It’s not the school’s fault if your kid is a lazy wuss

The halls of your local middle school are likely riddled with posters, banners and bulletin boards, all containing supposedly “motivational” and “informative” messages. If you can block out all of the horrible 12 year olds psychologically and physically tormenting each other, middle school hallways are very encouraging places.

There’s the poster with an image of an athletic young woman riding a bike, or climbing a mountain, emblazoned with the word “GOALS” or “ACHIEVEMENT.” There’s the perfunctory “DIVERSITY” banner, adorned with different colored hands clasped together across the globe.

Then there’s the requisite “Shoot for the moon! Even if you miss, you’ll be among the stars!” poster. It should be noted that this one, although commonplace, is reckless and horridly inaccurate from an astronomical perspective. Trust me, kids, if you shoot for the moon and miss — God help you. The people in Apollo 13 followed this advice, and look what happened to them. If you don’t land on the moon, you will NOT be “among the stars.” You will be approximately 90 MILLION MILES away from the nearest star, the Sun, and TRILLIONS of miles from the second closest, Proxima Centauri. Either way, you’re not even close.

And now you’ll be doomed to float aimlessly in the black, dead, vacuous abyss. Haven’t you seen Gravity? Eventually your oxygen will deplete and you’ll die slowly, alone, out in the unforgiving nothingness of space. If you’re lucky, a space rock will fly by, rip a hole in your suit, and your face will explode. At least then your death will be quick, even if it’s unimaginably painful. So, if you shoot for the moon you damn well better hit that thing. This is the real positive message for the youth: “Achieve your goals or die alone in the darkness.” Someone put that on a bumper sticker.

In any event, worse than this scientifically implausible cliché is that one motto that’s hammered into our heads from the time we take our first step, until we breathe our last breath: “Safety First!”

Safety first. Think about this. You’ve heard it a billion times; have you ever actually considered the implication of this deranged saying?

Safety first? FIRST? Safety before everything? There’s nothing more important than being safe? If that’s true, then we really shouldn’t be, like, doing anything. Ever. I saw a TLC special about a guy who lived by this mantra. He was a paranoid OCD schizophrenic; he locked himself in the bathroom for three years, washed his hands 400 times a day, and had food given to him under the crack in the door. Say what you want about the dude, but you can’t accuse him of putting anything but safety first. He was safe. His life was also miserable and pointless, but at least he succeeded in prolonging it.

I wanted to go skydiving a few years ago, so I started researching places online. I found a reputable skydiving business and perused it’s website. Sure enough, right there, front and center on the homepage: “Here at ____ Skydiving, our motto is ‘Safety First.'” I suppose this is meant to be soothing to potential clients, and, certainly, I want to do my skydiving with professionals who care about safety. But if you really put safety FIRST, wouldn’t you refuse to take anyone skydiving at all? The only thing safer than safe skydiving is not skydiving. In other words, if you’re skydiving, safety is not your top priority.

Safety should always be a consideration, but I’m not sure that it should ever be your primary concern. Yet we’ve increasingly adopted this catchphrase and it’s had exactly the sort of impact that you’d expect. “Safety First” is the most damaging exactly where it’s the most common: in the realm of child-raising; in the schools, in the daycares, at home. Gone are the days of teaching children to take healthy and rational risks; of encouraging them to run and jump and climb trees; of embracing their rough and tumble nature, particularly among young boys. Instead we’ve put Safety First, and now we have a generation of lazy, gelatinous couch potatoes — but at least they’re safe!

The latest from the Safety First front has the internet in quite a tizzy today: Weber Middle School in Long Island joined the War on Recess, and they’re coming out with the big guns. They’ve instituted a ban on footballs, baseballs, soccer balls, lacrosse balls; any sort of hard ball that might bump a precious child and cause a small bruise or skin abrasions of some sort. They’ve also outlawed tag and cartwheels, unless supervised. (Side note: somebody please start an indie band and call it The Supervised Cartwheels). The emergency room director at the local hospital has endorsed the move. He claims that he’s seen an uptick in “head injuries, bumps, scrapes.”

This, of course, leads one the following question: Who the hell brings their child to the emergency room for a bump or a scrape? We like to blame the schools for this sort of madness — Lord knows, I’m never hesitant to assign them their portion of the guilt when they deserve it — but the schools generally aren’t the ones shipping kids to the ER for a scraped knee. The schools also don’t sue themselves when Johnny falls off the swing and sprains his wrist. The schools aren’t instituting these policies because they want to; they’re doing it because the public forces them into it. Why are those kids brought to the hospital for minor dents and dings? Because Mommy and Daddy see an opportunity to turn a profit. It’s the same reason someone goes to the doctor for “whiplash” after a minor fender bender. They’re building their case for the impending lawsuit.

