Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Rewarding the Wrong Behavior

Why do we reward awful behavior and then complain about it? To me, this is one of the major things wrong with society. Let me try to explain what I mean.

I have to wonderful nieces. They grew up with us in the same house, so they were raised more like sisters than cousins. As children, they had completely opposite personalities. Cee was a very sweet-natured and soft-hearted kid. Tee was tougher and, out of jealousy (since she was in the home with us first), she could sometimes be mean to Cee. For the most part, they were very close and got along - just like siblings. Sometimes, though, their personalities clashed. Tee would do something mean and Cee would come crying to us about it. Once, when we just got tired of Cee crying to us about it, we scolded her, telling her to take up for herself. "Stop being such a baby. You have to quit letting Tee bully you."

Of course, we got on Tee about her behavior, but my point is, it's as if we blamed Cee for being the one who wasn't a little pain in the a**. I look back on it and think that we have taught the girls a better lesson if we had done something to reward Cee's sweetness. (It's all worked out. The girls are still like sisters and they love each other, but, still...)

We see this kind of thing in so many situations. We pay so much attention to celebrities who don't show the best judgement. We write headlines about serial killers and teachers who molest their students. When was the last time someone who did something wonderful got as much press? When was the last time a magazine put a celebrity on its cover for doing something amazingly nice? When was the last time such a celeb was paid to attend a club or public event - just because of the attention they'd attract. A celebrity who's been out of the news for a minute knows that all they have to do to get back in the spotlight is do something ignorant. Those of us buying magazines and reading the gossip sites are the ones paying for Paris Hilton's lifestyle. If no one paid attention to her for the way she is, she might do something more productive with her life. But can you blame her? Can you blame little girls who are poor and hungry now for wanting to be the next rich Lindsey, Paris or Britney? The media powers-that-be are not making a big deal of folks who study math and science. How many people know about the brains behind the newest medical breakthroughs. Now, how many people know who won the last American Idol?

I'm not pointing fingers without aiming the first one at myself. I mean, I just about broke my neck watching the Scott Peterson trial coverage. So did half of America. What's wrong with us??? This is the kind of thing that makes me wonder of sicko people don't go ahead and act out their sicko fantasies because they know they are going to get their 15 minutes of fame for it...

I can name a long list of tacky celebs and criminals who've made the news in the past few years, but I'd have to go to Google to find out the names of everyday people who donate their time, money and caring to others. There's something sad about that. And, yes, I am ashamed of myself.