My Interview with Susan Dench
I recently had the opportunity to interview a very inspiring mother, Susan Dench. I have to admit that I was super-excited to have a chance to interview her because she and I share a lot of the same views on parenting, politics and just life in general. When I picked up the phone to call her, I had to collect my thoughts and attempt to act like a professional instead of a giddy little schoolgirl. Can you believe that? I’ve met rock stars, movie stars and sports figures and have never gotten this excited about an interview before!
What Inspired Susan Dench’s Mission?
Susan and I started off the interview by discussing what influenced her to set off on this mission to promote personal responsibility in our nation. The story itself is something that many parents of teens have dealt with before…the house party. However, it didn’t go down in the typical manner, as none of her children were present at this party.
It all started when Susan and her family planned to go out of town for the weekend. While they were away, one of her children’s friends had offered to watch the house and care for the Dench family’s pets. However, instead of just feeding the cats, the seemingly responsible teen decided to instead host a party. When Susan and her family returned, they found that 20 different kids had been partying in their home while they were away.
Like a good parent, Susan made an effort to contact all of the parents of the kids involved. Surprisingly, only two of the 20 kids involved were forced to apologize to Susan and her family by their parents. The majority of the parents whose children were involved in this incident were either indifferent or actually ridiculed her for calling them to inform them of their child’s participation in an act that in many states is illegal. She heard countless parents say, “Well, they are teenagers,” or “What did you expect?” or “What do you want me to do about it? They are kids!”
Yet, what she really should have been hearing is something along the line of…”Johnny Smith…you get your conniving little butt over to Mrs. Dench’s house and apologize to her! And don’t you even think about texting or emailing your friends to warn them because your computer and your cell phone are off limits for a month! If there were any damages to the Dench’s home, you’d better believe that you’ll be spending your summer and any other spare time you have working to pay for them.”
What would you say if you were to find out that one of your children were involved in something like this? Would you make excuses for them or would you be stern and force them to realize that they have to be held responsible for their actions?
Parents Should Make Themselves Obsolete
About an hour after the interview, I decided to see how my Facebook fans would react to a few things that Susan and I had discussed. This is a hot-button topic, so in the back of my head, I was concerned that someone might be offended. Here’s what I posted: “Susan Dench feels that a parent’s job is to make themselves obsolete. Do you agree?” I got an amazing response. Although a few responded that they disagreed, the reasoning behind their disagreement seemed to indicate that they actually did agree with the meaning behind Susan’s comment. That said, I want to clarify the meaning of her comment.
Susan told me, “A parent’s job is to make themselves obsolete. Not during the critical points in the child’s life (birth – 18), but in adulthood. If your children grow up to be responsible, productive members of society that can live on their own without your financial assistance, then you have done your job as a parent because you have essentially fulfilled your role and responsibilities.”
Will your children still need you from time to time? Possibly. There is no perfect life and with the economy in the tank, there may come a time when your kids come to you for assistance in the form of a repayable loan. That’s not what Susan is referring to.
She’s talking about “kids” that are beyond the age of independence, people in their 20′s, 30′s, 40′s and beyond who are STILL living off of their parents. A recent poll showed that nearly 19% of people aged 18 – 34, 6% of individuals aged 35-49, 4% of individuals aged 50-64 and 2% of individuals aged 65 and older were still regularly receiving financial assistance from their parents. It was not clear in the study whether this assistance was in the form of room and board, cash, having their bills paid, vehicles bought for them or having their groceries paid for. Yet, I found it a bit disturbing to realize that more than 30% of our population is reliant upon their parents for support. Borrowing is one thing, but having it handed to you or expecting it with no intentions of ever paying it back is something completely different.
This dependence results from a lack of personal responsibility. Susan stated, “If parents fail to hold their children responsible for their actions, the children will go on thinking that this is how the world works. In other words, these are the people that grow up to act like they are “owed” this support instead of believing that they should work for what they want or need.”
“The problem”, she confided, “is that it’s so much easier to be a friend than a parent. Parenting is hard work!”
The Results of Not Instilling Personal Responsibility in Our Children
What Susan Dench is trying to prevent is a mass of adults that have chosen to rely on their parents or someone else to support them instead of working for what they want or need. And what happens when the parents or caregivers pass on? Who supports these people then? Yep, you guessed it; the taxpayer. We, the nation that takes pride in our independence, are actively creating a nation of dependents.
So let me ask a few questions…
Have you ever went to your child’s school to argue a punishment that was handed down by a teacher, principal or assistant principal for something that warranted action by the school?
Have you argued with a coach that your child should have made the team when they didn’t make the effort to practice?
Have you ever pressed a teacher to give your child a better grade than he or she truly deserved?
Dench states that parents that fail to back up the teachers, coaches and principals are not doing anything to help their children. Instead, parents are hurting their children by continuing to enable this behavior. If you answered, “Yes,” to any of the questions above and without good reason, you likely fall into this new wave of parents that are essentially promoting irresponsibility.
