Friday, March 30, 2012

Today's Parents Ruining Kids With "Too Much, Too Easy, Too Early," Speaker Says

Parents today, overly permissive and indulgent of their children’s whims, are not only setting up their sons and daughters for failure but are jeopardizing the economic future of America, a nationally known motivational speaker told an audience of Southwest Side parents and children earlier this week.

“We give our kids too much, too easy, too early,” said Milton “Bigg Milt” Creagh. “Momma and Daddy, stop it. Absolutely stop it.”

Creagh delivered his straight-talk remarks to an audience of about 75 in the auditorium of Kennedy High School. It was his fourth presentation of the day, having spoken with larger audiences of students at several local public elementary schools.

Raised in the South Side’s Englewood neighborhood, Creagh drew contrasts between parent/child relationships of 40 years ago and today.

“Today, we buy kids crap all year long; and then at Christmastime we have to throw toys away just to make room for the new toys,” Creagh said. “When our kids are old enough to drive, we buy them cars. Not the kind of used cars we had when we were their age. We buy them new cars. Nice cars. Expensive cars.”

“Drive past most high schools today,” he continued. “Look at the faculty parking lot, and then look at the student parking lot. Which one has better cars? You guessed it. The student lot.”

“Momma and Daddy, there is something wrong with this country when a snot-nosed kid with no high school diploma, no college degree and no full-time job is driving a better car than his teacher---a person with a high school diploma, a college degree and a full-time job.”

Creagh stated that today’s parents are unwittingly raising the next generation to have unrealistic expectations about success in life. “When you give your child the best, you are starting them off at your level. But what they don’t understand is that mom and dad didn’t start there. It took mom and dad years to build themselves up to that point. But kids don’t buy into the concept of taking time and effort to build themselves up, because they weren’t taught that. They were taught they can have everything now. So when they go out into the world, they discover they can’t instantly recreate their parents’ level of income, so they feel like failures. That helps explain why 50 percent of your kids will end up living with you, as a dependent.”

Creagh chided parents who do not require their children to regularly do chores around the house; and parents who do assign chores, but pay their kids to do them.

“What we have produced in this country is a generation that is smart but lazy,” he said, “and that has very serious and negative consequences for our economic future.”

Noting the title of his new book (“Nobody Wants Your Child”), Creagh stated, “If you don’t teach your child to respect money and to budget money---and if you don’t teach your child how to work, no employer will want your child.”

He offered anecdotal evidence to argue that many employers in the U.S. today do not want to hire American-born teenagers of any race, preferring instead to hire immigrants who they see as having a much stronger work ethic.

“And beyond that, you know who employers prefer to hire these days?” he asked. “Senior citizens and people who are mentally challenged. Why? Because they are dependable. They show up on time, and they work hard.”

Creagh incorporated his own family history (his great-grandfather was a former slave who risked imprisonment and lynching in Georgia when he violated local laws against teaching African-Americans to read) as he discussed the importance of education as a tool of empowerment. He urged all parents to push their sons and daughters harder to “put in the hours” to succeed academically and become better citizens.

He also spoke out again cyber-bullying, its de-humanizing effects and sometimes deadly consequences.

Creagh’s visit to Chicago was sponsored and paid for by the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, as part of their national Drug Awareness Program (DAP). The Elks have partnered with Creagh to implement his “UR Choice UR Voice” training program to educate teens about the dangers of drug abuse and motivate them to make responsible and healthy choices in life. His talks on better parenting are designed to support the messages he delivers to teenagers.

“This is important work, and we are pleased to partner with Milt,” said Elks DAP Assistant Director Frank J. Burr. “He is a great speaker and motivator who makes a strong and positive impact on both students and parents. He fits in well with DAP, which is the largest voluntary drug awareness program in the U.S., and which reflects the Elks’ ongoing commitment to eliminating drug abuse.”

Creagh’s visit also was made possible through the efforts of Garfield Ridge resident Tina M. Haran, Illinois Elks Association convention coordinator and secretary of the Elks’ Oak Lawn Lodge 2254; and Kinzie School Principal Martin W. McGreal. Haran is the mother of a Kinzie student.

"We are grateful that Bigg Milt joined us today," McGreal added. "While his message about coddling children is blunt, he is also very supportive of parents who accept his challenge to set and enforce rules designed to push their sons and daughters toward lives as responsible, self-sufficient, successful adults."

"We are also grateful for all the Elks do with our local elementary schools---not only through their Drug Awareness Program, but through their work with Honor Flight Chicago, teaching students about the importance of supporting our nation's military veterans."

For more information on the Elks’ DAP, visit

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  1. Having spent years teaching in Chicago Public Schools on the high-school level, "Bigg Milt" is right on. Blame the teachers all you want, but the reason little Johnny's and little Susie's grades are atrocious is often because of poor attendance, late attendance, and a lack of homework being completed on time, and correctly. Parents are "too busy" to curb their kids and make them come home at a reasonable hour. They are "too busy" with their own lives to sit down with their kids and work through homework together. Those are factors that can only be controlled at home. Sure there are some real dogs in the teaching profession, just as there are in EVERY profession; but that doesn't change the fact that kids' "home" lives are non-existent. They run home to plug themselves in to fantasy worlds on the X-box or whatever "artist" is singing about 22's, hoes, gettin' low, their lady humps, etc. It's pathetic. Their is no work ethic and no sense of EARNING what one deserves - and that includes the kids that are more interested in "takin" (not EARNING) what they want AND parents who think the teachers should do that work for them.

    People may say I run my household with an iron fist, but I'm proud that my kid is a socially responsible and academically successful young person with appropriate friendships, realistic goals, respect for elders/police/teacher/fire department personnel/neighbors and those in positions of earned respect and authority in their community, and a sense of working toward a greater good and a successful future. It doesn't happen on its own. I give up most of my "me" time. But it's important. And more parents should stop waiting for everyone else to do it for a paycheck on their behalf.

  2. I agree with D, too much blame is put on teachers. I work at a college and I cannot tell you the number of times the newly young adults get caught doing something inappropriate (cheating, for one) and are genuinely shocked there are consequences. One might say that's their high school's fault. No. It's their parents' fault for beholding the schools to their whims and tantrums--and the kids have the same tantrums. The kids come in with a shopping mall mentality as if they pay my salary, as if they are patrons in a restaurant giving me their business. Meanwhile, I am paying their tuition *their* financial aid with my taxes.

    Many are truly shocked that a lot of faculty and staff do not speak to them with bargaining and pleading, but straight up, "Do it or you can leave right now. I have far too many people to deal with at the moment."