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The Wussification of America

My 4 year old niece : "Cross my heart and 
multiply - stick a cupcake in my eye."

I listened to my niece repeat this cute little saying over and over again.  But this sterilized version was definitely not the version we all knew as kids; that one went more like this:

"Cross my heart and  hope to die-
stick a needle in my eye."

For the squeamish this sounds a bit macabre, but it is the original version.  My horrified little niece's mouth dropped open when I recited the original self mutilation hoping for death version to her. Poor kid. Her response was just a result of what she was taught at school. Things have really changed over past 20 years or so.

Let's face it - we are living in softer times.  

We are given trophies just for showing up.  
Male aggression is blamed for all the violence in the world.
We are taught that children should be nurtured rather than challenged.
We are taught that it is more important to feel confident than to actually accomplish something.
We are taught that there are no winners or losers.
We are taught that gender is a thing of the past.
We teach children that safety at all costs rules supreme.

In college, I faced this politically correct mindset head on.  I remember how in one of my classes I was taught that there was no such thing as gender; that gender was something that was chosen by the person.  Fortunately I was older so I wasn't fooled by some dopey PhD wielding professor.  I debated vigorously with my professor and classmates.  But I was the one being viewed as weird. 

OK look, I acknowledge that some of the changes have been good.  Sure. falling off the monkey bars on the playground onto rock hard dirt or pavement was a heck of a lot more painful when I was a kid. Now kids fall onto this new soft padded rubber turf that blankets ALL outdoor playgrounds.  I'm not a brute. That was a positive change. After all, who would want more skinned knees and elbows (well maybe "Johnson's Band-Aids" would) But overall, a good move.   

Yesterday I watched an excellent documentary titled, "Growing Up: Parenting Wars." by John Stossel. I strongly recommend this to anyone.  In the documentary Stossel argued that Americans lately have been taught to be soft. This is impacting our country in a negative way, causing us to fall behind other nations in the achievement gap.

Stossel argued instead that the parents who defied this coddling mindset allowing their kids to make mistakes, had happier, more successful kids in the future.  

Stossel used the example of Amy Chua The Tiger Mom.  She raised her two daughters in a very strict way forcing them to practice the piano for hours.  Chua's daughter's weren't allowed even to have sleepovers or watch TV.   Stossel later interviewed both daughters (who were both underclassmen at Harvard.) and asked them how they viewed their mother's uncompromising style.  They both enthusiastically said how they were grateful for their mother's approach that gave them the foundation for success.

Personally I am fed up with how soft we are becoming as a nation.  It is time for all of us to grow up, to face the difficulties of life head on and to teach our children to do the same. We need a little toughness restored, a little more grit. If we don't stop sugar coating life for the future generations, our country will never have the hope of regaining its greatness.


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