- January 3, 2019 at 11:46 AM #54551
The 2018 book The Coddling of the American Mind, explores three great “untruths” that the authors see infusing American childhood and education. Two of them (always trusting your feelings and avoiding risk), are involved in what they describe (p.30) as the rise of “safetyism,” which places sacred value on staying emotionally safe. On pp. 168-170, they outline some of the dangers of safetyism. While the emphasis on safety in the last generation has saved many lives with the use of carseats and bicycle helmets, it has also expanded to limit the opportunity for children to gain what was once considered normal life experience through activities such as (unaccompanied by a parent) walking to school, going next door to a neighbor to borrow a cup of sugar, fetching something from a store down the street, or playing in a neighborhood park or a nearby woods.
Another major change they explore (p. 183ff) is the decline of free play: either the lack of opportunity or the inability of children to engage in (especially outdoor) play “for its own sake.”
I wonder–Do we see overprotective parenting in our circles that might be serving to stifle the child’s growing up? Do our children know how to play?
Further food for thought on this subject can be found on the authors’ website (see solutions/wiser k-12 schools on the site). A related site is letgrow.org.
While there’s quite a bit of irrelevant material on these sites, we can’t ignore the influence of the broader culture on our families and schools, especially as it influences the way we interact with the growing generation of children.
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