Other bits and pieces

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Wolf and the Winter Cold

Last night I watched the movie '300'. I've seen it before, but what an awesome movie. The beginning of it got me thinking though. They raise their kids to accept pain, to get up when they're kicked to the ground, to wipe off blood and continue to struggle. Then they send their seven year old man children out into the cold wild to fend for themselves. That's pretty much how we raise our kids today, right?

It used to be. Well, maybe not to that extent, but with the same spirit and intent. When we got in trouble, we got paddled. When kids called us names, our parents told us to blow it off or call them a name, but either way, quit whining. Our parents actually used phrases like, “Don't be a baby.” When we got into a fight with a kid at school, our fathers debriefed us on technique. I remember once when my mother, after I was whining about something that happened at school, said, “Well maybe I should just run out and buy the little girl a dress!” Was it insulting? Did it damage my self esteem? Hell yes, and it also had its intended effect. I quit whining, went back to school, dealt with it like a man, and took my dignity back. These are the tools of life. And we all used to get them dished out to us by the dump-truck load.

The overwhelming majority of human accomplishment is born, not out of intelligence, creativity, or sense of well-being, but out of the courage, the tenacity, and the confidence to put one's talents to purpose. It does no utility to a human life to have great talent and yet be too timid to use it. Warren Buffett, for example, is smart, but it takes balls to have taken the financial risks he has taken to get where he is. The same is true of Bill Gates, Zev Siegl, and Martha Stewart (Talk about balls). John Hancock didn't sign his name to the Declaration of Independence in 72 font because his mother used to hold his head to her bosom and whisper, “There there, my precious Johnny, the other boys are just mean, you should go play with your sister.”

I am willing to venture to make a guess that our current social trend in parenting may be sliding away from the paternal model that created these individuals.

Today, depending on where you are in America, if your child doesn't receive a passing grade on school work, they receive that dreaded 'E'...wait, what? What the hell is an 'E' grade? I had to ask Athena because her report card showed the grading scale A-E. She told me that her teachers told her that 'F' stood for 'fail', and that it made kids feel bad. Well, boo frickin hoo! It's supposed to make them feel bad! Failing is supposed to make you feel bad! You're not supposed to like it—that's the incentive to make decisions in the future so as to experience less of it. Schools haven't been cutting players from sports teams for years now. We wouldn't want to think that hard work and dedication might make the difference between success and failure. And it's just not fair that some kids are born stronger and faster than others, we can't have genetics keeping kids from being on the team. Besides, once they're out of high school, the rest of the world is pretty much a veritable cornucopia of fairness right? Are you kidding me? There's a reason these kids are getting out into the real world today and getting COMPLETELY OWNED!

We are obsessed with children's self esteem. Never mind the idea that they are supposed to earn it. It's issued now. And if they don't have enough of it, we'll pull the rest of the school back to their level so they don't feel bad about themselves. There are schools doing away with honors programs because it makes the dumb kid's self esteem diminish. Wait; did I say dumb kids? Was I supposed to say the intellectually disadvantage or some crap like that? Yeah, I'll stick with 'dumb kids'. Because, honestly, they only reason they're 'dumb kids' is that more often than not they just don't work very hard.

There is even a school district in Maine, right now, that is pushing to desegregate boys and girls restrooms and locker rooms because last year a; what do you call it..a trans-gendar...trans-sexual...trans-former...FRUITLOOP kid was emotionally damaged because he/she/it/they couldn't use the girl's bathroom. I'm sorry, we are talking about a 12 year old trans-gender boy...I suspect there might be something slightly not right with him to begin with. He's TWEELLLLLVEE and thinks he should have girl parts! They are going to make adolescent girls change clothes in the same locker room as the guys so that some prepubescent tranny won't have his feelings hurt.

This morning, watching the morning news, they were running a story about schools that feel the need for recess education. Yes, you read it right. They are having teachers out on the playground to teach...the kids...how...to...play. Young Skywalker, your pussification is now complete. What have we done that our kids need this? What series of disservices have we meted out on our children that they can't even play outside without hovering helicopter adults micromanaging their every move? The reality is...nothing. Our kids need this kind of micromanagement about as much as they need second helping of pudding with their lunches. I fear for what kind of ill-adjusted, terrified, fickle, hipster douchbag adults these children will grow up to become. They'll be a hell of a crop: Completely unprepared for hardship, failure, success, setbacks, weakness, strength, second place, etc.

The only way our kids are going to become the next Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, or General Patton, is if they grow up strong. You can't issue them confidence, courage, resilience, and fortitude. They learn through trial and error, falling down and getting up, taking risk and sometimes getting hurt. They build character (remember that phrase?) by trying and failing, and trying something else. That's how they find and follow their feet. You can't manage your children into viable, strong, productive citizens. You have to teach them.


© Raymond Smith- 2010


Lady Cincinnatus said...

Dante, What's even more amazing is you have society that, " feel the need for recess education" and protecting its citizens from "getting their feelings hurt" but they could care less about citizens getting their heads lopped off by radical Islamic extremists or their cities nuked by rogue agents of terror. Go figure.

Chino said...

Not in my backyard. So many no longer concern themselves with that which layth outside there personal business. And 'Precious little snowflake' parenting is just going to churn out more of the same.

Thanks for reading.
Long Live the Republic.

"El A" said...

Good work Raymond.... Long Live The Republic!

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