A recent editorial bemoans the fact that today’s young journalists not only lack the protections of free speech when publishing in school newspapers, but also are devoid of the basic drive to challenge and confront fiction when they find it.
The author finds this incredulous. I find it predictable.
What should we expect when we teach our 6 year olds that the score in a game doesn’t matter, that there are no “winner” or “losers,” that everyone “deserves” a participation trophy? What should we expect when school course work is “dumbed down” and grades curved up when outcomes don’t meet expectations? What should we expect when schools encourage the politically correct agenda of today’s progressive movement, while failing to teach American history or civics? What should we expect when Washington, Jefferson and Columbus are seldom mentioned, much less taught, with the exception of calling them slaveholders and abusive plunderers? What should we expect when the least little provocation is translated into an act of bullying, shutting off the opportunity to learn the life-skills of dealing with people, yes even the jerks?
Society has relegated shame, personal accomplishment, dignity and individual responsibility to the dump of politically correct phrases now out of bounds. Perhaps some of today’s “snow-flakes” might not melt so fast had they been tempered in the fire of social adversity and been allowed to work out real-life conflicts for themselves, instead of a parent or schoolteacher intervening.
It the quest to shelter and protect our children, we have been too afraid to let them fail. We have undervalued the concept of “tough-love” and forgotten that we are parents first and not their best friends. It was easier to say yes than to say no, and many parents thought that somehow, it would all just work out.
Well, it hasn’t.
A bloody nose, either metaphoric or literal isn’t the end of the world, but the beginning of a deeper and realistically based understanding of actual human nature. A hurt feeling isn’t terminal. Ironically, while attempting to shield children from everything, we have left them naked to it all, the reality of a world not controlled by parents, teachers or progressive idealism. While many parents taught their kids to believe and live in a world they wished for, they now have to function in the world as it really is.
Problem-solving, critical thinking and a healthy level of skepticism were sacrificed at the alter of self-righteousness and the smug asuredness that there was only one-way to interpret the world. They had it all figured out. But when confronted with opposing viewpoints and notions that conflict with their worldview, that void in their training hammers home the reality that in order to function in the chaotic reality of reality, the absolutes they thought were absolute are not, and to borrow a popular phrase from the 60’s, this simply, “blows their minds.” Reality is a stern taskmaster. No points for effort, no atta-boys for attitude, simply rewards based upon outcomes. What a concept.