My generation (X and older Y’s) was the last that learned to play in the street. We were the first to play video games, the last to record songs off the radio onto a cassette tape. We had the first VCR, cordless phone, microwave, CD’s, Atari, TV remote control, MTV when it actually played music videos, and so much more. This generation will experience newer models of the items our generation had first. We didn’t have cars with airbags, rode bikes without a helmet and knee pads, and were allowed to be kids and get hurt. We were allowed to play in the mud and not regulated sand that is safe. We drank from a hose not bottled water. We didn’t have hand sanitizer but you could get your mouth washed out with soap! We played outside with our friends and our mama yelled for us when it was time to come in not call us on our cell phones. We watched Saturday morning cartoons!
This is the fragile generation. They are coddled and protected like no other generation before them. We have traded in the Takes a Village Mentality for criticism and opinions. We have replaced imaginations with technology and buttons.
What does that say for their future? Will this generation produce great thinkers and inventors? Are we teaching critical thinking skills? Are we teaching kids it is okay to be an individual and that if you excel at something to embrace it. Are we teaching them that we are not all alike and different is okay?
Free play has little in common with the “play” we give children today. In organized activities, adults run the show. It’s only when the grown-ups aren’t around that the kids get to take over. Play is training for adulthood.
By trying to keep children safe from all risks, obstacles, hurt feelings, and fears, our culture has taken away the opportunities they need to become successful adults. In treating them as fragile—emotionally, socially, and physically—society actually makes them so. Is this accidental? That is yet to be seen.
I will teach my child these things. He will learn to go against the flow of what current society would have him be. He will understand that everyone is different and we are all given a different lot in life. He will understand hard work and how to do for himself. He will also understand compassion and understanding. He will be taught humility and grace.
I refuse to raise him to be fragile. He will be a strong, independent individual that will know success comes from work. I may be criticized for my belief and parenting style but you know what, that’s ok! When it is all said and done God gave me a job and I will do that job to the best of my ability.