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On October 1, 2013 for the first time since the mid-90’s the government went on a shutdown. All “non-essential” government departments are not working. Health, housing, immigration, law enforcement, parks and museums, regulatory agencies, financial regulators, small parts of social security, visas/passports, and veterans have felt the brunt of the government shutdown. I believe this is terrible not only because of the systemic breakdown that this causes but the message it sends to our children.

tan•trumˈtantrəm/noun
1. An uncontrolled outburst of anger and frustration, typically in a young child.
“He has temper tantrums if he can’t get his own way”

From the first days you can walk and speak we try to deter our children from tantrums. People scoff and avert their eyes in shame when they see a child publicly display a tantrum in the grocery store. Judgments are immediately made even when they aren’t spoken. Non-parents assume that they must not know how to parent and parents immediately compare them to their own children. *Responds pretentiously and wagging the finger* “Mine never does that”. What is socially agreed upon is that tantrums are unacceptable. People may disagree on whether to spank, snap your fingers, clap your hands, pull their ear, scream, call out their first middle and last name, take off your belt, count to 3, but nobody wants to see them and especially not in public.

By the time you get to be elementary or teenage years you should be way beyond tantrums as a use to get your way. Using a tantrum speaks to your lack of reason. You have to come to the end of your emotional toolbox to resort to this method. You are looked at as even lower in development than those that can find resolution in other ways. It looks ridiculous from big kids, teenage and absolutely out of the question for adults.

A tantrum is essentially putting a stop to all work, all progress, all decisions, until you receive your way. With all the tools available to come to a resolution Tantrum is the least effective in adulthood. Imagine if a co-worker faced with difficulty dropped to their back and started flailing and screaming to get their way? What if a co-worker threatened to do No work until you do what they tell you to do?. There is an immediate loss of respect for that person for even resorting to that method.

I would hope that our elected officials in the highest levels of congress would have learned how to reason and compromise to do what’s ultimately best for our country. Whether you call it a Shutdown, strategic tactic, or a tantrum I think we can agree that this is not an acceptable if we want to make progress quickly. If nothing else, work it out so we can show the kids how grown-ups are supposed to behave.

 

Michael Worthy is  a father of 4 sons. A Howard University Alum, born and raised in Alaska.  Twitter:@SoularPowered  Affectdad.tumblr.com

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  • Obama needs to stand his ground and should not negotiate with Gop, extremist idéologues,who are holding the country hostage.
    No to republicans blackmails.

  • Kristin

    Excellent commentary! Both sides have dug I’m their heels and gone donkey feet. And who gets hurt? The public. I like the point that someone who uses a tantrum has reached the end of their emotional tool box.

  • Mike

    So who gets to spank the “elected officials”. Unfortunately most of them would probably get off on it……

  • lea

    i’m convinced they are trying to give that man high blood pressure in office, and with all of this sudden shootouts and the nation’s capitol, they might want to hire extra security too before they literally kill that man. if there is a way those house members to be impeached, or could SC rule against their shutdown? since whitehouse.gov is down, we can’t make petitions to impeach those children posing as elected officials.