Not Tough Love

One of the gifts of life for which my contemporaries and I are most grateful
is that of our mothers. The generation of mothers that raised us, whether
foreign or domestically born, provided their children with with a value system
that included goal setting, concern for others, honesty and personal dignity. 
Religious affiliation and geographical location did not make much of a
difference. We learned to help around the house, farm, store or where ever the
family found itself. Doing homework and caring for younger siblings were
everyday expectations. 
Only in extremely rare cases were other authority figures in our lives, like
teachers or religious leaders, confronted for any correction they may have
administered on our behalf by our mothers.  In all cases, our mothers dried
our tears and slaved our wounds, external or internal, demonstrating their
loving care while believing that, if justice was not served, a life lesson had
been meted out and learned.

Having worked in education for nearly four decades, I learned that all mothers
are not like the mothers that I knew in my youth.  I’ve seen mothers who
depend on the rest of society to instil the above virtues in their off-spring
there-by giving their children a false sense of entitlement.  Their children
put forth little or no effort, but expect to be treated with the dignity and
respect that they do not have for anyone, including themselves.  Nevertheless,
two recent events have
startled me.   The behavior of the mothers of Dzhokhar Tsamaev, a
perpetrator of the Boston Marathon bombing, and that of the mother of Radu
Dogaru, the young man who stole master paintings from a museum in Rotterdam is
one of entitlement.  These mothers were raised in countries once in the Soviet
system.  Although their children were raised in a less oppressive society,
residuals of the past era remain.  It is understandable that in a society
where authoritarianism, not lawful authority reign, a mother might defend her
child with rigorous emotion be the child right or wrong.  The tragedy is that,
in these cases, both children and mothers do not understand that freedom comes
with responsibility.

The sons, Dzhokhar Tsamaev and Radu Dogaru came to the West to improve their
lives. They brought with them the mentality of bullies and thugs. 
They expected to get ahead by applying that mentality to Western society. 
They thought that they could “get away with it” because they perceived the
West as free to do what ever one liked. The consequences of getting caught
could not be that bad.  Their mothers, too, applied one kind of mentality to a
different society. One mother proclaimed over and over again that her son(s )
was innocent.  The other mother tried to muddy the waters by saying
alternately that she burned the paintings, or that she gave them to some
unknown person.

What startles me about all of the above is that the West through all kinds of
social media, factual, semi-factual or totally false portrays itself as a
Hedonistic playground where one is free to do anything with very little
consequence to the perpetrator of even the most despicable acts. Thereby, the
West does itself a dis-service. How long will it take for the perceived image
of the West to become the reality?  Mothers beware!

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