Your Potential For Magnificence


Nothing will get better so long as you believe the other guy is wrong. He will think you are mistaken, or at least that you misunderstand the situation, or he will deny responsibility.

Nothing changes unless the change you want begins with you. You are the only person whose life is totally within your control.

A snowball rolling down a hill will gather both mass of other snow and momentum until it reaches enormous proportions and has enormous potential energy. Yet only one person is required to make the original snowball.

If everyone says that it’s someone else’s job to make the snowball, all the potential is lost. Someone must get their hands cold or everyone will take the heat of failure.

If you want the world to change, change yourself first. The world will take note of your marvellous improvement or change and want to have the same for themselves. The world loves a bandwagon, but someone has to hitch up the horses.

Be the change you want. You will be the evidence that it works.

Nothing beneficial has ever happened because of a negative attitude. From a sour look to a war, everything negative fails to make progress or improvement. Those with negative attitudes seldom want to work together with others, except for their personal gain. The old saying that “war makes enemies out of friends” holds true at a personal level as well.

When Jesus of Nazareth advised everyone to “Love your enemies,” he didn’t mean like your mother or your lover. In his time, everyone was either an enemy or a friend (ally), so he advised us to make friends. Enemies converted to friends can be the truest and most dependable friends of all.

Blaming someone else is personal and selfish. Helping someone else, such as working together to solve a mutual problem, can make friends out of enemies. Making friends is an outflow of self. Making enemies is a costly and selfish way to spend emotional energy.

Someone must always make the first move to make something right and better. You are the only person whose will and whose actions you control.

Start making that snowball and you will be surprised at how many people will join you to push it toward the hill.

When you want to roll a snowball down a hill, always push, never pull. Others like to push, but few like to pull. If you want to make the snowball bigger, just as with a problem, never pull it toward yourself.

Bill Allin
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems, a guidebook for parents and teachers who want to grow children who will build rather than destroy, create rather than break down, experience joy rather than depression.
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Schools Teach Children To Be Mindless Consumers

One of my greatest pleasures in writing has come from the thought that
perhaps my work might annoy someone of comfortably pretentious position.
Then comes the saddening realization that such people rarely read.
– John Kenneth Galbraith, Canadian-born American economist (1908-2006)

Alas, Mr. Galbraith’s statement bore more truth than even he may have realized.

First of all, a Canadian study a few years ago for McLeans magazine showed that only six percent of Canadian adults read more than three books per year. Considering that many people read books related to their work–indeed, must read them, such as medical doctors and other professionals, to stay up with advances in their respective fields–the number of people who read for pleasure, including those who read nonfiction simply to learn more, must be tragically small.

Although I have not seen similar studies relating to citizens of the USA or other western countries, I have no reason to believe that their reading rates would differ from those of Canadians.

Oh, we read, most of us. We read junk mail delivered to our homes, prodigious quantities of emails that serve us no good, internal memoes that usually mean nothing to us in our workplace and news in newspapers, magazines or on the internet. Those news sources that we choose ourselves tend to be biased, as all news sources are. The news sources we choose tend to all be biased in the same directions, preventing us from getting confused by a wide variety of opinions.

Thus we come to believe that our news sources present a fair and reasonable assessment of the news of the day. If our chosen news sources don’t cover a story, it can’t be important. Or we simply chose to believe that all other events are of lesser importance such that they don’t deserve to breach our personal intellectual radars.

Thereby we funnel ourselves into comfortable grooves where we believe that most other people in the world think like ourselves. It may not be true, but we believe it’s true, through practice and habit. Thus we come to take comfortably pretentious positions, as Galbraith noted.

When something that someone says or writes violates the sanctity of our cozy corner of thought, we think that person or organization must be on the fringe, likely dangerous because it might cause others to come around to its position. As we have persuaded ourselves that those who do not think like us are not “normal” or “average” or right, some of us feel it necessary to expunge the sources of such anti-social thought from public consciousness. We bitch and criticize and condemn.

