07 August 2010

Day 133: The Wake of Forgiveness

The Wake of Forgiveness by Bruce Machart.  ISBN: 9780151014439 (Advance Reader Copy - publishes Oct. 21, 2010).

This is mostly a book about the Skala family in Texas during the late 1800's.  Vaclav Skala is a pretty reprehensible character who treats his four sons like beasts of burden.

I think I can kind of understand that behavior.  Part of that is because I cannot imagine having something I care about as much as I would care about my children, only to see them die before me.  It would be easier to treat them like work horses so as to avoid any emotional attachment.  I almost wonder if higher live birth rates and life expectancy for both women and children had to occur before we could obtain child labor laws and women's rights (which have both increased further).

I am thankful that I no longer have to wonder if a pregnancy is going to kill me.  I am thankful that I no longer have to produce children for a marriage to be valid and legal.  I don't have to worry about my husband sending me back to my parents because I could not get pregnant (regardless of who was at fault physically).  I have control over my pregnancy or lack thereof during marriage and out of it.  These are pretty much all of the things that have popped into my head while reading The Wake of Forgiveness.  I'm also thankful that if I did die and produce children, that my husband would have the children taken away from him if he strapped them to a plow and worked them like horses to the point their necks were permanently bent.

There's chores and then there's chores.  I have no problems with making a child do his own laundry at a certain age.  I'm pretty sure I was doing my own laundry about the age of five.  At the very least I was definitely folding my own clothes and helping sort them.  Not much longer after that I was expected to help with vacuuming, sweeping, cleaning the bathroom, and doing dishes.  My brother was supposed to do chores as well, and sometimes he did, but he was also much better at terrorizing my parents and sometimes weaseled out of it if they were particularly tired.

I don't see many kids who seem to have chores these days.  Granted, they do seem to have much heavier schedules to begin with - soccer practice, band practice, piano lessons, AP courses, etc.  But they also seem to have far more privileges than I was ever afforded.  No way would I be allowed to even take my Nintendo to dinner, much less play with it during a family meal out at a restaurant.  And then there are the 10 year olds who have cell phones.  Nice cell phones. 

If you give your kid a $100+ piece of electronics when they aren't even old enough to sign an online service contract for Neopets by themselves, don't get pissed off with them when they destroy it.  They are children, you are the adult; if you are that worried about them being off by themselves without a cell phone then they should be with an adult.  The cell phone won't help them if they're going to do something stupid without adult supervision.  The cell phone can't tell them, "Hey, it might not be a good idea to put that cherry bomb in the toilet."

Honestly, with the shit I got into as a pre-teen and teenager, I don't think they should be left alone by themselves for longer than two hours.  Seriously, you can get away with some shit in two hours.  And that's okay.  Teenagers need to fuck up a little, but it's a lot easier to avoid the big mistakes when you can say, "I'm supposed to meet my mom at 11:30, and she's a total hard ass."  I think the biggest mistakes parents make these days is not giving teenagers ample room to make them the scape goat.  Yes, they need their space, but they also need you to be the adult so they and their friends can hate your guts.  They will love you for it later when they realize they're one of the few people they know in high school who made it through without ODing or having to get an abortion.  Just think about it. 

And OMG, stop giving 5-year-olds DSi's.  I didn't have an original Nintendo until I was 12 and those things were god damned bricks.


  1. The only thing I think a child should have, if the family can afford it, is a computer, but purely for educational purposes. Internet use should be monitored for school projects and acceptable email activities, and absolutely no Facebook or the like until high school, and even then I'd police the shit out of it. No cell phone until they're 15 and get their own job to pay for it.

  2. Hey Dayna, I definitely think your idea about the cell phone is valid if the teen wants to have a cell phone all the time. However, I think a floater phone might be a better idea. It would get taken out whenever the kid goes to a concert or movie, etc. Ideally they would be responsible for any non-family minutes used. But since most kids have cell phones, as long as you had all their friends' cell phone numbers that wouldn't even matter all that much I suppose.

    When will they start just implanting this crap into our heads, anyway?

  3. I have The Wake of Forgiveness somewhere on my shelves, but I wasn't totally excited to read it until I read this post! And you are hilarious by the way. I agree with your comments on parenting!

  4. Oh Trisha,

    Don't be too excited to read Wake of Forgiveness. I didn't actually enjoy it all that much. My review is over at Goodreads (http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/109843128).

    It's not terrible if you're into that kind of thing, I just had trouble wanting to come back and read it. On the other hand, you may enjoy it more than I do. Who knows.


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