The young mother was visiting Grandmom with her two small children. It was about 4:30 and the older asked for a cookie. The mother replied that dinner was in less than an hour, so he couldn’t have a cookie right then.
Grandmom poked her head in, saying that cookies had milk and eggs and flour in them, so they really were like a flat biscuit and therefore the wonderful grandchild should certainly be allowed to have the cookie. It would just be like starting dinner early.
The mother looked at Grandmom in surprise and confusion.
"Who are you, and where were you when I was growing up?" she exclaimed.
The older woman smiled and said, "When you were little, I was in charge of making sure you learned discipline and nutrition, but now I am the grandmother and I get to spoil the little ones while you get to raise them." Then she joined her grandchild in a chorus of "Please!"
Mom laughed and the little one got his cookie. That time.
Welcome to the Nanny state, where America is building a government that behaves like Grandmom.
We want our cookies, whether it is the appropriate time for a cookie or not. We don’t want to hear about delay or denial. We don’t really care how much the cookie costs, as long as someone else is paying the bill. We aren’t interested in how eating today’s cookie will impact our health tomorrow. And we want to eat our whole cookie without having to share.
When a discussion about government programs arises, everyone is "against them because they are a waste of money", until someone happens to mention the specific program that the "everyone" doing the complaining is receiving a benefit from. Then "everyone’s" conversation changes to a defense of the one necessary and beneficial program (his) and a complaint about all the other ones.
A Mom would point out the contradiction between the two positions. A Mom would explain that while "everyone" is getting a benefit from one program, he is paying for all the programs. A Mom would encourage "everyone" to take the steps necessary to achieve independence.
A grandmother however, would not. Neither does the Nanny state.
The Nanny state makes excuses so the citizens can keep receiving their cookies. The Nanny state steps between parent and child to provide that cookie over the objections of the parents. The Nanny state provides enough cookies to keep the citizen from feeling hungry for real nutrition and working to create real meals.
Citizens of a Nanny state, like children fed on a diet of cookies, begin to develop the symptoms of obesity – they get lethargic. As long as the cookies keep appearing, they have no motivation to change their behavior.
The difference between our story and the Nanny state is that in our story, Grandmom understood Mom’s role, and supported it. She did not overrule Mom, she stepped into a different role in the family structure.
The Nanny state does neither. In the Nanny state, Mom is a problem. So the establishment, over the past two decades, has moved from considering motherhood the highest vocation to calling those who spend their lives raising the next generation "just" mothers. And it has happened so quietly that most mothers don’t realize the extent of the loss of respect until they are on the receiving end – usually from their own children.
Mothers are the first line of defense against the Nanny State. This Mother’s Day, we need to strengthen that line.