We believe it is only right, indeed our duty, to prevent seditious thoughts from invading the minds of innocent people (“Save the children!”) to the possible extent that others begin to think differently from us, in progressively larger numbers.

Eventually, the “we” referenced above get old, become disregarded by the younger generation in power, die off and join history as “those who thought differently in those bygone days.” Some of them were strong supporters of slavery, believing that some people (always the social group to which they belonged) were naturally superior to others and had the right to treat them like pets or hunting prey.

The original aboriginal tribe of Newfoundland, Canada, for example, whose skin colour most likely resembled the “red skins” that Europeans began to call all natives of North America, were literally hunted into extinction, for sport. The unsociable Beotuk Indians had a habit of covering their exposed skin with red ochre, making them sufficiently different that Europeans thought they should be eliminated as a threat to social purity.

After that we had men who thought women so intellectually stupid that they should not have the right to vote, to equal pay for equal work, to be treated without abuse or to receive compensation if they were chucked out of their homes by their men (owners) who got tired of them.

Even today we have men in some western societies who believe that war is the only way to subjugate inferior peoples. Our leaders–who may be among these people–may tell lies to persuade enough voters to support going to war with ultra-sophisticated weapons and smart bombs against people who can only defend themselves with knives, rifles and stupid car bombs. Somehow there are still people who will believe that making war is the only and best route to peace.

You can see how pretentious the positions of such people must be, that they will believe the lies of the leaders who secured their positions in the first place by lying to those same people to get elected.

John Kenneth Galbraith, a brilliant man who believed his calling was to teach in a university and to write for university students and graduates, had no answers to the dilemma he posed in our quote. Yet there is a solution. And it’s a simple one. And extraordinarily cheap.

Teach the children what we want them to know and to be able to think their way through pretentious and lying positions posed by others who want little more than to twist their minds into believing that their lives only have value if they do what their leaders tell them.

Our school systems are set up on a model that prepares young people to be the workers and consumers of the future. That is their whole purpose. And they do it well. But they don’t have to teach creative and eager children to be dull automatons who simply do what their corporate employers want them to do and buy what they are told to buy in advertising.

The primary responsibility of parents is to teach their children what they need to know to be competent and confident adults. Many parents today don’t do that. They leave that job to schools, even if they naively want to limit and control what the schools teach to the corporate model.

The situation today is not hopeless, as many believe. Change is possible, but only if people talk about it and find ways to teach new parents what they need to know about raising their children effectively and in a healthy manner.

When enough parents teach their own children properly, without leaving it to schools to do the job many parents abdicate, the school systems will eventually change.

Right now too many parents are too concerned about ensuring that the schools their children attend teach to the corporate model. We can talk about his situation until enough people understand how their minds have been manipulated and how the minds of their children are being molded in ways that are unhealthy for them and for the country.

Just talk about it.

Bill Allin
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems, a guidebook for parents and teachers who want to grow children who can think for themselves and who need a guide to show what to teach their kids and when.
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Why So Many Women Get It So Wrong

For a woman, finding the right man to love her the way she wants to be loved, to be a good father to the children they create together and to provide a healthy, vibrant, creative and enjoyable family environment that will last a lifetime is almost impossible.

Why? While there are many reasons, a few stand out.

Most commonly, a woman goes looking for the wrong guy. Back in prehistoric days, a woman wanted a strong man, the best warrior in the tribe, someone who could provide for and defend her family. If he was good looking, even better. If he fertilized other women, so be it, so long as he looked after the best interests of her family.

That attitude persists today, even though almost everything else in life has changed. Women still want the handsomest, strongest, sexiest guy with demonstrated ability at leadership as he gathers other guys to follow his lead. Anyone who doubts this should check out how girls in the latter years of grade school and in high school tart themselves up for the guys. They may want to be treated as sweet and innocent, but they look and act like hookers because they know what guys like to look at.

No question, guys like to look at attractive women. If they could, they would take every one of them to bed. But they wouldn’t necessarily want to spend their lives with them.

