Are you old enough to remember Dodge Ball? It was a wonderful little “sport” that we used to play in Gym Class, usually when it was too wet or too cold to go outside. It was a fun activity could entertain the whole class indoors at the same time.
The coach would divide the class in half, put each half on opposite sides of the basketball court and toss us a bunch of balls.
The object? Throw the ball at the kids on the other side of the court. The harder the better!
The “tough” kids would get the balls and go on the attack. The smaller, less athletic kids learned quickly that those balls hurt! And they cam from every direction.
But this was just a brutal “sport” that allowed school sanctioned bullying as the bigger kids picked on the smaller ones. It was devastating to the fragile self-esteem of the little kids and had to be stopped. There was no lesson to be learned and no value in playing.
It is pretty much banned everywhere.
And that is the problem with young people these days. In this “everyone gets a trophy” world where feeling good about yourself is more important than winning, where we don’t keep score because we are all supposed to be “equal”, we have managed to breed a generation of kids that have no work ethic, no mechanism to deal with adversity and no ambition to excel. Kids want and expect that everything will be handed to them and others will always be there to protect and nurture them.
In other words, the Occupy Wall Street crowd.
I was a year younger than most of my classmates as a result of attending first grade at a private school because I was too young to enter public school when my parents thought I was ready. So I was, naturally, smaller than the average kid. I wasn’t as good as most of them at throwing the ball, so I was forced to improvise.
I learned that I could hang back behind the bigger kids who were fearlessly out in front, seemingly immune to the sting of a well placed throw from the other side. So while they gave me cover from most of the incoming orbs of death and absorbed the brunt of the punishment in their quest for a ball to throw back over at the other “team”, I played “recover the ball”.
After a ball hit the bigger kids, I would run it down and toss the ammo to the biggest kid without a “weapon”. It was a smart move that ingratiated me to the big kids and maximized the number of hard volleys my side was able to return across the court.
It also taught me how to take a hard hit and not cry. To man up.
And the “alliance” I struck up on the court carried outside of the gym. Not that I didn’t get picked on, or “bullied”, but I did have a lot of big friends. And they found that I could do other things, like help them understand some of the harder math problems. Or let them see my homework to check their own. (Or sometimes just copy mine, but hey.)
But more than that, I learned that I could compensate for skills I lacked by finding a mutually beneficial arrangement with others that were lacking in some areas in which I excelled. And I learned that what I wasn’t born with or hadn’t yet learned were still attainable if I was smart enough.
I am talking about Dodge-ball in both a literal sense and a metaphoric sense.
Kids in today’s schools are not taught self-reliance. Instead, they learn that what they lack will be compensated for by not allowing others to show their abilities. Students become a product of the lowest common denominator. They all learn to aspire to mediocrity and are given positive reinforcement and rewards for it!
Boys are feminized, girls urged to be more masculine. Equality is king. Size, sex, strength, skill and agility are all meaningless.
No wonder kids are so mixed up!
Their first encounter with reality is when they leave the Progressive Petri dish of school and go out into the real world where the first taste of adversity is encountered and they have no idea how to deal with it. There is no learned response to adapt, forge alliances, use leverage, out think your opponent. No, we all get a trophy and nobody keeps score.
Only that is not true.
Protecting the “little darlings” might seem the kind thing to do, but in the end, these people are deprived of learning the natural order of things and adapting to that sometimes harsh reality.
We should keep score. Play dodge ball. Only the winners should get trophies.
It makes you try harder and it it forces you to either learn to win or deal with failure. And isn’t it far more preferable to learn about failure by losing a ball game or race rather than a job?
And they wonder why the suicide rate among young people is so high. They were never forced to learn how to deal with adversity as children and have no confidence that they can overcome… anything.
We are truly killing our kids with kindness.