Is the 4th of July still the day we celebrate our Independence?

By James Kraemer 
Available for the 4th of July, 2013 celebration

Best for the safety of your child – Protect your
child from burns and dangerous use.  Every child
can enjoy this traditional Independence Day
experience with moms and dads everywhere. A
Full Three Seconds of Bright  Sparkling Fun!
For best results hold and light the sparkler
yourself, and let your child watch it sparkle.
I spend a good portion of my retirement promoting safety on the school buses, at the bus stops, and at the schools. Seems to me that there is no retirement age for helping keep kids safe.

In some situations it may not be a good idea to let Mother Nature apply her natural consequences when the situation is simply too dangerous to allow for that.

Parents, schools, and any adult in temporary custody of and in charge of children does have a duty to intervene in a child’s unsafe conduct.

Disobeying Mother Nature’s rules of conduct can be very dangerous. She may not allow a second chance.

It is the responsibility of adults to create alternative artificial consequences that may help intervene in Mother Nature’s methods, yet also get the message to children to obey civil and lawful rules, including Mother Nature’s laws.

The reality is that there is inherent risk in everything we do – Everything! Knowing that this reality is with us every moment makes risk seem one of our closest companions.

Nevertheless, seems way too often we attack ourselves when doing our best to raise our kids. How is this a good thing to do to ourselves? It is not good.

To accuse and attack and attempt to lynch other parents and other adults in temporary charge of children over every mistake that happens may be worse than not good.

The Mrs. and I raised six kids between us and are blessed with eighteen grandchildren. Can’t recall a day that everything went perfect. Maybe close to perfect on occasion, but never perfect. A child suddenly realized missing for a space or some other risk event that can happen was typical life most days. And as children grow they can get involved in all sorts of things the most concerned and loving parent may miss is happening.

Most kids do some of the same things the children that are no longer with us did. Millions of kids have somehow repeatedly escaped the many bad things Mother Nature and bad people can throw in to the mix these days.

1948 IHC Bus
 We had no school bus deaths in our community when I rode the school buses as a child. Don’t know about injuries while crossing roads.

The school bus steering wheel in the buses I rode were huge and I don’t think our bus had power steering. The drivers were mostly farmers. The heaters were horrible except the one by the driver, which could be too hot. You had to dress for the weather even when riding the bus.

We had two red crossing lights only. Barely visible during the day, and could not see them flashing at all in direct sunlight. If you ran across the road once, the bus driver put you off the bus for two weeks. Might be forgiven one time, but not twice. These drivers had a saying...

“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

The entire fleet was male bus drivers except for one female that was as strict as the male drivers. She kept a ruler near by and would whack you with it if you said or did anything that annoyed her. I can not recall in all my years riding school bus of any student that backtalked that bus driver, but may not have been paying that much attention.

My best friend and I were the last ones on the high school route. If we included a cigarette for the bus driver and after the other kids had departed, we could enjoy a smoke the rest the way home.

I’m not convinced that many of the college-raised experts, bureaucrats, politicians, special self-interests and the like have the best sense. Not that these lack capability. Most just seem amiss in some regard. Too many seem too often to have some sort of personal agenda or bias, a current popular self-special interest position, or some agenda that can interfere with the reality that both other kids and their parents may have different needs. Maybe some parents have different expectations, different methods, and different goals that might not fit the same needs of other kids personalities and their parents’ culture.

For parents’ that want to raise children, including to bring abundance from their child’s mind might want to simply go find an old farmer. Ask him to explain how he cultivates his field in to an abundant crop.

Mollycoddling a child has the potential to bring worse outcomes than Mother Nature’s answer to disrespecting her laws. But here again the knowledge, skills, and adventure mentality of a family may involve a variety of different skills, as well as different risks among the many parents and their children.

I tread softly here, because of having some knowledge about farmers and their fields, and how this might relate to the mind of a child brings with it a warning from a farmer that drove our school bus.

There was a time that to invade another farmer’s field and plant over it was often considered an act of hatred, and illegal. It was not considered assistance, or advice.

The 4th of July is a celebration of Independence Day, the day our nation celebrates independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes referred to as Mother England or the British Crown back in their days.

When kids, and although the fireworks we purchased off the shelf were very dangerous, we also made our own fireworks that were huge and mega-dangerous.

We made flash flares that could burn our clothing and hands if not careful. We made M-mega firecrackers and rockets made out of gunpowder and other ingredients I’ll leave unmentioned. You could feel warn burnt powder and paper pepper you at up to fifty feet or so away. The concussion effect was awesome, the deep noise deafening.

We made our own rockets with up to a stick of old crystallized dynamite not safe for intended uses, carefully packed and wrapped tight in the rocket capsule with a blasting cap.

One 4th of July we exploded an old wrecked car two or so feet off the ground, metal and glass flying every which way -- a huge explosion.

