On Mar 13, 2014, at 2:12 PM, Joe Niederberger <email@example.com> wrote:
> I've used the term "milieu" before to address the issues I presume you are trying to address with such a question.
I can see that, good word, although I was talking about parenting (which seems different than milieu), and you addressed it well in your post.
> I learned a tremendous amount as a kid from my father, uncle, cousin, etc. without need for any books at all. It has to coming to understand the world as they saw it, playing games, solving little puzzles, estimating anything and everything just for fun, being told "cool things" like how light waves work as interacting electro and magnetic fields, etc. On the other hand going to the library together every two weeks was a family institution, at first in our neighborhood and later at the beautiful main branch of the Carnegie. In the library I was free to explore on my own, but I'm certain the things I chose to explore were much influenced already.
> I think your point was well made earlier -- almost everybody in this country can get good books if they are motivated to do so. The motivation is the much harder problem. But while it may be correlated to "class" as such its not determined by class. Something that money can buy, though, is more time with your kids, or at least proxies for family life like various enrichment activities.
If you mean more time from work, that you can spend with your kids, I have to disagree a bit. All income classes seem to struggle with this. How much time you spend with your kids seems to boil down to how much time you want to spend with your kids. You have to make sacrifices.
But milieu is important, so let?s talk about milieu.
Money buys you better milieu. A nicer neighborhood. A nicer school. Even a nicer Walmart. But what makes these nicer? The nicer Walmart is built to the same exact specifications as the not nicer Walmart 10 miles away. The not nicer school, also 10 miles away, actually cost more than the nicer school. And while the property values in the nicer neighborhood are certainly higher and the houses nicer, functionally, there is very little difference. I am not talking trailers here. And 30 years ago, the not nicer neighborhood was indeed *the* nicer neighborhood and the now nicer neighborhood didn?t even exist. So better milieu seems to be more about location than stuff, and money becomes a factor because better locations which harbor better milieu are a limited resource, and that drives up the price.
What is bad milieu and what is good milieu? Well since this is about children really, then milieu is about influence, but influence from what? Since I grew up in bad milieu, let?s start there. Let?s start with this post of mine a few years ago?
I would say, influence from that. Delinquent peers. Delinquent not because their parents were slaving 16 hour days like this was the 1800?s. Delinquent because their parents didn?t care. I don?t mean care like care when the kid gets hit by a car or in jail. I mean care before that happens. And I am not saying that the trailer park was universally like this, but very very close. There were families that disallowed their children to play with delinquent peers (which included me for a short time), but very very few. And even if you isolate your family in your trailer in this park, they still have to go to school, and the delinquent peers will be there. And you can?t fix this by sending everyone to private school, because then the delinquent peers will be there, in the private school, and the parents that care will take their children somewhere else.
Where does this delinquency come from? I dreaded it and studied it for most of my youth and I can tell you without a doubt that these people did not share the same instincts and feelings with regard to society, etiquette and making choices, as we do. I?ve had these discussions with them, as an insider. Their instincts are not societal nor even familial in the sense we use the terms. They are very personal. They have feelings, but lack concern. A sibling gets arrested or killed, they register emotion, but while that same sibling was doing what they were doing that led to the outcome, they register nothing. And the cause isn?t conditioning, because they are really good at it. They are really good at making bad choices and not registering concern. They only register emotion at the dire end. And it isn?t intelligence, at least not directly. They can make arguments, but their axioms are not the same as yours or mine. This is what I meant by CQ. Making good choices is not arbitrar! y, nor is it just good reasoning, even though reasoning gets in there eventually. It starts with innate instincts and feelings first. And that varies greatly amongst people. The more people are concerned with this side of human nature the better the milieu. The less they are concerned, the worse the milieu.
I had a conversation with a guy a few weeks ago. The topic started on education and drifted to the issue of race (he was african american). We both agreed that the issue isn?t race, it is class, and it probably always was class. He suggested that if we as a nation cared enough to fix this issue, like we care about other things such as football, we could fix it. I agreed in principle. He also said that rich people, both black and white, have enough resources to fix it. I didn?t make a big deal about this statement as I was still processing his first statement. I then replied "As far as caring enough to fix it, I agree, we should care more. But if you ask me to go in and fix this then the baggy shorts are the first thing to go." He said ?Why concern yourself with the baggy shorts!" I said because what you are asking for is ?concern?, and that is what ?concern? looks like, and it is the type of ?concern? they need. It is the type of concern we shower our own sons and daughters ! with. If you just want me to fix things without being concerned then I, and probably everyone on your hypothetical list, are not your guy.
And this issue isn?t about any one race, the trailer park I grew up in was almost entirely white. It is about class, as in bad milieu versus good milieu.