I was going to let pass the latest bit of stupidity on the part of some of our nation’s so-called institutes of learning, but Frank Deford’s silver-tongued skewering of overly sensitive school administrators made me mad all over again.
The Boston school “banned kids from playing tag, touch football and any other unsupervised chase game during recess for fear they’ll get hurt and hold the school liable.”
What a bunch of morons. If the legal system allows schools to be punished financially for play-related injuries you don’t stop recess, you fix the broken legal system.
Children in this country are ridiculously fat, according to the American Obesity Association. They eat poorly and exercise worse than that. All of this is the fault of adults who fail to provide a proper environment for children. Consider these numbers from the AOA (more here):
- The majority of parents in the U.S. (78 percent) believe that physical education or recess should not be reduced or replaced with academic classes.
- Almost 30 percent of parents said that they are “somewhat” or “very” concerned about their children’s weight.
- 12 percent of parents considered their child overweight.
It’s the last one that’s the kicker. 12% isn’t bad, right? Not if parents were objective. But since Johnny can do no wrong these days, this number is sunshine and smiles. Try 30% and you’re closer.
As Frank Deford asked in his NPR bit this AM, “Would you rather have your kid sitting on his fat butt playing video games?”
One supporter of the tag ban, Celeste D’Elia, said her son feels safer because of the rule. “I’ve witnessed enough near collisions,” she said.
Excuse me, her son feels safer? That’s a mother putting words in her kid’s mouth, if the boy ever said them at all.
According to Time, “another factor [that led to the ban] was concern that such games could hurt self-esteem if, say, one kid were always ‘it.'”
But as Mr. Deford so eloquently put it, all of life is a pecking order. It’s far better to know your place in the world than to go along thinking you’re all that and — WHAM!! — get the big wakeup call when reality finally sets in.
There are such states of existence that provide too much safety, too much comfort. American schools, full of the delusional need to provide self-esteem, whether deserved or not, are contributing to the problem of children who grow up thinking they deserve the bounties of life without having to earn them.
The truth – cold and unpleasant as it may be – is that every day is a competition and the weak get what’s left over after the winners have had their fill. That may change some day in the far off future, but that’s reality in this time and place. Lying to our children about the nature of the world doesn’t make them safer, it puts them at greater risk.
“Forewarned is forearmed” goes a familiar saying. Games, sports, academics, and all forms of competition strengthen our young people and prepare them to face the world. That children are being robbed of these critical tools is perhaps the ultimate injustice of the liberal education we’re giving them. It’s past time to correct these mistakes.