None of us in our group of kids were injured, but we usually had skilled adults helping with making the works and every other sentence was about safety. I think making the works under close skilled supervision and safety instruction seemed effective back in those days with adults that knew what they were doing.

Some kids and adults alike that were badly injured or killed, most if not all these had disobeyed simple safety procedures involving higher risk activities, or were with people that typically disobeyed safety essentials, including when driving tractors and pickups.

Kids did that too, driving tractors, operating other farm equipment, and driving pickups and cars, starting at around nine years of age or so. And we road horses and milked the family cow. We watched butter made until we knew how to make it, then helped make it.

Getting kids to listen, not so sure these days. Too many get whatever they want from the Internet and texting each other, including how to make stuff, and without the connection that living, awake and civil parents’ can provide.

Kids still learn things. Too many learn how to make illegal drugs and pipe bombs, and how to have so-called safe sex, all sorts of modern day activities with their own set of modern risks. Probably a bad idea to teach most kids how to make fireworks these days. Why add to the carnage?

But for us it was fun to make our own fireworks. We didn't seem to think about them after the fourth, way too much to think about and do the rest of the year. We were too busy in those days doing all sorts of other things, virtually impossible to become bored or sit still indoors for long. And everybody in our group had a dog.

Picking crops to make some money, mowing lawns with a push reel mower, sweeping store fronts for a nickle, and sometimes earning as much as two-bits when performing other simple chores for an hour or so.

Going fishing, swimming, running a line of wire between our homes bedrooms connected to a battery and homemade intercom device, we had all sorts of fun things to do all year long, and most of it outdoors, and often unsupervised.

We built more than one soapbox derby, not a radio controlled battery operated toy purchased at Walmart, although that might have been fun too if they had been available. Our best toy racers had an inefficient wind up spring. We built the real thing and we road down steep, winding gravel roads in the real thing. Rather dangerous but we all survived.

We had other store-bought toys as well, some still popular these days. Some not considered appropriate for modern day children.

We packed real rifles in to the woods without adult supervision, very dangerous stuff. Yet, we in our group of the neighborhood were not seriously injured during all our young years doing these things or while venturing outdoors to all sorts of adventures. Some real, some not, all entertaining.  

We rode double on our bikes on hilly, narrow gravel roads to and from town, and no helmets.

The texting we did on our timeline's high-tech telephones involved a clock, pencil and paper to take down a phone number, who called, and the time.
Our High-Tech Phone
We got paddled at school when believed warranted, and spanked at home when deemed necessary to regain control when we refused to listen. If we missed the bus, or got in trouble at school, it was our fault. And although we did try to blame someone else for our own misbehavior's, it didn’t work.

We knew one child with Epilepsy, made it a point to be helpful and respectful. We didn't know anyone in the entire school allergic to peanuts.

Telling another parent how to raise their child was something only busybodies did. They were considered people having nothing else to do and were not much liked outside their own gossip circles.

When a parent hadn’t asked for advice it was considered best to focus on minding one's own children. Whatever the case, it remained difficult enough to raise ones’ own, let alone trying to tell someone else how to raise their kid, although beating a child was not tolerated.

We felt safe in our neighborhood, respected our teachers, respected law enforcement, honored our parents, respected our neighbors and their property, respected and helped the elderly, and respected animals. Not every kid, but the mass majority did. Not doing so was dealt with swiftly.

We were permitted to watch certain shows unsupervised on our modern B&W Admiral TV that received two channels. We watched Lassie, Rin-Tin-Tin, Mr. Moon, Captain MidnightFather Knows Best, Donna ReedCaptain Kangaroo, and similar shows. When a little older we could watch Dick Tracy, Dragnet, and other shows that supported proper conduct. The criminals always lost. If we missed getting our school homework or home chores done, we were not permitted to watch TV until caught up.

Sunday evening Dad and Mom controlled the TV. We watched what they watched, period -- no discussion. Lawrence Welk, Red Skelton, Gunsmoke. Can not recall it even dawning on us to question our parents' choices for Sunday evening's entertainment. A good dinner, maybe some popcorn or ice cream, or some other family treat. It seemed a safe place, and seemed welcomed to know what we would be doing Sunday evening's with our parents'.

We did not like homosexuals. Even in our time, there were three or four in our town that would attempt at least once to coax one of us in to his car. These were not bums, nor dirty clothed losers, nor aggressive or threatening. They were actually as friendly and kind-like toward kids as were heterosexuals, one a bit more so with offers to let drive his car, offers of candy, and other typical lures. But we knew of the cultivating methods and did not like these tempting us, said so point blank, and didn't get into trouble for speaking our peace about this issue.

There seemed some tolerance toward homosexuals in our group of parents, but limited to that concerning 'what adults do among themselves in private is pretty much their own business.'  Do not make a mockery of sorts out of the rest of us in the public arena, was the general theme.

Communism was some sort of evil empire, but we had no idea what a communist was, only not to be one. To call someone a 'Commie' was considered worse than shouting out a racist remark, although racist remarks were also discouraged.

