I had several conversations with TRex this weekend regarding long term gain from short term pain. It got me to thinking about our government. I really think if our government thought more like a parent and less like a child, we would be better off. Let me explain.
TRex is 4. In October, he came to us requesting to play sports. He didn't care what sport, he just wanted to start playing sports because his cousins played soccer, hockey, and baseball. The difference of course is that the Car Guy loves sports and has always played them, so he got his boys involved in sports from a very young age. The Mad Scientist could care less about sports and with as busy as we are with the Dancing Queen's many, many doctors appointments and therapy sessions, adding extracurricular activities for TRex was not a priority in our home. Anyway, I digress.
TRex wanted to play sports, so we signed him up for swimming lessons and soccer. Swimming lessons seemed obvious because TRex has always loved the water and we want him to continue to love it. We want him to be safe. Soccer was the only "sport" we could find lessons that fit our schedule during the winter.
Of course, TRex is 4, so when said lessons started, he didn't want to do it. Swimming scared him . . . A LOT. The teachers make him do scary things (another aside, TRex is pretty much scared of everything these days). The swimming teachers have the audacity to make him try to jump into the pool. They take him out of his comfort zone. TRex doesn't like this, yet taking TRex out of his comfort zone is exactly what I want for him. I don't want him to be scared of life. I want him to face his fears in a controlled setting, where I know he will overcome them and, hopefully, gain some self-assurance. After all, being a parent is about making the tough decisions for our kids, making them endure short-term pain for the greater good in the long run.
This weekend, TRex was especially adamant in not wanting to attend swimming lessons. It had been a really hard week for him with his family separated due to the Dancing Queen's hospitalization. And in his mind, he never believes that the Dancing Queen will come home when she is hospitalized. So, Saturday comes, Ma and Papa were going to bring TRex to swimming, then soccer. TRex fought me about swimming. They were going to make him get on the driving board and jump into the pool. That was too scary. He couldn't do it without Mommy in the pool. So, all through the morning, I explained to him that I couldn't be in the pool with him and that he had to face his fear because it would be better in the long run. I told him that sometimes we have to do things we don't like to do or are scary because they will help us be better people and help us grow up. I also told him that if he got scared, all he had to do was remember that Mommy was always with him; remember that the kisses and hugs I gave him couldn't be washed off and were still there even in the pool. It worked because he knows I am there for him and will not let him down. He enjoyed swimming (and soccer, but that is not an issue because they don't make him jump into water well above TRex's head).
Now you are wondering what does this have to do with the government. Easy. Too often, our government officials make decisions based upon their fear of the short term pain. They act like children and don't want to do things that will hurt today, ignorant of the damage such shortsightedness will have on the future. Instead, our government should be acting like parents, looking at long term goals and how to reach them. If we constantly give into our fears of jumping into the pool, we will never learn to swim. Likewise, if we are constantly afraid of the short-term consequences of fixing government, then we will never have a solution. Continuously cutting money to education or cutting funding of health care for everyone might save money today, but how is it going to help our future? I don't see how we can expect to maintain our status in the world if our children are not properly educated and unhealthy. Expecting people to pay for it all themselves is unrealistic and only adds to the damage being done. Why do we live in a society if we don't want to work together? I don't have the answers, but we need to figure something out quickly. And if the government thought more like a responsible parent, rather than a child, we would probably be better off.