Friday, January 16, 2009

You're Not So Special

Wow! At last someone is bringing out some great, balanced parenting advice! The folks over at JuiceBoxJungle are producing some common sense ideas and videos on balanced parenting. I've long been against the commonly held notion that you have to praise and reward every little thing a kid does just to make them feel good for a moment while not doling out appropriate punishment when they've done something bad. Or rewarding real accomplishments. All you have to do these days is look around at some of the younger generation around us to see the Unintended Consequences.

Clueless ditzes cutting everyone off on the road without a hint of remorse or even any appreciation of what it is they've done - all while driving down the road putting on makeup and texting while they're driving. Idiots arguing with you over trivial points of view that would even make sense to a 6-year old. And my most common retort has always been, "Just because your Mommy told you how smart you were doesn't mean it's true!" (And my all-time favorite: "Just because your Daddy called you Son doesn't mean you're bright!")

Unfortunately, it's not a joke. (One of my favorite comedies of recent times is Idiocracy. My girlfriend hates it but I love the prophetic message.)

A lot of parents today seem to have been brought up praised to death and enabled to believe they can do anything they want. Anything. All without any thought of how it might affect anyone else or even what the consequences might be. And now these people have children. OMFG! Heaven help us!

We've watered our society down to new lows after decades of praising slow kids at the expense of smart kids and now we're seeing the results of those actions. In some ways, the old Soviet Socialist way of testing kids early in school to determine their place in life made some sense. "Young Comrade - your tests tell us you're best suited to be a garbage collector. So that's how we're going to educate you." Let's face it - not every kid can grow up to be a rocket scientist. While we sure don't want to lose that one little Einstein coming up through the system, imagine a kid with an average IQ constantly being groomed as the smartest kid in the world. And of course, his teachers in the school system won't tell him either because they don't want to look bad. But then the kid grows up with low self-esteem and goes postal one day and no one knows why... So we've built a system with little praise for real smarts and advancement while dumbing it all down for the lowest common denominator just to make sure little Johnny never feels stupid. Small wonder a lot of our kids can't read or spell or even make change at McDonalds!

That said, in many ways, some things haven't changed much over the years. It wasn't cool to be smart when I went to school either. You couldn't be too smart or you couldn't hang out with the cool kids. It was a whole, new world when the tech revolution finally happened in the 80's!

Anyway, you get my point. With that, here's an aptly titled 4-minute video from the good folks at JuiceBoxJungle:

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