We practiced Atomic Bomb Attack Drills in school. The phrase, Better Dead Than Red, was everywhere.

So much today seems to have to do with kids and now some younger adults that were protected from ever touching a hot burner, protected from pain, protected from germs, and protected from every sort of risk imaginable, including no guns and including protecting uncivil children from the civil.

It seems so strange that sometimes the more knowledge adults acquired over the decades about how to protect their kids from every mistake they can possibly make that more kids have ended up ignorant, and so many physically, emotionally, and mentally sick -- unable to comprehend the necessity for an academic education, lack of civility toward others, missing respect for property, and missing a work ethic.

Not the case with every child, of course, but involves enough kids and now plenty of young adults.

There is not much these days about basic posture, exercise, rest, worry, and the environment that does not involve a product of some sort. We knew the basics, seemed sufficient.

Too many young adults can not pay taxes because they did not learn a work ethic and can not hold a job. But these same sorts oftentimes feel it is not their fault and expect the rest of America to pay their way. Unfortunately, it may not all be their fault.

During our time, the employee that constructively critiqued the industrial workplace might end up in management. Bringing out from the closet some serious issue and displaying it was sometimes viewed as a work of the skeptic by some employers but not necessarily disloyal, again depending on the employer.

The same employee in another workplace might have been viewed as a disloyal employee, a troublemaker, and in some cases consider the equivalent of a whistle blower. And in the worst case, called a communist.

Henry Ford was the first to offer better pay and benefits. He was considered a fair employer who often talked about 'sharing the wealth' with the workers that made him wealthy. He lead the way to better worker treatment, but the company's philosophy changed in later years. This happened, partly because of the Great Depression, and partly because workers began wanting more of the wealth than employers wanted to share.

Employer/employees conflicts on our current timeline can involve the distasteful employer that has replaced the word communist with union member. The distasteful employee side of the coin may respond by calling employer leaders Nazi's. Political opinion, excessive individual fear, and mob mentality emotion can override science and fact.

Loyalty was an important employee attribute all successful employers looked for in their help, including the mob. This attribute remains an important today at many employers, and even among criminal groups.

Seems that in these modern times, and after many decades of new and improved expert safety advice, employer workplace safety achievements, and safer products, after all that it seems that neither parents nor kids know how to protect themselves from all sorts of modern risks that are endangering kids, including when on the Internet and what happens when eating too much junk food. So many kids give little thought to posture, exercise, and proper rest.

And the bad things evolving from over use of germ killers that have created dangerous health and body issues seem to have made our environment more dangerous these days the ever before, including mega-bugs that we have no defense from. We were covered in dirt and the bad germs that make people sick, even can die these days. We had germs all over us all day, acquired from working or playing outside. Soap and water was our defense, hardly ever beyond that.

With all the wonderful advances in medicines, great computer games, advanced technologies, and expert child raising advice over the decades ... well, it simply seems rather confusing the outcome. Just seems that our society ought to have the best and the safest behaving kids on the planet, and having acquired the most knowledge in the universe – the best of the best humankind can offer.

I lack an expert explanation as to why that is not the outcome for so many. Maybe something important was forgotten along the decades. Just a guess.

Don’t get me wrong. We had experts during our timeline as well, mostly school teachers, and our parents. Some good advice from other experts, and perhaps some not so good advice from some experts, and some odd advice from TV commercials.

I was included in an interesting public education program where instead of phonics we learned to memorize words for their correct spelling. Worked great for kids with a photographic memory. Didn’t work well at all for the rest of us, the majority of the class.

When the flaw in the program was realized, we that had failed in the program received a ‘C’ grade and sent on our way, this without phonics in our education toolbox.

The survival connection of too many kids with their single parent or parents' just seems too weak these days. Recent forth of July articles provides good safety instruction for adults willing to keep control and supervise while the kids have a blast, unaware of the fun some of us had in our youth, including what real food and real deserts made at home by mom or dad tasted like. 

Back in earlier days in our community potatoes ruled – typically shredded for breakfast, fried for lunch, and mashed for dinner. Never got tired of potatoes and other starch-based foods. Liked sugar as well, but most of that was limited to treats for good behavior, on pancakes with homemade butter, and dessert when not in trouble. Ice cream was real ice cream, sometimes made at home after dinner for a special treat. Then to bed for a good night’s rest. Even milk tasted different way back when.

No need to ruin what kids think is fun or make much mention of modern foods that tastes good to kids these modern days, (Sugar and Salt Rules!). Lets keep the good ol’ days between us adults.

Yes, on Independence Day we do seem to celebrate our independence from Mother England, although we seem somewhere along the way to have also declared independence from our own Mother America. Independence was an old people thing, I guess something they did in the old days.

Independence is what made America. These days, too much dependence on our new Stepmother America may destroy her, and destroy us in the process. Where is our safety against that happening, some might well ask?

Happy Independence Day to old people. Best of luck to the rest.

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