I’ve been a bit pensive today, thinking about all sorts of different things, and as I sit here and type this first sentence I have no idea where this post is going. As an adoptive father, I’ve been thinking about this “Octomom” situation from a perspective that is probably different than most people. There are so many loving, caring and worthy people out there waiting for a child to be a part of their lives that it just pains me to see this situation unfolding. I cannot, for the life of me, fathom how the mother is going to manage to cope with the normal requirements of 8 infants, and then you compound that when you add in the fact that she has 6 other children already.
Something about this whole situation touches a nerve with me. Of course I am concerned first and foremost for the health and well being for the children. Can she be an adequate parent for 14 kids? Then I wonder whether or not she has some sort of mental imbalance or problem. What she is displaying in my untrained opinion looks a lot like hoarding behavior I’ve read about. That right there would, if an accurate characterization, disqualify her from being an adoptive parent. Then we have the issue of the media. I saw about 30 seconds of “news” coverage when she brought home the first two babies. What has our society become? The reason the media swarmed her vehicle
and later pushed the boundaries of ethical behavior (she had to call the police twice because reporters were in her garage). Why? Why is that worthy of making the evening news? Why do we as consumers not demand something more substantive? I like to think of it as the Jerry Springer effect. Jerry Springer has been on TV with his intelligence insulting, lowest common denominator crap for a long time now. The fact that he is still on TV, and that “journalism” that appeals to that type of consumer is more pervasive now than it was 10 years ago indicates to me that I am in the minority. That makes me sad. It makes me sad for our society. We are what we consume, and the producers of TV continue to see just how much money they can make and how little they can spend to fill airtime and sell ads.
What are we teaching our kids by these examples? If you really stop for a moment and think about it, what message is being sent to our children by shows such as Survivor, The Apprentice, Big Brother, The Bachelor, Jerry Springer, or any number of other shows?
TV is a reflection of society. They air what we demand and what we don’t watch is quickly removed from the airwaves. The internet is a reflection of society as well. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ranting against technology, I’m ranting about our societal values. We get what we ask for when it comes to entertainment, news, and I now believe more than ever we get it in our politics too. I’m not going to go into a political discussion, I just want to put forth the thought that if through our inaction we end up with poor quality news, and poor quality entertainment is it unreasonable to consider that formula would apply to our leaders?
We’re getting what we deserve as a lazy society. Octomom is getting her own personal bailout in the form of donated 24hr a day care for the babies being donated by a business. Detroit gets a bailout because of their inaction. Wall Street gets a bailout because they sought to make money quickly and without thought to the potential impacts of their actions. Irresponsible homeowners are getting a bailout by the government. We reward stupidity, irresponsible behavior, and laziness. We punish responsibility, hard work, and intelligence by not giving people who demonstrate those qualities any special treatment. What is the fix for this situation? I have no idea. There is a lot of stuff that is broken in our culture. I don’t expect the government to fix it, nor do I expect the church to do so.
Here is my personal challenge to those of you who read this blog. The next time you’re sitting on the couch after dinner watching some mindless program, if this blog post pops into your head, lets all start making the world just a microscopic bit better by turning off the TV getting up off the couch and taking a walk around the neighborhood and talking to some neighbors. Fixing what ails our society starts with us. We’re the only ones who can change it, and change requires that we do something different today than we did yesterday.
Now go make the world a better place. Go on…now…quit reading….go. Turn off the computer….GO.