A 6-year-old Was Told What?! …. why? Why? WHY?! WHY?!! WHY?!!!

“Cyber-bullying has reached the extreme with a ‘game’ that entices you to commit suicide.”

Real quick “Sea Story” before we dive into this disturbing topic…

If you want to really understand something…

It was my first tour in the military right after my initial training.  We had been molded in a pseudo-environment creating stress for us to learn to deal with.  I remember always looking forward to a “head call” (aka class trip to the bathroom) because I knew it was a break from the constant yelling from our Drill Instructor.  It didn’t take long to learn that in order to leave the bathroom the Drill Instructor would scream out a command to “SAY MY DITTY!” At which point we all instantly screamed “Discipline. D-I-S-C-I-P-L-I-N-E. Discipline is the instant willing obedience to orders, respect for authority, and self-reliance!”.  So much for the peaceful bathroom break.

After three months of discipline, I definitely had a respect for authority.  So much so, that it took awhile to adjust to the non-training day-to-day life in the military.  At training, our class-officer was made out to be a senior person…we military newbies didn’t know any better.  We’d later learn that the class officers (which held the O-3 rank – aka junior officers) was really just someone still stuck in college mode, but with more responsibility, slowly edging their way to maturity.

So when I arrived at my first non-training, operational command, briefing someone 3 levels higher in rank than my class officer seemed intimidating.  On top of the amplified “respect for authority” coming out of training, the guy was 6’ 5”, fit, with a name that even sounded menacing. Needless to say, I was slightly intimidated even though I’ve always enjoyed public speaking.

The time came to give the brief with about 30 people in the room including the menacing O-6 (let’s just call him Captain Menacing for now) front and center.  Little did I know that something he would ask me during this brief would change the way I thought about everything…

During my brief, I made a declarative statement.  Captain Menacing jumped in and said, “This is going to seem annoying…but why?”  I elaborated a little on my original statement. “Why?” he asked. Starting to have to think on the spot, I elaborated some more.  “Why?” he asked for the third time. Now I was just trying to not sound like an idiot by repeating what I already said with different words.  “Why?” he asked for a fourth time. With a slight sarcastic grin on my face, I reworded my last answer while releasing all hope of appearing intelligent on the topic.  To my chagrin, I heard the dreaded, stupid, awful question one more time. “Why?” Then I finally responded with the smartest thing I had said in the entire brief… “I’ll find out and get back to you, sir.”

I later ended up eating lunch with Captain Menacing and he became Captain Mentor to me.  He went on to tell me about Sakichi Toyoda and his “5 Whys” technique. “If you want to understand something, ask why 5 times,” he told me while sipping a coffee.  I wanted desperately to respond with, “Why?” but held back the urge to respect the authority.

Captain Mentor has always stayed in the back of my mind because of that single event.  I am in a role that requires pretty constant public speaking and usually to groups of people with far more technical knowledge than I’ll ever have.  When I prepare for those briefs, I now look at every bullet point on the chart and ask myself how many layers down I can go on the subject. If it’s less than 5, I get to work.

While I’ve used the “5 Whys” technique over and over on technical problems, I hadn’t really applied it to more vague, social issues.  However, recently I had heard about a 6-year-old who had been told about a video game in school where it entices you to commit suicide.  I’m not sure if it was in a “bullying” mindset or just a “young boys trying to be cool” mindset. Regardless, it sickened me. What in the world is happening to the world?  More importantly, why? Why? Why? Why? Why?

Problem:  Kids are bragging about a game that entices you to commit suicide.

#1 Why:  Why are kids bragging about video-games encouraging suicide?

Answer:  Kids need attention and approval.  

Kids want to be popular and be “in the know.”  Bragging about topics as revolting as video games like this provide an element of secrecy, an element of exclusivity that raises their social standing.

#2 Why:  Why do kids need more attention?

Answer:  They don’t get the attention and approval they need at home.  

#3 Why:  Why don’t kids get enough attention at home?

Answer:  Parents are not available mentally and physically for quality time with their kids.  

#4 Why:  Why are families not having quality time?

Answer:  Parents are working more to buy more.  

#5 Why:  Why are parents working and buying more?

Answer:  Parents need attention and approval.

What’s behind it all?

Nowadays, the majority of families have two working parents that are at work and sleeping on average 57% of the week.  A recent Gallup poll reported that 67% of Americans don’t enjoy their jobs. That means that the majority of families have two parents that come home around supper time from spending the day doing something they don’t like.  When they get home, all they want to do is take a break from it all and turn on a show, or browse social media, something they don’t need to put effort into. They are too exhausted to get down on the floor and play with their kids, mentor them, or explain that video games where you commit suicide are not a great thing.

In order to make up for that lost quality time, people buy material things for the kids.  “Happy 7th birthday! Here’s an iPhone to keep you company!” They want their kids to not be left out from the other kids experiencing the same thing, so they buy more things, and more.  In order to pay for those things, they need to work more.

Parents experience the same scenarios as kids at school just with a different, more subtle, type of bullying…Keeping up with the Joneses.  

When parents spend the majority of their time working, doing something they don’t enjoy, often feeling not appreciated, that mentality invades the home and the next generation.  

Instead of doing what would make themselves happy, people focus on what would make other people approve of them.  It’s a dangerous situation to be in. Unfortunately, that is where we are at as a society. I don’t know about you, but that’s not the world I want to leave for my future generations.

I believe that many of the growing lack of morality issues we see in the world are inversely related to family time.  

The only way we can reverse this is to go back to the basics: Love God, love yourself, and love each other. When you do this, you follow your calling (so you enjoy what you do), you focus on what’s important to you (not the approval of others), and you help others do the same.  If we don’t do this, the downward spiral we are currently in will continue.

It’s time for a paradigm shift, people…

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