Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Tag, You're Out....The Sad Lives of Kids, Recess and Obsessive Adults

What is wrong with people? Earlier this year, I wrote a blog on whether we were a motherland or a fatherland? I repeat the question. What is going on here? It seems as if today's parents want guarantees that their child will be healthy, strong, smart, talented and rich. Life simply doesn't work like that. In earlier generations, people learned to worked BEYOND their capacities. They overcame shortfalls and learned to work around obstacles. Today we have a generation of parent who want their children hermetically sealed. Every surface is supposed to be germfree and every show is supposed to be educational. Is it any wonder that the phenomenon of childhood obesity and depression is growing? It appears that there is a virulent segment of the population that despises competition at any level. These are the same folks who wanted to get rid of juried art shows and simply give the scholarships based on a drawing. C'mon. At some point we have to be willing to say that there are some people that are basically better at some skills than others.

Perhaps the problems lie in our education system. Right now, I can walk down to a Bridging class where the majority of the students read one a third grade level or lower, and ask them what they will do upon graduation, and ALL of them will say they are going to college. I am not saying having aspirations beyond your skills is a bad thing, but we have to get over the idea that every kid who walks across the stage in May is entitled to go to college. Likewise, we need to get over the idea that a college degree qualifies someone for a job. Believe me, there are many people with degrees in my circle of acquaintances that are unfit for many jobs. And at what point did it get to be shameful to work with one's hands? I admire the man who can fix my air conditioner or car. We rely on the expertise of electricians, plumbers and carpenters. Yet seldom will you hear these jobs in the same breath with the aspirations of a high school student.

Something needs to change. We need to get away from elitist specialization and back to the basics of learning, living and loving. Perhaps it's our attachment to the internet, perhaps it's our shallow worship of all things celebrity, but whatever the cause, we must change direction soon. If not for our sake, or our kids sake, then for the kids down the road that will have to deal with the mess these approaches leave behind.

1 comment:

David said...

I think many parent are so worried about getting their kids the right certifications (and, to a lesser extent, the right "skills") that they are blind to the importance of metaskills--basically, what used to be called "character."

When people fail to live up to their potential in their careers, the cause is more generally character problems--inability to stick to a job, antagonistic approach to other people, lack of moral courage--than missing skills or certifications.

See my post here.