Monday, August 27, 2012

Family Feuding and Taxes

I was just thinking...about politics...

Last night we had a couple of friends over who have two kids and all evening all of the kids…from the oldest of the bunch who was 12…down to Tori who is 4…played and played and played together with very few dramatic incidents. My husband noted at the end of the night how cool it is that whenever there are kids around, that everyone is always happy to play with Tori, even tho' she's "the baby". I thought that's probably because our kids all like her and like to play with her, so, it just makes everyone like her, too. 

Our kids all like her which makes family life run much more smoothly. Makes sense, doesn't it? If the kids resented her or found her irritating it would cause trouble within the family and when others became involved.

Recently I've been thinking about the "imbalance" that we have in our household. I was raised in a household with only 2 kids who were 6 years apart…a household with a very capable mother. She could easily do it all herself... and so she did. So, now I am the mother of a household with 8 children and I was "trained" that the mom does all the work...but in a household of 10 it's not so easy to "do it all" and I've recently realized that it's hard for me to imagine how a household like this is "supposed" to run. 

If I would never blog, make photo books on Shutterfly, or look at Facebook I would actually have plenty of time to do it all myself. But, I don't only do housework from sunrise to sunset, so, a lot of things don't get done. And, I've struggled to figure out how to work that. 

It's finally hit me about how the family needs to "work as a team" in order to be successful and "win" in life just like in a game. And, so everyone needs to play a part. Even the littlest. 

Imagine if I identified who the most "capable" of my kids are and put ALL the housework…on them. And, even made them serve the younger less capable kids. What if I made it that I would expect my older and more capable kids to give me a huge portion of their free time to clean the house and do laundry for me AND clean up the littlest kid's toys all the time. And, then…basically…since the littlest one is only 4 I would not expect her to do ANYTHING. Not even pick up her own toys.

Questions about running a household this way...
Would you think this would be a good idea for my family?
Would you expect this to work well for my kids?
Would you expect this to help my kids get along or not?
Would this be a "team" effort? 
Could this possibly cause resentment between the children? 
What types of attitudes or qualities might this type of system produce in my youngest? What would she learn to expect from "life"?
Would you consider it fair for Tori to not be expected to contribute anything to the well-being of the household? Not even pick up her own toys?

Here's another thought…
What if my littlest one were not only 4 but say she was also handicapped. Say she was in a wheelchair and…couldn't move around the easiest. Would you think it would still be a good idea for her to NEVER have to contribute to the household? 
Do you think that would make her feel good and happy with herself?

I was thinking about this and really, when we "don't expect anything" from someone…aren't we really saying, "you're basically not good for anything…not capable of doing anything useful to me so…I don't want anything from you."

And, that doesn't make anyone feel good!

You can tell we all DO have this innate desire to contribute because of how little kids are...always...wanting to help! They wanna help mom cook! They wanna just be included and be part of things and help. And, from my experience I see that kids who live in households where their contributions are actually "needed"...those kids are really really happy.

And, this isn't just in the family situation that this is's this way in so many instances, our contributions to a larger "entity" and our service is something that brings us joy. Like, you're invited to a picnic…don't you feel happier showing up with something to "contribute?" Don't you feel more like you "belong" in that group when they ask you to help and allow you to contribute?

Or, if you're on a sports team…if they never "expected" anything of you and never put you in the game…you could sit there week after week with that team jersey on at the games but would you ever really feel like you were "part of that team?" Would it bring you camaraderie with your teammates? Would you be able to really even be excited about your team winning if you'd never done anything to help that happen? And, isn't it a huge insult by the coach if he never puts you in and "expects" anything of you? Wouldn't it even make it hard for you to be happy for your team if they won if they never included you? Wouldn't it almost make you jealous and angry toward the players that got to contribute?

No one likes being treated like they're useless. No one likes being treated like they have nothing to offer.