If I guy can score with a girl who looks and acts like a hooker, but not have to pay fees, he considers himself a winner. And so would his buddies. But guys don’t want to marry hookers, because…they have proven that they have too many other sexual interests. Girls who look like hookers and put out sexual vibes like hookers may get the attention of guys, but those guys don’t want to marry them.

The same applies to the captain of the football or basketball team, or any other jock who looks good stripped to…well, stripped. While most girls are attracted to these guys, many have none of the other qualities a woman should be looking for. That “get the best possible male to mate with” attitude persists even though we no longer live in tribes.

The best warrior in the tribe in prehistoric days seldom lived past age 24, almost never past age 30. Since the tribe did much of the teaching of children anyway, getting the best set of genes seemed wise. The warrior would always be busy with matters other than those relating to the family, and women knew that. Today, the same guy would be a terrible person to depend on for personal and family values.

Today, most men live past 30. It’s the next 50 or 60 years after that the women who marry them can’t stand.

Very few of the skills a young man learns in high school apply to the fulfillment of responsibilities of a family man. We don’t teach the skills that families need, that women should be looking for. So young women continue to want the best looking guy they can get. And when they marry and he fails to satisfy the needs of her or their children, they can’t figure out why.

The most popular girls and guys in high school get so used to constant attention from members of the opposite sex that they continue to want that attention into college, into their work lives later and into their time as parents. They don’t need commitment, they need attention. Girls should want a life partner who gives attention, not one who seeks it from them.

Girls naturally favour men with confidence. Whether in men or women, confidence is the most important characteristic of beautiful people. An average looking person with lots of confidence and a big smile can be a sex symbol. Just look at the stars of movies, only they have the addition of makeup to make them look even more perfect. Brad Pitt may be great for the imagination, but few women could tolerate spending a life with that kind of man.

As great as confidence is–I firmly believe it is critically important to a person’s well-being–it does absolutely nothing to make a man a better husband, lover, father, provider or planner. Confidence is but one characteristic of a person. That characteristic can be taught and learned. Most people who have confidence learned it by themselves, though it can be learned by taking classes of various kinds.

Those who don’t have confidence in themselves and their abilities and strengths should take a class to learn how to show confidence, to feel confident.

Men need more skills than confidence, good looks and rippling muscles to be good husbands, fathers and long term friends. For a woman to depend on the looks of a man as the main feature she loves and wants would be the same as a man loving a woman because she has breast implants, a tummy tuck, butt rounding, a nose job, reconfigured ears and a hair transplant. Every study ever done shows that most men don’t want those features in a wife and mother. A majority of men want “natural” women, no matter if they have body features that are not perfect.

Women shouldn’t depend on good looks and popularity as characteristics that will make a man a good husband and father. In fact, nothing about the appearance of a man, good or not so good, can be held as predictors of what he will be like as a husband, lover, father, provider, friend or sleepmate.

Advice to women: When looking for a mate, search for one who has the characteristics you want in a man for what you want to do with him in the years to come. If one you like doesn’t have those characteristics, make sure he is the kind of man who will gladly learn what he needs to know. If he won’t, look elsewhere, quickly.

Advice to men who have read this far: The same applies to you when looking for a lifemate. Paris Hilton or Salma Hayak or someone with the name of Diaz or Cruz may be great to ogle, but they won’t necessarily have the characteristics you want at home. And they will always want the attention they get now from other men.

It’s not just a matter of caveat emptor. It’s a matter of looking for what you really want rather than wanting someone who looks good but has nothing else to offer that you will find valuable in the years to come.

Think ahead. Unfortunately, most people don’t get better with age. If you want a partner that will, look for that characteristic before you settle.

Bill Allin
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems, a guidebook for parents and teachers who want to grow children who know how to cope with the needs of their lives instead of depending on television and movies to tell them.
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We Are Killing Ourselves But Not With Global Warming

It takes a certain maturity of mind to accept that nature works as steadily
in rust as in rose petals.
– Esther Warner Dendel, writer and artist (1910-2002)

Despite the fact that we are, each of us, part of nature, we understand almost nothing about it.

