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Lessons in the Economic Slowdown

Black news from Pasadena - Editorial - economic slowdown lessonsThe basics of life don't change. You need to maintain the best health you can, a certain amount of wealth and some basic knowledge to survive. In other words, you need to work to be healthy, wealthy, and wise, which takes some education, some employment and some common sense. As the world goes through the present economic slowdown, recession, or junior depression, there are lessons to be learned or revisited and shared with our children.

My dad shared with me the lessons of the great depression of the 1930's which followed the 1929 stock market crash. Hopefully, you know what I'm talking about or you are lacking in the third element of my analysis, i.e., wisdom. As a result of that great depression, our family made the decision to move west to California from rural Altus, Oklahoma, a town of about 20,000 people. My dad worked on that job most of his life while helping my mother start a used/second hand clothing and furniture business which became the family business. The business provided a place for each of the children to work and contribute to the family's well being.

We were required to go to work, go to school to learn, go to church to learn, and act on what we had learned. You had to work whether it was at that second hand store or shining shoes at the local barber shop, or washing cars or cutting lawns. I even picked cotton for a day. The rule was: You did what you had to do until you could do what you wanted to do. That is still a good rule to live by. Many parents today don't think their children should stoop to do certain kinds of menial work. The question is what will they do when they are old enough to get a better job and have no experience working at all?

The other rule we had to live by was you don't run with people whose history or circumstance might land you in trouble. Today there are kids who hang out with gangsters rather than work menial jobs. The facts are that they may end up doing menial jobs later in life anyway. If they don't know the basics like how to work, how to get to work on time, or how to behave at work, nobody needs you to work so bad that they will pay to train them.

I say my dad shared with me the lessons of the great depression. Wrapped in that statement is a ton of information. When he was eight, his father died leaving him with six siblings. All girls. He stayed with his mother and sisters as the "little man" of the house. He married and stayed with my mother fifty one years, until he passed away. He took care of his four children, maintaining us as his family. He was proud of us and we were proud of him, until his dying day. We were proud to be Hopkins kids. Committing a crime was unthinkable as it might embarrass our family. Plus, it violated God's teachings that we learned in Sunday School at church.

Now it's my turn to head a Hopkins household. So far it has been 49 years of marriage and fatherhood and grand-fatherhood. I take it all very serious, using my father's pattern as a guide. So far, so good.

If you are raising a family and lack a pattern, I say look to Bill Cosby and "The Huxtables" and then there are those of us you call "Old School". Better Old School than jail school.

I would venture to say that parenting is hard only if you have no rules. There are plenty of parents at church, at school, and everywhere you go. If, however, you choose to go only to places where there are bad examples, then you have a problem. Remember another rule, Garbage in, Garbage out. Parents, what are you exposing your children to, garbage or progress? Choose to be the parent now! You do your job, experienced or not!