By Don Rush

This whole Critical Race Theory (CRT) seems to be a spectacle in the making — a mud-slinging contest which could go on for years. So, why talk about it now? Why get bent out of shape for something “they” say “isn’t” taught in elementary and secondary schools? Why?
It came to me the other evening, right before my eyes closed for another good night’s rest. “It” being CDT. No, not Critical Don Theory. We oughta’ be thinking about Critical Dad Theory (CDT). Critical Dad Theory is really pretty simple to grasp, and eventually I will get to it.
But first . . .
. . . Theories are for latte sipping brainiacs to debate while at their favorite coffee haus.
. . . Critical dads can be emotionally crushing and bummers to deal with.
. . . CDT is less about theory and critical dads, rather it’s more about dad philosophy.
The word “critical,” according to the 2,662 page Webster’s Third International Dictionary, published in 1965 can mean “inclinded to criticize severely and unfavorable.” Today, however, we’ll use another part of the definition — the part which states, “exercising or involving careful judgment or judicious evaluation.” (By the way, in our office, I am the only person who uses that big ol’ dictionary.)
So then, what is CDT? While it’s kinda’ multi-faceted way of life it can be boiled down to a couple of simple sentences: Be a good person. Don’t be a jerk.
I know, I know. Those are relatively vague sentences. What discriminating minds want to know is, “How do I be a good, non-jerk type of person?”
CDT says, to be a good, non-jerk type of person one must have respect. One must respect one’s self as well as respect for others. As you have respect for your own feelings and opinions, have respect for others emotions, opinions, personal space, belongings and family.
CDT also states, to keep an open mind. Be open to new ideas and better information. Understand, it is okay to change your mind if new, better information and experiences leads you to some place or idea you once ignored or disagreed with.
CDT believes it is okay to disagree with someone and still like that person; that tribalism — the “my way or the highway” way of thinking is the way of thinking for the weak of mind, even if that mind is super intelligent.
Being a good person is being a person of compassion and empathy.
CDT lets all know, life is not fair. Expect nothing to be given to you. What you get in life is what you put into it. What you get is what you earn, and sometimes what you earn gets taken from you by not good, jerky people. Why? Because life is not fair.
CDT acknowledges two things: life is both hard and beautiful.
CDT stresses to listen well, walk straight, shoulders back, headup, eyes scanning your surroundings.
CDT reminds you to wash your face, brush your teeth and hair. (Respect and present yourself respectfully.)
Self reliance and resilience are important to CDT. Get the job done and when you fail, get up and dust yourself off. Recover and try again. Do your best, even though your best may not be good enough to accomplish what you set out to do.
Be grateful for those things about you, for the people and experiences of every day you have been blessed with even though some of those people and experiences were negative — you can learn a lot from them.
CDT preaches to always learn. Always be the student of life, of history and of possibilities yet to come.
Don’t want to be a jerk?
Don’t steal. Don’t lie. Don’t murder.
Want to be a good person?
Be honest. Honor and respect your parents, old folks, young folks — all folks.
CDT agrees with the old adage which goes like, “treat others as you want to be treated.”
Oh, one more thing. Critical Dad Theory also realizes Moms rule the roost. Always listen to and love Mom.
* * *
And still more reader commentary about Lee “Indian Joe” Clasman.
Hi Don, I read your article in The Lake Orion Review about Indian Joe. I, too, have a story about him. In the 1960s I had a rental house on Howard Street in Pontiac. Lee’s mother, Mrs. Clasman, rented a little house on this property and Lee lived with her. Many times over those many years I would pick him up on M24 and take him wherever he was headed to. One occasion I remember in particular in the 1990s, I had been to a car show with my classic 1953 Ford convertible with the top down. I saw him walking North on Perry St., I stopped, picked him up and gave him a ride all the way to Clarkston Rd. He said he had never been in a convertible before and said how much he had enjoyed the ride.
He was a legend. Still today people ask me about him. “Indian Joe” will always be in my memory. — Fay R.
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