We have medical healers whose primary function is to make it possible for nature to heal itself within our own bodies. We have psychological healers whose objective is to keep us talking until we can figure out answers to our own problems.

We have those who would have us believe that we could live within nature comfortably if we would only stop destroying it. Not true. No living thing lives comfortably within nature. Living things within nature are all about struggle, not about comfort. Living things that are comfortable either become food for other living things or go extinct because they cannot change. Nature changes constantly.

We have those among us who would have us believe that we can alter nature on a global scale. Those people are either the victims of propaganda or its perpetrators. Take global warming for example. No one disputes the fact that the planet is warming. The dispute is over whether what we do can influence it irrevocably or whether what we experience is simply part of a natural cycle.

Should we believe climatologists whose income depends on our believing what they say so that they can continue to sell their fear mongering collections of “facts” to the media? These people can’t even predict the weather. Where I live in eastern Canada, the government forecaster predicted a hot and dry summer for three months. The weather was so cool and wet until mid-August that the summer insects had not yet emerged and the trees had not changed from their late spring colour of light green.

We have scientists who believe they can make definitive statements about God, about the future of medical science, about how powerful humankind is that it can influence the very existence of nature, yet it can’t tell me for certain if it will rain this afternoon. Or if a tornado will tear the roof off my house. Or if an earthquake will destroy the rest of my house.

We want so much for nature to not change. We want to know that we have not destroyed it and we would know that by the fact that nothing within nature would change. Yet if one thing we know for certain about nature it’s that nature forever and constantly changes. New life continues to pop into existence and other life goes extinct. We don’t even know how, for certain. Call it evolution or creativity, but we don’t really know how it all comes about.

We know that about 65 million years ago a great percentage of land life went extinct as a result of an asteroid landing near the Yucatan in present day Mexico. Yet why did it take over 1500 years for the die-off to complete if the explosion created an instant global cloud? The age of the dinosaurs ended, for sure. But what the fear mongering scientists want us to believe is that it was the cloud that ended the dinos, not the fact that climate was changing naturally around the world and where the dinosaurs lived there was no longer sufficient vegetation to support the giant creatures. Not much vegetation for them in Alaska these days, for example, is there?

About 225 million years ago almost all life on our planet disappeared–about 97-98 percent. Nature seems to have recovered, as it did after the later asteroid collision. It will recover from us too.

If we should be concerned about anything related to human production, it’s that we put half a million chemicals into our air–some of them poisonous and these have caused us health problems to an alarming degree–not that the planet is warming. Of course it’s warming. There was a mini ice age lasting about 400 years that ended just over a century ago. What should we expect to happen when an ice age ends?

We know that air’s ability to hold moisture doubles with each ten degrees increase in temperature. As the air warms, it has more ability to absorb moisture when it passes over the 75 percent of our planet that is covered with water. More water in the air equals, what? Clouds. Clouds block sunlight, which is the sole source of heat for our atmosphere. Less sunlight reaching earth’s surface means a decrease in air temperature. And where are all those flooded coastal cities we were warned about 15 years ago when the climate models said that many low lying cities would be drowned in 15 years?

Get over it! We are not powerful enough to change nature. We aren’t even powerful enough to save ourselves. How many millions of humans die each year of starvation while rich countries throw more than enough food away as waste? How many millions die of AIDS when we don’t even have the will at an international level to teach methods of protection against HIV infection and to distribute drugs that could extend the lives of most HIV positive people for decades? That includes HIV infected parents who could support their children instead of dying and leaving them to starve as orphans.

Instead of huddling in fear of what we are doing to ourselves that most of us can’t do anything about, let’s stand up and tell our governments to do what is right to save the humans alive today from our own self destructive practices. I could count on one hand the number of countries that are in the process of doing positive things to help their people and others around the world to live better and healthier lives. One of them is Iceland, but how influential is that tiny island in the international community?

