Who’s got the answer?

~a brief column by Colleen O’Brien

Is there a way for the world to come to and pay attention? It seems most of us need to be led and there are just enough among us who get off on leading. Mutual agreement would be a pleasant solution, but that’s difficult to establish even in small groups like families, book clubs, perhaps even polo clubs.If some always want to be in charge and others are always willing to be led, I guess the world is running the way it’s supposed to. There is a problem, however, with those who want to lead too much – the bossy babies of the world who grow up to be short-tempered grumpy guys who missed out on something somewhere along the line. At some point they seem to have a need to get even by torturing everybody they come in contact with in one way or another.

I asked my husband once what it was that mothers were doing wrong in rearing their boys that so many grew up mean to women, children, foreigners, strangers and cats; and he said, “Oh, it’s not the mothers. Most of you are teaching them manners and how to take out the garbage, but they’re all watching their fathers. If the fathers are jerks, the kid will usually wind up being a jerk.”

That was an answer I was willing to live with, letting me off the hook as it did, but it remains a problem for the world. How do humans cease teaching a behavior that is learned by kids who grow up to be fathers who pass it on to their sons?

Is the human condition set in stone? Are we always going to be awful to one another? Are we behaving better now than a hundred years ago? Are some people born bad seeds?

When the robots take over will they be kind or will they have been programmed by grumpy guys so that the world will run the same but with a different ‘species’ directing traffic?

Some days, there are far too many questions wandering around upstairs. If you have an answer, please let me know. Or write the editor; she’ll read anything.

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