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Countdown to Christmas

Out and about this week I ran into an acquaintance in front of the credit union. We chatted awhile and the subject of child rearing came up. She said if she had spoken to her mother or father the way some kids do today she would have been knocked across the room. Children acting up and creating a ruckus in public is an all too familiar sight. I, of course, agreed with her assessment.

Not that I was ever one of those mythical perfectly behaved children. I wasn’t. But my parents took the time to teach me right from wrong. We got yelled at, grounded and spanked, too, depending on the severity of the transgression. It taught me that my parents and teachers were in charge, and I had to follow their rule.

When I misbehaved at school and a teacher disciplined me, I didn’t go running home to tell my parents because I would just be in trouble with them too.

My parents taught me to pick up after myself at home and in public. All over Madera parking lots, sidewalks and streets are covered with trash, empty beverage containers and food wrappers. Exactly who are the litterbugs expecting someone will clean up after them? Taking care of our neighborhoods and the other places we visit is the job of every resident. Be an example to all the kids by expending the effort to use a trashcan even if it is a long walk to get there.

Children really do imitate the behavior of their elders. Monkey see, monkey do, might offend some people comparing human off-spring to young primates but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a true metaphor.

I see homes with only one parent, and even the two-parent families, where the mother and father both work and have limited time to spend with their children. Outsiders, daycare providers and teachers are assuming a lot of the burden of teaching good citizenship to the youth of today.

I find it disturbing how many people spend their time glued to smart phones and the screens of other electronic devices. Kids as young as toddlers are walking through life mesmerized by what is playing on those tiny video monitors.

This is so dangerous, considering how many predators are lurking on the Internet hiding on social media sites and in chat rooms just waiting to ensnare the young and the innocent. Children with unfettered access to the Internet are a recipe for disaster. Prolonged exposure to video games has its own perils too.

Restricting time kids spend wired into the World Wide Web can turn into a case of the irresistible force meets the immovable object. I don’t envy parents that argument.

In this Christmas season I’m hoping the stress of preparations isn’t robbing people of the joy the season is supposed to generate. Being kind and charitable to the less fortunate is a great way to celebrate the true spirit of the holidays. Shop in Madera whenever possible. Enriching the businesses across the San Joaquin River in Fresno hurts Madera.

I find some of the best gifts to give friends are products grown right here in the Central Valley. Places like Valley Pistachio and Braga Farms make it possible to wrap a bit of California sunshine in the form of nuts, dried fruit, jams and other gourmet cooking items. Such gifts are sure to make one a popular guest.

Develop the persona of being that person who arrives at a gathering with an armload of almonds, pistachios and other goodies grown here in Madera County. The economic benefit to Madera is great, with every dollar spent in Madera rolling over seven times, benefitting our entire community.

Christmas is less than two weeks away, relax and enjoy the fellowship of friends and families.

Making donations to places like the Madera County Food Bank, the rescue Mission or the Christmas Basket programs deepens the good feelings associated with the season.

Have a great weekend.

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Readers may contact Tami Jo Nix by emailing or following @TamiJoNix on Twitter.

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