We only need be afraid of the future if we do nothing about improving it by our actions in the present.

No matter how much we fear the future, nothing will change by our fear. Nothing will improve because we are afraid.

Change only happens when someone does something.

Human rights took a huge leap forward after Adolf Hitler tried to take over the world and killed millions of people in the process. Do we require something that dramatic to recover from for us to make small changes ourselves and to encourage others to make small changes as well?

Even those of us who are not afraid will accomplish nothing to improve humanity and the condition that life on our planet exists in if we do nothing.

As Canadian rock singer Neil Young stated in one of his albums, rust never sleeps. Nature forever changes. If we don’t want nature to change, too bad for us. If we do nothing about improving life on this planet as it is–including conditions that kill millions of our own–we have good reason to worry over things that happen naturally. Worry is the hiding place for those who do nothing.

Worry is the refuge of the terminally stupid. With emphasis on the “terminally.”

Bill Allin
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems, a guidebook for parents, teachers, social leaders and ordinary folks who want a methodology for teaching children what they should know, not just what industry wants them to know as worker/consumers.
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What If You Couldn’t Live Another Week?

Much misconstruction and bitterness are spared to him who thinks
naturally upon what he owes to others, rather than on what he ought
to expect from them.
– Elizabeth de Meulan Guizot, French author (1773-1827)

My first thought upon reading this quote was about how many people severe the primary relationship of their life because their partner isn’t giving them what they want or need, without considering what they could do for themselves. That is, the partner may disappoint with what he or she gives, but do the disappointed ones do enough for themselves and do they do as much of what they should for the other partner that disappoints?

Before we think about how others disappoint us, let’s consider how much we may fail ourselves and how much we may neglect to give to the others.

What should we give to others? What do we owe to others, especially to those to whom we are not committed?

There’s the hitch. There is no reason why we should not be committed to every other person on the planet, to every other animal on the planet, to everything on the planet. If we do not commit to them, why would they take any interest in committing anything of themselves to us?

So we breathe the air they pollute. We drink the fresh water they poison. We read of how they kill each other, how they enslave each other, how they abuse each other in inhumane ways.

We can’t do anything about that, can we? After all, they don’t care about us, so why should we care about them?

We don’t care about them. Only about what they do. Yet we don’t give a fig about what they may think of what we do.

What do we do? Do we starve, as possibly 20 percent of the humans on the earth are doing today? Or at least their health is destroyed through malnutrition, a problem over which they have no control.

By what measure of ethics or morals is it correct that we allow anyone on this planet to starve or to be starved when more food exists than the world population can eat?

A study was done in the UK recently that showed that 25 percent of the starving people of the world could be saved and made fairly healthy on the nutrition in the food the British throw away as garbage. Every bit of food that is not consumed by customers in restaurants, for example, must be thrown into the garbage, by law.

We have no reason to believe that the amount of nutrition thrown away as garbage by the people of the United States, as another example, would be any different by percent than that in the UK. If the numbers for the US match those from the UK, then starvation could end on this planet if all the nutrition thrown away by Americans were fed to the starving people of the world. The United States is that big and has that amount of wealth that its people can throw away food that would save the lives of every starving person.

In some villages in Africa, almost no adults remain alive because they have all died of AIDS, leaving the remaining children to fend for themselves. Do those children deserve to die because their parents contracted AIDS and had the effrontery to die?

Do the people of Darfur deserve to starve to death (those that are not raped and killed by militias) because the government of Sudan is corrupt and keeps food aid from its own people? Decades ago we put men on the moon, can we not find ways to air drop food to those starving people?

Using a headset or VOIP phone I can speak to anyone anywhere on the planet that is connected by some telecommunications system. In the parts of the world with the fewest numbers of people with internet capability (excepting at the poles, on mountains and in deserts), at least some of their neighbours are starving. Lack of internet capability or minimal capability equals poverty beyond what most of us can imagine. Poverty always means that someone is starving. Always.

