Well this week's episode has to do with Argentine culture and family life. We had dinner last night with an investigator family -- a quite well-to-do couple -- she's the owner/operator of an Enlish school and he's a cattle rancher with his father -- really nice people to whom we've given a Book of Mormon and she's come to church a couple of times. So we're talking after dinner last night and asked them what youth do around here for recreation since they have a couple of boys. What they told us shocked us. They said there really isn't anything for youth to do besides hang out at the "airport" -- a vacant field where they gather on the weekend, listen to music, ride motos, and sip mate (pronounced ma-tay). Beyond that they said the kids all go to "discos". But they don't even leave home until midnight or later, stay out all night, don't come home 'til morning, and then sleep until mid-afternoon. They said these discos are bad news -- there's unrestrained drinking and drugging and who knows what else going on all night -- and kids as young as 14 - 15 years old are involved. When we expressed disbelief, our friends told us there isn't anything they can do about it -- that's what kids do here and if they (the parents) tried to stop them, they'd just sneak out and do it anyway. Our friend's friend/business partner who had joined us for dinner told us the way she "controls" her 15 year old daughter is by not giving her much money so she can't buy too much alcohol. Wow!! Now that's parental control at its best. There's a complete lack of discipline apparently when it comes to guiding teenagers, which of course accounts for why fewer and fewer couples get married in Argentina -- everybody just "shacks-up" because there's been no real direction during the formative teen years. There's another incentive to just live together too -- the government pays single (un-wed) mothers nearly 300 pesos ($75) a month per child. So the idea is to just have kids out of wedlock, live together, and collect the government handout. What a great system!! -- get paid to not get married!! So young people have an up-hill battle to try and stay on track around here.
They (our friends) practically scoffed at the idea of having a Church sponsored dance a couple of times a month for member and non-member youth to go to on the weekend -- they said they just wouldn't go or if they did they'd leave after it was over and go the all-night disco. We're going to do it anyway -- there are kids who already come to the Church every weekend to play soccer and ping-pong.
So we thoroughly enjoyed the evening with our Argentine friends, but it was a real eye-opener as far as how the family functions and kids are raised. Mom and I came away feeling very thankful that we're done raising our family and that we did it in the US of A under the umbrella of the Church. It's no wonder countries around the world are disintegrating -- traditional families with moral values and structure are an endangered species. But that's why we're here -- to teach them different -- to teach them that families can be together forever -- like ours!! Thank you all for embracing the gospel and doing your best to live it in your own families.
Well, guess I better close for now. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers in our behalf. This really is a unique learing experience.
Love ya, love ya, kiss, hug,