Friday, May 15, 2009

Standard-Issue-American-Child


I'm afraid I am going to rant. I know, surprise. Here is the thing... I love when everyone is happy. I love when everyone wins. I love when everyone is excited about everything that is good and shuns everything that is bad and everyone always chooses the right and never the wrong - when people (even small children) are perfectly behaved in public and private and everywhere in between. I think it would be marvelous if no one ever lost their temper or felt angry or hurt or demeaned AND if, in fact, they ever felt those things, they could respond with charity - even at a young age. I would love it if every child sat perfectly still in their desk absorbing ABSOLUTELY everything that was being shared with them - at such a great cost - financially, emotionally, and mentally. These things sound wonderful.


BUT - it's not that way. My question is - where is the cutoff between "Everyone WINS!" and, "If you want to win next time, you will need to practice harder and put in more effort!" Where is the line between a child who is "Out of CONTROL" and one that has "Spunk. Character. Energy". Do you ever feel like society is trying to make us all into the same person?


In one way I love the seeming "fairness" of letting everyone have a chance and letting everyone feel the glory of winning and saving everyone the agony of losing - but at the same time - isn't the agony of losing a worthwhile feeling? Has it never driven anyone to greatness? And what about winning? If everyone is the same, how does anyone feel that thrill of greatness? Isn't it all just a shroud of mediocrity?


On the same line, but a different vein - why does every child need to be drugged into complacency in order for a label such as "ADD" or ADHD", or even "unfocused" to follow them around for their career as a student? Those "ADD/ADHD..." children of yesteryear are now some of our most celebrated heroes - ever heard of Einstein or Edison? Not your "model sit-down-shut-up" students to say the least! As a matter of fact, Einstein clashed with authorities and resented the school regimen. He once wrote that the spirit of learning and creative thought were lost in strict rote learning. And Edison? In school, when he was young, his mind often wandered, and his teacher, the Reverend Engle, was overheard calling him "addled". What if they had been medicated to sit very still and pay the strictest of attention? Would they have been the creative geniuses that they are? I think not.


Why do we, as a society, place such value on the achievement of "SAMENESS" of "MEDIOCRITY" of "CONFORMITY". Certainly, I believe that these attributes have their place and worth - but to let them become the ONLY thing we are striving for, I fear will ruin our children and our world.


Here is MY real problem - I don't know where the line is - but, the more I have to walk around it - I know where it isn't.

5 comments:

  1. Wow. You hit on something I struggle with every day. My Judson is a little Einstien and has a very very hard time at school. I pray for guidance and patient teachers.

    Also, I'm reading an intruiging book that I think you'd like. It's called "uglies" I just started it, but it goes along the same vein of how our differences make us who we are.

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  2. I would have to agree. I think most of the time kids just need to be allowed to be kids; to laugh, to run, to play, to get in trouble, to fall down, to lose, to win, how can they ever become adults and learn how to live in society if they are not allowed to practice as children.

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  3. Bill and I have had that exact conversation, it makes me completly CRAZY!!!! Ours was more about those that are starting in the working world right now. You've all heard the entitlement generation! Demand for equality and fairness in everything!! It makes Bill crazy that people that work for him expect a "trophy" for anything they do right, not big things...everything! Its sad actually.
    Weird but I was watching a "Wizards of Waverly Place" with the girls the other day and the Principal made Alex join Happy Hands Club for a punishment and the whole thing was getting ribbons for anything they do, little kind things that we SHOULD do everyday they were getting recognition for it in the form of a ribbon. Alex was disgusted with it and was trying to get them to understand how selfish it was. Me and the girls ended up having a great conversation about it!

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  4. im sorry but this comment has nothing to do with your blog, im just trying to find someone. my husband and i are friends of Devon G but we havent heard from her in awhile and our emails are going unanswered. i see through her blog GROWin' Good Recipes that she follows this blog, so i wondered if you could let her know we are concerned. thanks, and sorry again for the hijack!

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  5. Pixar's "The Incredibles" pretty much sums up my opinion of the "everybody wins" philosophy:

    From the villain:
    "And when I'm old and I've had my fun, I'll sell my inventions so that everyone can have powers. Everyone can be super! And when everyone's super... no one will be."

    From the heroes:
    Mrs. Incredible: "I can't believe you don't want to go to your own son's graduation."
    Mr. Incredible: "It's not a graduation. He is moving from the 4th grade to the 5th grade."
    Mrs. Incredible: "It's a ceremony!"
    Mr. Incredible: "It's psychotic! They keep creating new ways to celebrate mediocrity..."

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