Our television networks, news services and NGOs tell us about places where people are starving and where medical assistance is impossible because they have no supplies. We Tsk! Tsk! and wonder why no one does anything to help them.

If there is one sin that every religion would agree on, it’s letting people starve to death when there is more food on the planet than would be needed to feed everyone. The world’s greatest and most widely agreed upon sin.

But those starving people do nothing to help us. They just selfishly keep on starving and dying.

What would you do if you had gone for over two weeks without a bite to eat? If that were true also of your neighbours and the rest of your community, would it turn quickly into something resembling Darfur? It would unless police kept control and others in your country felt compassion for you and your community, enough so to send food to save you. Remember how little police could help in the aftermath of Katrina, in New Orleans?

No matter what you may think that others owe to you, they may feel that they owe nothing or very little. If they are well fed and healthy, they may think that your starvation or extreme illness or disease means little to them unless you can do something for them. Those people include well fed and healthy elected politicians.

If you were starving or dying from some effect of malnutrition, what could you do for those who had the ability to save you?

Well, you aren’t starving or dying. What are you prepared to do see that the people who are get what they need?

If you have what you need, but do not help others, you commit the world’s greatest sin.

To expect those who are starving to save themselves and to reorganize their communities is unreasonable because you could not do it yourself. They may not be able to help themselves.

You can.

Figure out how.

Bill Allin
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems, a guidebook for parents and teachers who want to grow children who care as much about what they can give to others as what they can acquire from them.
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How To Know If You Have A First Rate Mind

The third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority.
The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority.
The first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking.
– A.A. Milne

The third rate mind never goes anywhere because it is constantly being led by the nose, always follow the behind of those who lead. Think politics, religion or the products of big corporations (as a consequence of constant unrelenting advertising).

The second rate mind always feels that it is going against the flow, which it is. In this case, the minority usually believes that its way is better than the ways of the majority. These people believe that their way is better for humankind, whether morally, politically, religiously, ecologically or any other -ly. It is comforted in knowing that, though a minority, they think alike with their fellow believers.

The first rate mind usually thinks alone. He or she knows that their way of thinking goes against the trends of humanity, but takes comfort in truth rather than in comradeship. He or she is used to being thought of as wrong or as kooky or as a bit too far off base.

The first rate mind sometimes wonders if he or she is weird, a social misfit or the result of some form of genetic mutation. Any are possible, but the real reasons may commonly be found in their unusual upbringing in their first few years of life.

The first rate mind may be sociopathic or totally benign and peace loving. He or she may be a criminal, a drug addict or an inmate in a psychiatric hospital. Or a teacher, firefighter or member of any occupational group. The ones suffering from anti-social behaviours may result from bad decisions made in the heat of the moment, of good decisions made that go against the law or social norms or of being thought so different that he or she doesn’t know how to cope with problems in their personal life that others just plug through but that he or she take as unsolvable or intractable.

The third rate mind is always appreciated at the moment for being “average,” in synch with the majority way of thinking.

The second rate mind is usually considered to be inept by the majority because they just don’t “get it,” but cool among his or her group.

The first rate mind is always appreciated more after their death than before, even if they are recognized for their genius while they are alive.

For the third rate mind, perfection is being with the majority.

For the second rate mind, perfection is elusive, but possible if enough people could just see how they have been thinking the wrong way.

For the first rate mind, perfection is not a consideration because it cannot be reached. Each success is a plateau, a step leading to the next challenge. Every step of progress brings with it its failures, which lead to new challenges, which result in new projects.

To the third rate mind, society would be much better if the radicals would just get onside.

To the second rate mind, society is made up largely of third rate minds who can’t tell their whatchmacallit from their thingamajig.

To the first rate mind, everyone is insane, differing only in their degree of insanity and their preferences for ways of showing it.

Bill Allin
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems, a guidebook for parents and teachers who want to grow children who have no trouble telling their whatchmacallit from their thingamajig. And who know right from wrong at the right times.
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What’s Paris Hilton Up To?

