Sunday, July 08, 2007

A Different World Indeed...

We had our neighbors over for lunch recently. The conversation eventually meandered onto the topic of children. One of our guests mentioned this song by Bucky Covington. Yesterday on the way home from work, I heard it on the radio for the first time. Here is the Music Video version on Youtube:

I love the lyrics; it reminds me a lot of a post I did a while back, called:
Childhood, Past and Present. It was about the text of an email I got, a short essay that's been circulating around the internet, titled: "TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED the 1930's, 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's !!".

Bucky doesn't even look old enough to have been a kid in the 70's, but he does a nice rendition of the song. The lyrics follow the essay somewhat; or vice versa, I'm not sure which came first. The lyrics to Bucky's song are listed here: A Different World Lyrics. If you compare them to the essay at the link above, you'll see that they are very similar; the essay just goes into more detail.

Anyhow, our neighbor mentioned the song, because we were talking about kids and how it's such a different world than the one we grew up in. She told us about the 3 year old grand daughter of one of her friends. While visiting her friend who was babysitting the grand daughter (I'll call the kid "Britney"), our neighbor told the child at one point that she was a "good girl". She was surprised when her friend the grandmother corrected her, and asked her not to say that to the child; she was informed that she should say, instead, "good job".

When asked why, it was explained to her that by telling the child she was a "good girl", she was also implying that the child had the potential to be called a "BAD girl". And that was unacceptable, because it could be damaging to the child's self esteem.

Talk about New Age Crap! But it doesn't end there. At another time, our friend was visiting Britney and her grandmother again. Grandma had to go out and get something from the car, and wanted the girl to stay in the house. Britney became impatient and decided she was going to go outside anyway. So our neighbor speaks up and reminds the three year old that she's supposed to wait; grandma will be right back. Britney just looks at her a moment, and then continues walking on out. So our neighbor, being the only adult in the room, says in a slightly more assertive voice, "Britney, NO."

This time the child looks back in shock, and starts screaming and crying! The grandmother comes running back inside, asking what's happened. Britney points accusingly at our neighbor, and sobs: "SHE told me NO!!!".

It would seem this child had never had an adult say "no" to her before. What kind of world is this kid's family raising her to live in? Not the real one, apparently.

I wish I could say this sort of story was unusual, but I seem to be hearing too many similar to it. And it's not even just the spoiling of children that bugs me. Even spoiled children can turn out o.k. What really bugs me is the weird assumptions and expectations about life that the kids are being taught.

For instance, I'm told that when a child has a birthday now, instead of the birthday child getting all the presents, every child in attendance is supposed to get a present, so they don't feel left out and -God forbid- damage their self esteem!

There are teachers who now are proudly asserting that they don't believe in grading and testing students, because that creates a competitive environment that is damaging to the children's self esteem. Some teacher's actually believe in "averaging out" grades, so that everyone in a class gets the same grade, all in the name of "fairness". What nonsense! Are teachers who believe in rewarding merit a dying breed?

Also at school, if a kid tries to beat up another kid, and the victim tries to defend him/herself and hit back, the victim is considered just as guilty as the aggressor! Both are punished! Why? Because the victim is supposed to run and tell the teacher! Yeah, right, like that has anything to do with reality.

I used to get bullied at school. The teachers couldn't do anything to stop it. I eventually followed my parent's advice, and started to hit the kids back - hard. Like magic, the bullying stopped.

Nowadays there is an epidemic of bullying in the schools. The aggressors and the victims who fight back are punished equally, yet the school authorities can't seem to get a handle on it or stop it. Gee, could it be the namby-pamby New Age Wussification Crap they force the kids to follow? Ya think?

What are they even teaching in the schools now anyway? Our neighbor said she saw on late night TV, I think it was Jay Leno, a poll they conducted on the street, asking passerbys the meaning of July 4th. We are celebrating our freedom; could they tell us what we were celebrating our freedom FROM?

I thought this was something EVERYONE knew; but apparently, not anymore. This whole family was asked, mother, father, son... nobody knew! They eventually called grandpa over. HE knew.

But hey, at least the kids self esteem wasn't damaged, and that's the most important thing, right? In fact, we shouldn't even ask the kids questions, because if they don't know the answer, think of what damage that would do to their self esteem!

This obsession with self esteem and children is creating a generation of self-indulgent monsters, who believe everything they want should be justified without question; who believe they must be protected from any kind of criticism; who feel it's a RIGHT to which they are actually entitled.

How can any real learning take place where there is no criticism? Our public schools are turning our American kids into a nation of spineless, ignorant and infantilized wusses, who can't take criticism, can't take care of themselves, and who will depend on the government to do everything for them. Too many "graduates" turn out to be unemployable; they whine and act like permanent victims, who need their every whim catered to... in other words, they become New Age Democrats.

Is it surprising that so many people around the world think we are a soft, weak nation that won't fight back? Is that because it's actually becoming the truth?

I know that things always change, and that each generation grows up in a different world to some extent. I can accept that. I just think we can do better than this.

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