million dollars away through his lifetime to various philanthropic groups, colleges, etc. I have a sad suspicion that the Couch’s probably didn’t assign their son many chores to do. It is a good idea to train kids in helping with household chores and when they get to be teens, having them find a part-time job. Our teens have worked part-time jobs and it has benefited them in money management, in making purchases for items that they have wanted, and in getting along with the public-be it customers, bosses, or co-workers.
Discipline, respect for one’s elders, knowing the value of a dollar, knowing the value of doing good work, knowing the value of giving of one’s funds cheerfully-these are great ways to innoculate your kids from developing “Affluenza”.