There were two voicemail messages on my phone last week that I listened to back-to-back. Both were from young men in their mid-30s.

Both young men heard the same “Cyndi Young’s 2 cents” commentary on their local radio station. The messages left for me were as different as night and day.

The first young man thanked me for suggesting that people his age sometimes need a leg up, but should not expect their parents to take care of their every need for the first four decades of their lives.

He thanked me for “having the guts” to be politically incorrect by saying that parents who let their kids get away with irresponsible behavior run the risk of taking care of those kids far into adulthood.

The second caller said my opinion about there not being significant consequences, or discipline, for young people’s bad behavior was snooty and spread ill-will.

He said it was not a positive message, that in this day and age, he doesn’t believe we need any more ill will and that it wasn’t a very good opinion.

Times are tough. I know that.

Sometimes a young person does need to move back home with his or her parents until they can get back on their feet. However, most parents expect those children to take on some chores and contribute financially if they can do so.

Sometimes it takes a little tough love from parents to get their grown-up children out into the world as productive citizens. Like the old Chinese proverb states, “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

This old world can be a tough and dangerous place. It is not for the faint of heart. It can be cruel and hard and overwhelming and disappointing and downright ugly. It also can be beautiful.

The struggle is real in farm country. Never in a million years would I dismiss or minimize the significance of both the emotional and physical toll of stress many in agriculture continue to endure.

Many farmers and their families are suffering from low prices for that which they grow, high prices for inputs, overregulation and the insecurity of not knowing — and having no control — over trade deals and weather.

Even the toughest among us feel the stress of uncertainty about the future. Because of this, it is more important than ever to prepare your children for a world that isn’t always “fair.”

I’ve heard many parents say they just want their child to be happy. Great. We all want your child to be happy.

But we would also like for your child to be able to add and subtract, hold a job, pay their debts, communicate without a mobile device, be respectful and respectable, and take responsibility for their actions.

By the way, I do appreciate all feedback whether you agree with me or not.


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