Saturday, March 09, 2013

The Existential Pain of Being Young, White, and Affluent - The Atlantic

IThe Existential Pain of Being Young, White, and Affluent - The Atlantic
I've been deeply concerned by trends I am seeing my classes. I've had to drop entire units because they are increasingly distracted by their cell phones, but worse seem disinclined to do anything beyond bare minimums in the classroom. Maybe that's somewhat understandable, but not acceptable in a basic level art class. But what do you say when the kids who want to get into elite design schools just cannot be bothered to produce? For a long time I thought this was simply an art department phenomenon, but in talking to other teachers in every department, it's not. We are raising children who come up overscheduled. Their lives are filled with enrichment and most decisions made for them. This leaves them emotionally and intellectually unprepared to make basic life decisions. And from the way they behave, they like it that way. Why should anyone want to leave a cocoon where every need is met?

On a larger scale, consider how this plays out politically. Those who voted for an administration which seems to epitomize the concept of cradle to grave control were the first products of this kind of smothering mothering. It is destructive. If you don't let your first grader pick out their clothes and suffer the consequences for bad choices, how is your kid going to decide whether or not to steal a bottle of pain pills from Granny's medicine cabinet? It comes down to basic moral education. And the parents of today's teens are largely unwilling to enforce any sort of judgement call until it's too late. This is just an extension to the "everyone gets a trophy" mentality. In life, everyone does not get a trophy. The sooner we stop this nonsense by allowing special education teacher to promote that their challenged charges will all go to college, by insisting that all kids are qualified to take AP courses, by refusing to reveal that sometimes people fail, the sooner our nation and our children will heal.

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