Susan’s Views on the State of Education Today
I know that a lot of parents have been questioning the curriculum that our children have today. I am one of them. I find it difficult to believe that books are so hard to come by that a school cannot purchase enough of them for students to bring home. I find it odd that what is being taught in the tenth grade, I learned in the sixth. I struggle with myself on an almost daily basis trying to make sense of the state of our school system here in Illinois, but I’m certain that my state and school district is not the only one that is suffering a lack of educational value. I’ve talked to other parents around the nation and many have stated that they feel that their child’s curriculum is lacking. Since this is such an important topic to me, I asked Susan how she felt about the education system.
“I think that our kids are being dumbed-down.” Dench continued, “I think it has to do with the government wanting to keep the power, really. Knowledge is power and an education can help a person become independent. I often think that the government wants us to remain dependent because the more people that are dependent on the government, the longer it takes to get them out of power.”
There’s no doubt that today’s educational curriculum is at a much lower standard then when we, the parents, attended school. My stepdaughter, for instance, was given a coloring activity a few months ago. She’s in tenth grade. I personally don’t remember having any coloring activities at all after exiting the 2nd grade. I mentioned this to Susan and her response was a long pause, followed by, “That’s just unbelievable. She’s a sophomore in high school, and they gave her crayons?”
Then she said something that made a whole lot of sense, “I believe that there should be five R’s that we should base our education system on. Reading, writing, arithmetic, respect and responsibility.”
It seems to me that we used to be taught these things because parents didn’t put up with nearly as much as they do today. We’ve gotten lax.
It’s not a joke!
Jay Leno makes cracks about our nation’s stupidity quite frequently. In fact, he has a little segment on his show called Jaywalking where he actually proves how many uneducated people there are in our nation. Some of them can’t even tell you who the first president of the United States was. You’ve seen it before, right?
The sad thing is that we find this amusing. Why? Why on earth is it funny that someone that was born and educated in the United States cannot tell you who the first president of the United States was? All this does is prove that our nation is running rampant with uneducated people. It shouldn’t be that easy to find someone that cannot answer a question about our nation’s history.
In fact, did you know that 1/3 of U.S. citizens cannot correctly answer the questions that immigrants are required to answer to become U.S. citizens?
What does that say about our nation?
Our Government is a Perfect Example of What We Can Expect, But It Can Get Worse
Look at our government. Does our government display responsibility? What one person used to be able to do now takes 10 to complete. You can see this clearly by looking back 20 years and seeing how much our government has grown. In order to support those fat government paychecks and ridiculous pensions, the burden falls on the taxpayer. They bailed out the financial industry and the auto industry…and for what? To allow corporate idiots to spend our tax dollars on company retreats, bonuses and other frivolous things? How much of that bail-out cash went into a CEO’s pocket before the government realized that they should have put a strict set of stipulations in place, along with a clear list of repercussions if the rules were not followed? And what happened to those who spent that cash? Nothing. There’s no accountability! Our government is feeding this dependency by example – and why not? A nation of dependents means that the government can keep them dependent. In other words…by doing this, we are giving our government full reign.
And how fair is our government? Think about this. Our government has implemented a health care system that the President, Congress and the House are not willing to utilize for themselves. And what about their pension plans? It’s nice that they can retire after just one term with around 80% of their pay, while the typical American taxpayer is forced to work until (now) age 67.5 in order to obtain social security. Make no mistake; our government thinks that they are entitled to better services than the taxpayers that fund their paychecks. Let me say that again…ENTITLED.
Our forefathers founded this country and our government as one that was for the people, by the people. Our forefathers were part of a citizen-government. They were inventors, printing press owners, farmers, physicians, lawyers, merchants, traders and scientists. They enacted laws that governed all people, them included. I wonder what they would think of our nation today.
All of what we are experiencing today can get much worse if this downward spiral continues. As Susan stated, “This could mark the end of democracy as we know it. Think about it. How many people are on welfare now? Those numbers are rising every day. Pay attention. How many people are out there walking around with this victim mentality? This is our future we’re talking about and it’s at stake. Think about Greece and France. We are next if we don’t shape up.”
More About Susan Dench
Susan Dench is a transplant citizen. Originally born in England, she came here with her family at a young age and was educated here in the United States. She, her mother, father and siblings came here in hope of a better opportunity. In order to obtain citizenship, she and her family were constantly monitored, tested and reviewed to make sure that they were doing everything properly. Her father was required to show that he was gainfully employed and could support his family, while the household was regularly visited to ensure that the family was living healthy and learning what was required for citizenship.
Saying that Susan Dench is a mother on a mission is just the beginning. This is a woman that is passionate about the issue of personal responsibility and she is more than determined to spread the word. She recently wrote the book, “The Responsibility Rules.” The books discusses how many in America today act as if they are victims, constantly playing the Blame Game. The book covers both the victim and entitlement mentalities, as well as the repercussions of these mentalities on the person and on the nation as a whole.
The book is available on Amazon and is selling like hotcakes! It’s no wonder, really. Susan has a lot to say and parents everywhere should read up. We need to make a change in our nation before it’s too late.
Of course, it’s not necessary to purchase Susan’s book to learn more about her. She’s becoming more popular around the nation by the minute due to her overwhelming passion for these issues. If you’re interested in learning more about Susan Dench and the issues that she supports, I strongly suggest that you take a moment or two to check out her interview on Fox & Friends. You can also visit her blog, SusanDench.com.