Get your own ham; it’s all about self reliance

When my son was just shy of his fifth year, we found ourselves in an Old Country Buffet on a Saturday afternoon. For those of you not familiar with the format of the all-you-can-eat-for-one-low-price buffet, these places usually have a lower price afternoon service that did not include carved meats and a higher price evening service that started about 4:00pm. For the extra savvy buffet-goer, it was generally known that if you came in about 3:30 or so and stalled a bit on some salad, you could sneak in and get the good stuff for a lunch price. I did not partake of this little loophole but sometimes, we found ourselves in that limbo time.



23 Replies to “Get your own ham; it’s all about self reliance”

  1. I LOVE that ham story! When I was 16 I wanted my Dad to go with me to the ATM for the first time. He told me to go on my own & I’d be fine. I was furious with him for not even riding in the car with me! But I did it & learned that same self reliance your son did.

    I’d venture to say that self reliance, hand-in-hand with critical thinking skills, would arm anyone sufficiently for the real world.

  2. Becky, your dad is a very wise man πŸ™‚

    Yup, I would tend to agree with you. I think that too many college students worry about gaining specific skills for a career rather than learning general skills and knowledge that can be adapted around whatever they are doing. When I was getting an English degree even in the dark days when college were still in the education business, people would ask me “what the hell are you going to do with an English degree?” Turns out, it’s been useful for pretty much anything I needed or wanted to do!

  3. Loved this post- reminds me of the upbringing I had!

    Good parents keep their kids close, but let them make their own way(often mistakes). Learning about the world around you is how you survive.

    Really great read.

  4. Thanks! It’s the old “lead from behind” trick. Should be in every parent’s handbook. The really scary part for me is I just kinda haplessly tripped into this knowledge. Thankfully, I was a quick learner and saw a moral story unfolding as my son was chewing that ham. Parenting can’t be this serendipitous, can it?

  5. The ham story is a classic one and not too dissimilar a story that quite a few people your age might have (I am inferring your age since you told me your children’s age).

    For my Dad, it wasn’t get your own ham it was “seven”. Whenever we asked for something and got an answer we didn’t like and we moved onto to asking/ begging, his next response was “seven” and like “get you own ham”, that meant he wasn’t going to move off his position so move forward and deal with it yourself. I thought it was mean and made my father appear cold or indifferent at the time but now that I have my own 6 year old, the things he did are appearing in a new light.

    Nice post.

  6. The world is a harsh place. Being nipped at by someone in the pack who loves you is far less painful than being ripped apart by those who could care less about you.

  7. I am a geezer at heart as I agree with you in the main. I “forced” my son to get a bus pass when he wanted to go (as a 14-year-old) to a summer class at the city college. He pleaded for a ride. I told him that everywhere else in the world, kids took buses and he’d be fine. He did it and was just as scared as your son at five. But then he came home and talked all about how fun the bus was because you could do stuff “without your parents.” And he took special pride in lording his independence over his 16-year-old cousin who was still getting rides.
    Hard-working kids do exist, and I work with them, but for the most part (I am sad to admit), self-reliance has been replaced with parent-reliance.

  8. Self reliance AND peer pressure. Gotta love the results that produces when used for good. πŸ™‚ Hard-working kids do exist and smart geezers seek them out. If growing up were easy, everyone would be doing it, right?

  9. Totally agree. Gen-Y is very whiny and self-absorbed, and we probably wouldn’t be if we were more self reliant. I’ve had full time jobs almost consistently since the time I turned 15, but going back for my senior year of college this fall, I’d still have to say that the biggest thing I’ve learned at school is self-reliance.

  10. The biggest thing I learned in college was how to stand in line for hours! I can turn my brain off, lock my knees and just stand without going crazy. But you kids today don’t even have lines, just spinning cursors on busy registration systems πŸ™‚

  11. Geezer generation? which one is that, and please make sure I don’t qualify!
    I was 17 when my parents put me on a plane to LA to start college at USC, all by myself. It was one of the biggest adventures of my life and boy was I scared. But after that, I knew I could do anything. I feel sad that kids don’t have that these days.

  12. HA! If you have to ask if you are a member of a Geezer generation, you probably are. If you are now fighting against this label, you DEFINITELY are πŸ™‚

    If any parent put a 17 year-old on a plane cross country these days, they would be hauled into court for endangering a minor. Another sad sorry fact; If I took a photo of my kids in a bathtub in Ohio, I could be arrested as a sexual offender, serve time and have to register my whole life. So, no photo exists. I see the State’s point of view, but we’ve gotten to the precipice of insanity with some of this stuff. Is it power or just rampant stupidity from law enforcement? Probably both.

  13. Hey Dad Dog – this story is sublime, nice way to change the lessons to a whole life, not just one period. Ham can take its place next to the beloved “walked five miles in the snow.” Wonder how your son tells the story?

    I really cannot believe all those laws prohibiting teenagers from working. pshaw on us! towards what purpose? does not make sense. lk you, I did so many jobs as a kid, I would have been gone to college broke, graduated in debt instead of completely out of cash. Plus I sure learned to be frugal. So the system is hurting those generations. Spoken like a geezer, I spose! heh.

    cindy @urbanverse

  14. If you want to know how he tells the story, ping him at @chirn9980 and ask! πŸ™‚ He is probably watching these comments anyway and chuckling.

    We’re protecting the children from the big, bad corporations that want to profit from child labor, of course! It’s all about the children.

  15. I enjoyed the story very much. Thanks for the optimism. I’m not sure which generation I am, but I feel like I’ve been ragged on my whole life. Finally somebody with faith in younger people.

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