And, so getting back to a family…a family functions best and is happiest when everyone has the opportunity to contribute. Even my littlest one…she loves to go get the mail and bring it in! She loves opening the mail box and carrying in the mail and is so proud of herself when she does it. She beams. She's so proud of herself that she can bring in the mail! And, the cool thing that happens also is...not only that but the other kids are proud of her when they see her doing it. Is it much of a job? No. But, according to her ability she is doing her part to contribute to the household...and it brings the whole family closer together.

That's how that works in a small one a family. How about the larger world? How about the household of the USA?

No one likes to be considered useless. 

No one likes to be "on a team" with useless people.

I feel like the gov't system in the US is like a married couple. The Democrats are more like the tender-hearted mom who can't bear to see the kids suffer and the Republicans are more like the practical dad who is worried about discipline and bringing home the bacon! And, together they really should be working together to have a happy balanced "family" but instead keeping each other's strengths and weaknesses in check. BUT…all they do is bicker and fight and threaten divorce and have played the game of dividing "the kids" (general public) against one other.

So, we have a variety of "kids" in the US. We have a boatload of "average" kids...and on either end of the scale we have the "overachievers" (highly capable) and the "underachievers" (the poor). And...what our "parents" (government) has done is they've decided to run our "household" by putting ALL the responsibility on the "capable" (the rich) and expecting NOTHING of the poor.

And, how is this working for us so far?
Are we a happy healthy country?
We're overweight...sickly...aborting...and having homes foreclosed on everywhere...
Hmmm...if my family was having such symptoms, I might be inclined to think I am not doing something right!

But, what the gov't does is tries to do MORE OF THE SAME...and see if that fixes things. But, we're getting fatter...sicker...aborting more...and the economy isn't getting better...I think lab rats are smarter than humans most of the time!!!

On the one side we have the highly "capable" successful businesses who the government is expecting to carry everyone's load…just because they're more capable than "the poor". So we tax them and get all mad if the gov't ever wants to do anything to "give them any breaks". Right?

And, we expect nothing of the poor. Their tax rate = 0%. But, is that really honoring them? Is that making them feel part of the "American Family?" Or, it is more like denying them even the opportunity to "get the mail and bring it in" for us? Is telling the poor they have nothing to contribute really helping them and making their lives better? 

And, in giving the poor no way to contribute...the more "capable" children who are contributing never get to have that feeling my older kids get when they see my little one happily bringing in the mail.

When a family is unhappy…it's more likely that the members will hurt and neglect one another.

When a family is happy…it's more likely that the members will care for, help, serve, and protect one another.

So, we can keep up the division…the fighting…the name calling. We can keep all the "kids" in this family (USA) fighting between Democrats (mom) and Republicans (dad)…we can make all the "kids" choose between mom and dad (we know how healthy that works in a real family, right!) and we can keep insisting that the "capable" pay more and more and do it all and we can continue expecting nothing of the "poor" and guess what? It's not going to fix the problem! It's actually helping make the problem worse!

If I made my oldest take care of 100% of the household would not make a happy family. It would not make my oldest care for my youngest more. SO...Even if we taxed the rich at 100% and had some outrageous overflow of cash and no national debt and all the rich were slaves to their workers…GUESS WHAT? As long as we're divided and have no actual care or concern for one other...the problems will not go away!!!

The key to happiness in the US...which really is what everyone's striving not free health care…it's not making sure it stays legal that women can kill their unwanted offspring…it's not making sure that the poor get free stuff and the rich get to keep less stuff and get taxed more…it's getting neighbors to care about one another. And, constantly pitting neighbor against neighbor based on income and political affiliation isn't getting that job done and never will…

So much more could be said about the parallels between family life and politics play out...

We could also talk about how the cultural habits of ignoring the cries of the weakest in the family could play into the politics of how we treat the poor...

We could talk about how the cultural habit of using force and pain to control the weakest in the family play into the politics of how we treat the poor...

Or...I could go do something else besides sit here and type...

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