Adulthood is the ever-shrinking period between childhood and old age. It is the apparent aim of modern industrial societies to reduce this period to a minimum.
– Thomas Szasz, author, professor of psychiatry (1920- )

I can imagine Dr. Szasz reading this quote again with his tongue stuck so far into his cheek that his cheek goes red, chuckling at his wit until he nearly falls off his chair. I would if I were in his shoes.

Let’s examine it more carefully. At first blush it seems to say that modern industrial societies (those whose corporations control social norms, usually with the blessing of their respective governments) want to keep people in a childlike state of mind for as long as possible. Then when they realize that they are no longer kids (around age 40-45 in many cases), they have a brief period of adult behaviour and thinking before their bodies ease them into old age.

In the cottage area where I live, people flock from the Toronto region on weekends where they promptly stock up on the marijuana supply they will need, then fuel up their all-terrain vehicles, personal watercraft and chain saws so they can act like the wild teenagers most never were. These people are mostly men, all with at least some white in their hair, what’s left of it.

Their great fear (perhaps loathing would be a better word) is growing old. In their attempts to recapture their youth, most completely miss playing out the mature, responsible adult stage, the one that most of us would consider the age of people who would control the governments of their country and operate businesses and industries that keep people employed and the economy moving.

To ensure that they are not considered “age inappropriate” to their children and teenage kids, they supply the young generation with the same toys (downsized for the younger ones) that they use themselves. Thus the kids don’t care if their dads act like teenagers because they have the same adult toys as their parents.

Can these (formerly called) middle age men provide good role models for their children? By not taking responsibility for the welfare of their own lives (take that where you will), they provide no good example for their children to follow. An example, yes, not a good one. If anything, what they eat and drink and otherwise consume (drugs, for example) silently but effectively teaches the kids that the need for taking responsibility for the safe and fulfilling conduct of their lives is not necessary.

Obesity is rampant in this generation, as it is in the younger ones, because they eat mostly prepared foods (bolstered by chemical preservatives, loaded with fat, salt and sugars). They spend almost all of their time with their knees bent into a sitting position. Standing is limited, walking is rare, genuine exercise is not in evidence. Generally speaking, if it burns gasoline or produces alcohol, it’s good.

Meanwhile, these aging children take advantage of the tolerance our bodies have for abuse and misuse. They do this through their “adult” years, until the body can’t take any more and breaks down. Heart attack, cancer, osteoporosis, the usual effects that visit a body that can’t take the wildness of teenage life for decades in a row.

Now they turn to prescription drugs to get them past pain, high blood pressure and cholesterol, brittle joints and atrophied muscles. With more and more people living to the century mark these days and most living into their 80s and 90s, that makes for a very long period of old age.

Are they ready for it? Sure, they have their pensions, insurance plans and investments in place so that they can pay for whatever therapies they need, for decade upon decade. One insurance company touts a “Freedom 55” plan, likely for those who won’t be healthy enough to work until a more reasonable age for retirement.

What happens to that period of mature adulthood in between childhood and old age, the one that Dr. Szasz said societies are trying to shrink? Look at how often CEOs of large corporations are in civila court, in prison or in debt and look at the people we have running our countries to see that we seem to have no mature adults (or not enough) to run either our corporations or our governments. Look at how many people follow the misadventures of Hollywood tabloid types, apparently loving the fact that they don’t get into as much trouble as Paris Hilton any other of the tabloid stars.

The “serious” adults compare themselves to wealthy people who manage to make themselves public figures without any qualifications other than the fact that they are rich and they can commit outrageous deeds. (“You’re fired!”)

I have no idea how wild and careless Dr. Szasz may have been in his younger years. I do know that now he is a wise observer of life.

Might he want to be president of his country, the USA? No. He’s not that dumb. Beside, he has devoted his life to healing, not to killing.

Bill Allin
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems, a guidebook for parents and teachers who want to raise children who will be well balanced adults who can take the responsibilities we need them to take to guide their country and the younger generations.
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