It’s hard for me to stomach some of the “let my child play dodge ball at recess!” hysteria, because we all know that half of the people screaming it wouldn’t hesitate to contact a lawyer should their pumpkin come off the dodge ball court with a broken nose. I’ve spoken to many daycare providers, and almost all of them have banned most forms of physical exertion among the children they supervise. Why? Are they conspiring to make our kids fat and slow? Or could it be that most of them also have horror stories about almost losing their home and business after some kid with litigious parents accidentally fell and bumped his head during Activity Time?

We can’t run around looking to sue everything that moves, and then become indignant when everyone around us starts to take a bit of a defensive posture. I just read another story recently about another school removing their swing sets. The parents and students rallied around the forsaken playground equipment and accused the school administrators of being Joyless Scrooges. Notice, they didn’t direct any of their ire at the people actually responsible for the travesty: the parents who sued them for having such a “dangerous” apparatus on their property. Are the schools supposed to risk bankruptcy for the sake of recess games and playground furnishings? I wouldn’t. I believe in standing on principle, but I’m not going to sacrifice my livelihood just to defend the honor of kickball. Sorry.

As with most cultural problems, we look for a simple way to explain why so many kids are mushy wimps by pointing at the easiest scapegoat. In this case, it’s the school system. But the school system has no vested interest in stopping your child from having fun. In fact, I’d wager that most teachers would prefer if these hyper sugar-fiends could work off some of that energy and come back to the classroom docile and rundown.

Their hands, however, are tied. If a kid gets hurt at school, somebody will file a lawsuit. That’s the way America works, and we all know it. How do you expect them to respond? There’s a sickness in our society, and it’s turned many of us into exploitative, whiny, manipulative opportunists. All of our institutions reflect that reality, and they all have to protect themselves from the hoards of lawyers and carpetbaggers who are just waiting for a lucrative accident to occur.

Besides, if you want your kid to run and leap and wrestle and play, he’s still got plenty of time for that. Take his computer and video game system away; send him outside to discover the wonders of the great outdoors. How many parents who complain about the lack of physical activity in school, then turn around and allow their kids to sit in the basement all weekend with their Xbox? If your kid is lazy and overweight, it’s not his teacher’s fault. It’s yours. Give Jimmy a carrot, shut off his smart phone, and make him go dig a ditch or move some rocks or rake some leaves.

They say you can’t have it both ways. Well, in our case, we’re looking to have it about 40 different ways at once. We want the children to play games at recess, but we don’t want them to get hurt (or we’ll sue), but we don’t want them to be fat, but we don’t want to take their video games and cell phones away, but we want them to get a lot of exercise, but we don’t want to enforce that rule at our own homes. We don’t know what we want, but DAMN THE SCHOOLS FOR NOT LISTENING TO OUR CONFLICTING DEMANDS!

Yes, the schools! Blame the schools! Blame somebody! Blame Big Foot! Blame… anyone! Anyone but us! That’s our mantra; second only to “Safety First.”

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170 Responses to It’s not the school’s fault if your kid is a lazy wuss

  1. carolyn says:

    So true… it is up to us parents to ensure our kids get the nutrition, physical activity and self confidence they need to flourish.

    We need to take the pressure off schools to “parent by proxy” and let them get back to what they are meant to do – teach our kids!

    My kid sister is addicted to screens of all types and I know I won’t be allowing my children the same access to those types of “entertainment”… it changes the brain in ways we haven’t considered yet!

    Great post!

    http://yesnoum.wordpress.com/

  2. Robin says:

    “Are they conspiring to make our kids fat and slow?” I love this….I live in a rural place, nature abounds and I wouldn’t care if someone stopped the organized sports at recess for a minute. It would actually encourage kids to play using their own imagination. Can you imagine? But the litigiousness of parents has got to go. We had a situation last year where a parent cut a tree down, sawed it in half, smoothed it down and made it into 2 beautiful benches for an outdoor classroom, and donated it. But parents complained someone may get a splinter on it. Or get their foot caught. And the poor dad who made it didn’t have millions of dollars of insurance so was forced to take them back for fear he might be sued. We had to pay $1000 instead for boring “playground approved” ugly benches just because of insurance concerns….really sad stuff….

  3. Sarah B. says:

    My daughter (who happens to be ADHD) gets frustrated that recess is only 15 minutes, and that INCLUDES snack time. Her 6 year old brain needs to be “worked” in a physical sense in order to allow her to reengage in learning activities. That being said, I am not rallying the school to extend recess. She’s there to learn. I have the conversation with HER daily about the importance of paying attention and learning new concepts. As a replacement for longer recess, however, I have her in an afterschool camp program that incorporates group homework and physical play/socialization. It’s a different time we live in now compared to when I was a kid. 1st graders expected to read at what was a 3rd grade level when I was little…I mean, shit, she’s even bringing home algebra in her math homework. But I digress.

