I hate to be the guy who says “back when I was a kid” but I’m going to do it anyway. Back when I was a kid:
- I played Army, Cops and Robbers, Star Wars, and G.I. Joes. I pretended to “shoot” my friends many times over, and they did likewise to me. It was all just a game and none of us grew up to be psychopaths.
- I built Lego forts, stuffed G.I Joes inside of them and tried blowing them up with firecrackers. I did not grow up to be a lunatic.
- I rode skateboards and bicycles outside with no helmet or safety gear. I jumped my bike off of homemade ramps and wiped out, I rode my skateboard downhill at stupid speeds and scarred my hands up when I hit the curb. I have the scars to prove all of it, and had a great mom to patch me up.
- I played pee wee football, baseball, basketball, sometimes our team lost horribly. Before I was in Junior High I had broken my wrist and leg playing Quarterback. Winning was everything and I relished the competition, more than that I hated to lose. The best kids played, those who were decent played when the game was already won, those who were not talented didn’t make the team. Teams who went to the playoffs and won their league got trophies, those who lost went home with a pat on the back.
- I got into fights on the playground, sometimes I won and sometimes I lost. Once I was pinned up against a door in front of many other kids by a much larger boy, fortunately the bell rang before it got too ugly. Another time a kid my size fought me on the playground, this time I won. Either way none of us complained, told on each other, went to counseling, or saw the Principal.
I wouldn’t be surprised if many of those who are reading this post had childhood experiences similar to my own. We played hard, got banged up and learned from it. I feel like things are much different now. I feel as though some forces within society are trying to create what H.G. Wells called the Eloi in his famous book, The Time Machine.
By the year 802,701 AD, humanity has evolved into two separate species: the Eloi and the Morlocks. The Eloi are the childlike, frail group, living a banal life of ease on the surface of the earth, while the Morlocks live underground, tending machinery and providing food, clothing and infrastructure for the Eloi. Each class evolved and degenerated from humans. The novel suggests that the separation of species may have been the result of a widening split between different social classes, a theme that reflects Wells’s sociopolitical opinions. The main difference from their earlier ruler-worker state is that, while the Morlocks continue to support the world’s infrastructure and serve the Eloi, the Eloi have undergone significant physical and mental deterioration. Having solved all problems that required strength, intelligence, or virtue, they have slowly become dissolute and naive.
You might be wondering where the inspiration came for this post (or rant, call it what you will). Maybe it’s the endless coddling/helicopter parenting/social engineering I see which frustrates me. Acts which will no doubt serve to replace future self reliance (which was fostered in many of us decades ago) with dependence and false expectations of “earned” success. Here are a few examples.
A Colorado second-grader may be suspended from his elementary school after he disobeyed a key rule of no weapons, real or imaginary, when he tossed an imaginary grenade Friday during recess and went, ‘pshhh,’ to indicate that the imaginary device detonated, KDVR.com reported.
Suddenly it seemed like adults thought sports for kids were great but they wanted to make sure it didn’t damage the self-esteem of their children. And they wanted to make sure that every kid – including their own – got an equal chance to play the game. The way to do that, people figured, was to not bother with keeping score. Let the kids run around and have fun and kick the ball or trip over it. Just as long as nobody felt bad when the game was over. Oh, there was always a parent standing on the sideline shouting encouragement or instructions to his or her child. But the other parents looked at the shouter with contempt and pity. When the game is over we all go get a pizza.
In my new book, Concussions and Our Kids, which I co-authored with Dr. Robert Cantu, a clinical professor of neurosurgery at the Boston University School of Medicine, we make the case for delaying organized tackle football until kids are 14 years old. The better game for children is flag football — in which kids grab flags rather than each other to stop the ball carrier. Kids can develop tackle-football skills during these early years by practicing those skills on tackling dummies.
We dont play with guns in our house. We also throw away guns. In this day and age there are a million other things for boys to play with other than guns. And to the mother who said that the boys will just turn everything else you have in the house into a gun, that doesnt have to be true if you tell your children WHY you dont play with guns and make a simple rule that there will be no gun playing in your home.
The simple answer is this: as soon as the bullying comes to your attention, you should contact the school. The longer it goes unchecked the greater effect it will have on the child and the school population as a whole. This is not a problem that will take care of itself. Find out if your school has a bully prevention program, who to report to, what actions will be taken, and how you can be involved in your child’s safety. You can also seek the help of other mental health providers, such as marriage and family therapists, who are trained to work with families and individuals alike. They can also help interface between schools and parents.
So what’s your opinion? Good intentions, poor execution or just the way it has to be? If you want to know what the end state of all this is, look no further than this article for the answer.
As if to keep up with the unreality of media and technology, in a dizzying paroxysm of self-aggrandizing hype, town sports leagues across the country hand out ribbons and trophies to losing teams, schools inflate grades, energy drinks in giant, colorful cans take over the soft drink market, and psychiatrists hand out Adderall like candy.
That’s really the unavoidable end, by the way. False pride can never be sustained. The bubble of narcissism is always at risk of bursting. That’s why young people are higher on drugs than ever, drunker than ever, smoking more, tattooed more, pierced more and having more and more and more sex, earlier and earlier and earlier, raising babies before they can do it well, because it makes them feel special, for a while. They’re doing anything to distract themselves from the fact that they feel empty inside and unworthy.