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Can't We Just Kick This Old School?

“Can’t we just kick this old school?”

From the movie “Juno”

My niece tells me that my husband and I are the youngest “old school” people she knows.

We take that as a compliment.

My husband, BMNB, and I, think a lot alike. Blame it on our parents.

My husband’s parents are from Alabama, while my dad is from Arkansas and my mom was from Sacramento. When you have at least one southern parent, you’re bound to be “old school.”

What exactly does it mean to be “old school”?

It means telling a young but wayward man in your family that he needs to get a job and stop living off his mother.

It means that you make children in your family respond to you by saying, “Yes, sir” and “Yes, ma’am.”

It means you don’t negotiate with children. You listen to them, you consider their points of view, but when it comes to the important things in their lives, like education, increased freedoms, etc., you are, in the words of President Bush, the “decider.”

It means you don’t brook sarcasm from children. Sarcasm is for peers. We are not their peers. We’re their elders.

It means that you don’t let children tell you what they’re going to do, as in, “I’m going down the street.” It means that you make children ask you if they can do things, as in, “May I go down the street?”

It means that you aren’t afraid to snatch a child up in public, CPS be damned.

It means you try not to wear out your welcome. Don’t arrive too late, don’t stay too long, don’t eat too much. Well, BMNB has a problem with that last one.

It means you still believe in corporal punishment. As a last resort, but it’s definitely a weapon in the arsenal. As my late mother said to my brother when he told her not to whip his son (her grandson), “I’ll beat him AND you, too.”

It means you regularly invoke the words and phrases of the old school vocabulary and phrase book, oftentimes when talking about your own relatives: “triflin’,” “triflin’ negro,” “foolishness,” “hot mess,” “that don’t make no kind of sense” “lazy good for nothin’,” “sorry-ass,” and “ain’t got a lick of sense.”

It means you pull people you love to the side to “pull their coattails.” If you’re old school, you know what I mean.

It means that you don’t part easily with your money, no matter the sob story your loved one gives you.

It means you don’t give kids money for anything but their birthdays and Christmas; otherwise, they have to work for it.

It means living below your means, because you never know when The Man is going to act funky and make your job unbearable.

It means your spirit is older and wiser than your years would suggest. Or so you hope.

Here’s to all the old school folks out there!


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