Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Buddy System

Someone please tell me when it became either appropriate or effective for parents to call their young sons, "Buddy." From The Hermitage I hear this going on all day and double on weekends when Dads are home. Who, pray tell, is in charge?

To make matters worse, I hear cautions, commands, and even threats of punishment ending with the COP (Chief Operating Parent) asking, "okay?" As in, "Don't cross the street, Buddy, okay?" or "I told you to stop hitting him, Buddy, okay?" or "Okay, Buddy, you've earned a time out, okay?"

I live in a condo community populated by young families. When I first moved here twelve years ago it wasn't, but I've adjusted. In fact, I sometimes I view this Suburban Captivity as penance for certain things I wish I hadn't advocated during my Gotham-based '70s. And I like how the young moms perk up whenever I tell them how I think they're doing a great thing by staying home with their kids. They usually snap out of their exhaustion fog in that moment to say, "You do?"

Yes, I do.

But I don't think they're doing such a great thing by calling their sons "Buddy" and asking both sons and daughters for permission to assert parental authority. Imagine the voice from heaven saying, "This is my Buddy, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased." Compelling? Authoritative in the best possible sense of the word? I think not.

And I'm not a fan of casting Jesus as Buddy to make him more believer- friendly. I prefer the Jesus as Lord version. Oh dear God, I seem to be turning into Mrs. McClusky from Desperate Housewives.

Image snagged from: Jesus of the Week.


  1. ilovetheeucharistJuly 16, 2008 at 11:51 AM

    uh oh, you watch desperate housewives? I don't know if i can keep reading your blog...

  2. Ok, I confess to you my sisters and brothers that I also watch "Brothers and Sisters." :-)

  3. LOL - oh, the "thumbs up" sacred heart really did me in...

    So I go to the Desperate Housewives website and discover I am most like...Bree...yow. Ok. And I am totally with you aabout the fact that Jesus is not my buddy...and my kids are also not my buddies. Although I have been known on occasion to take one or another who needs some attention to lunch.

    Jesus doesn't want me for a buddy anyway. He's too busy trying to get me to talk to him.

  4. I'm most like Lynette. This should not come as a surprise to anyone who knows me.

  5. I haven't seen Desperate Housewives but I do have four kids between 8 and 19 years old. If you want to know what those otherwise sane parents are thinking, I can tell you--Okay?
    So if you do not have a consultative relationship with your kids--like the parents you describe--you have a distinctly hierarchical one. That means I am not friends with my kids. Most modern parents can't stand that idea. When my kids were little, under 5, I could take them to NYC and Boston and ride the subways because when I said , "Stop." They stopped. Before my kids were born I knew I wanted them to be respectful, brave and reverent. They are. But to learn respect in general, they had to respect me. So the first time they directly defied me--usually around 18 months--they got spanked. When I said "No." they knew I meant it. But it also meant I had to live with the reserve that anyone under authority has for the leader. It was fine with me. I could not stand the thought of my kids whining or having tantrums--voluntary behavior which each child exhibited exactly once in my presence past the age of two.
    But a lot of modern people would rather be friends with a brat than the parent of a good child. Once my daughters announced at age three and five that everyone stops whining when they are 8. I took them to the grocery store that evening and pointed out whining parents. They couldn't believe it. They especially couldn't believe that Daddies whine.

  6. Whining parents. Right. I neglected to mention that I'd like to spank the parents.


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