    Either way, parents and educators need to get a grip. Kids are going to be kids, they’re going to get rough a tumble, they might break a couple bones, but they are incredibly resilient. Let them learn by their own mistakes. We aren’t in the game to create robots of only their parents’ understanding (or at least I’m not); frankly, if I know an activity may hurt my child, and particularly when I’ve given a warning (barring the possibility of actual, serious bodily harm), I’ll let my kid do it. No “I told you so’s” – no “you should have listened to me’s” when they get hurt. They’re learning all on their own. The umbilical cord has to be cut sometime. I find my kids to be so much more balanced in this respect than many of their classmates whose parents are still seemingly breastfeeding them at 7.

    Anyway, great post. Really encompasses several of the arguments I have in my own head, if only through observation.

    -Sarah

    • Dustin says:

      Don’t blame the educators for having algebra in a 3rd grade test book…. blame the all knowing D.O.E for deciding that it should be put in a standard 3rd grade curriculum.. who cares if they still haven’t got a firm grasp on their simple multiplication facts, lets tell them they need to be able to solve the equation “The sum of 2 numbers is 27, the difference is 5…find the 2 numbers”…and if EVERY third grader, regardless of learning disability, can’t solve that problem then the school is failing, the government is going to pull their accreditation and funding, parents will be allowed to take their kids to another district at the expense of the failing district, and the district looses any and all hope of having any parental support as they try to educate the students who stay.

      If every child who tries out for 7th grade football doesn’t some day sign a contract to play in the NFL shouldn’t the 7th grade football coach be fired, fined, sued and publicly trashed for the rest of his life??? Same thing in my opinion…

      I am currently in my 3rd term on my hometowns Board of Education, and I wish everybody would try to get elected and serve one term on a local school board just so they could truly see how screwed up the govt has made the process of educating children. Combine that with the threat of a lawsuit from every angle and the prevalent “that’s your job, not mine” mentality of 90% of parents and it becomes crystal clear why our country continues to regress compared to most of the world.

      • Dustin says:

        ***text book*** not test book

      • Sarah B. says:

        Dustin, I am in complete agreement with you. In fact, a large majority of my personal friends are teachers in the public school systems all around the country and they are dealing with the implementation of Common Core (which I think will make the American public school the greatest laughing stock in the world) and they are having their ability to “teach” basically taken away at the cost of the children’s natural ability and development. My daughter is in first grade…and is already bringing home algebra. Perhaps I would understand it to a simple degree in 3rd grade, but good God. When my daughter doesn’t get a concept, I get a note from the teacher that she isn’t up to par with the 1st grade standard on the topic. Seriously? Now, I don’t blame her teacher…I know her ass is to the fire if her students aren’t grasping these concepts – I do, however, blame education issues on the federal level. I know that’s where these “orders” come down. I feel a tremendous amount of sympathy for teachers that just want to teach, but are instead having to teach by a curriculum that is so strict and unforgiving. Eerily, it looks and feels to me like the D.O.E. is busy indoctrinating our children however the government is swaying at the moment. It’s is so nauseating to me that I consider homeschooling regularly just to be sure she’s getting the important details about her country and it’s history and also the moral lessons that were once so imperative but now are considered “off limits” in the classroom.

        I think much of the pressure does come from the parents too. I see some fanatical business going on here in our southern CA school system with these kids being pushed to be the smartest and parents unaccepting of the fact that their child isn’t a genius, and not because the teachers aren’t teaching properly. Not everyone is Ivy League material. When my daughter doesn’t understand something, it’s not an opportunity to scold the teacher for not teaching, I just spend more time with her on the topic and then we practice till it clicks. It is as much a responsibility of mine as it is her teacher to teach my child. In all truthfulness, more of the obligation rests on me to make sure she is getting what she needs.

        I agree too that parents should serve on the school board. I am curious how much say school boards really have over federal “standards”…if that’s what you want to call them. But just like all other federal systems, the Dept.of Ed. is just as broken.

        – Sarah

        • I’m with you on all of this. I taught for ten years and watched it first hand. Teachers are caught between the federally-mandated guidelines on one side, the teachers’ unions on another side, greedy lawyers on another, and parents who don’t want to accept responsibity for their child’s failures, only their successes on another. It’s a miracle teachers are able to even breathe, and no wonder our schools are “failing”. As a teacher, is no win unless you are willing to stand up to EVERYBODY for what you believe.

  4. I recommend the book RASH by Pete Hautman. It’s a great story about the future of safety.

  5. I love your blog! Your honesty is inspiring!

  6. RoverGrover says:

    “Safety First” is a joke and I’ve been saying the same thing for years. We only care about how long we live, and not what kind of lives we live. No risks are taken and it leads to hollow shallow lives.

    As for the lawsuits issue, that is part of a greedy “Me first” attitude that is all too prevalent in our society. Everybody wants something for nothing. People want things for free, and no longer even care whether it is right that they have those things for free (And more importantly who they hurt along the way)

  7. deweydecimalsbutler says:

    Wait…I don’t understand. A blog that includes something about schools that isn’t blaming them? Heavens, it seems to be somewhat compassionate, too? What sort of madness is this?

  8. Carla Rolfe says:

    “This is the real positive message for the youth: “Achieve your goals or die alone in the darkness.” Someone put that on a bumper sticker.” Well… okay 🙂 http://bit.ly/1e6V8PG

  9. Bethany Arsenault says:

    I LOVE your blog and value your opinion ! keep it up, we need more people like you !

  10. Rusty says:

    You better be careful Matt, someone might sue you over this post. Lol. 😉

  11. Judy says:

    If anyone accuses you of going overboard, Matt, point to the nearest warning label, like the one on the blow dryer that says “Do not operate while sleeping.” You know it’s there because someone did it! Keep fighting the good fight for common sense. Thanks for another great post.

  12. toninobologny says:

    When the classroom sizes are too large for a teacher to reach each student, some kids are not being taught. Then it is left up to their parents to teach them. Parents are not taking college courses on how to teach children. It seems strange… I cannot send my laundry to school for the teachers to do, so why can they send their schoolwork home for me to do?

    They will blame the child or the parent. NOT THE OVER-SIZED CLASSROOMS and the overpaid UNIONS and Administrators.

    • Molly says:

      Hmmm, did the teacher choose to have that large oversized classroom? Not in his or her control. And just an FYI homework is not meant for YOU to do..

      • toninobologny says:

        No, but the teachers can participate in the union meetings and be a bigger voice for smaller class sizes.

        Also, we have seen many teachers get laid off only to pay union leaders more money. NOT A PRIORITY to allow corrupt union officials this much POWER and CONTROL [authority] over flawed strategies that ultimately affect national security. If we have illiterate constituents, we have illiterate leadership.

  13. Pingback: Matt Walsh does it again: “It’s not the school’s fault if your kid is a lazy wuss” | Young Conservatives

  14. krislee1022 says:

    I blame the sue happy parents. The schools are just trying to avoid a lawsuit. Is banning kickball ridiculous? Yep. But so is whining because your kid got hit with a ball. Living in this society is like living in the Twilight Zone!

  15. John says:

    Matt, you write brilliantly, but you should proofread better. “It’s” and “They’re” as possessive pronouns? Your killing me.

  16. jeliwobble says:

    I read this earlier on this morning. It chimes quite nicely along with your blog, really: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/07/education-children-not-feral-enough

    • Great article in the Guardian, and I don’t doubt its thesis. The catch-22 is that in America nowadays you could never get permission to take children outside of the classroom due to legal liabilities. I remember as a kid going on field trips routinely and those outings enriched my educational experience.

      • jeliwobble says:

        I agree. I do think that this is also down to the parents as well, though. We need to provide these kinds of learning situations *ourselves* but we seem to be either scheduling every second of after school activity or allowing them to only inhabit screen worlds, instead of real ones.

  17. Jacob Young says:

    Hahahaha, whenever I got hurt my parents always surprised people/companies when I got hurt. Mainly because when I got hurt my parents put on me not the person or company. I recall when I slipped at Ralphs. The manager was freaking out and my parents said “Don’t worry about it, we told him not to run in the store, and now he knows why.” 😀 God Bless parents who teach their children accountability.

  18. Crystal says:

    Have you heard of the blog and book “Free Range Kids” by Lenore Skenazy? Your blog and hers are my 2 favorites, and now I know why! You’re totally on the same wavelength.

  19. mitchcowart says:

    As the father of 8 I agree completely. You may be interested in Beware of Dangerism.

  20. ARC says:

    Matt, I love this post. However, there is one aspect to this that I think you may have overlooked. I am so far from being the protective helicopter parent that it’s funny. I recently watched as my 3 year old fell face first down some concrete steps and I had to forcibly tell everyone else around her to not freak out so that she wouldn’t also. (she was a little shaken, but physically fine) However, there is always that lurking fear in the back of my head that someday when my kid really does hurt herself and truly needs medical attention that the doctors and hospitals will call CPS on me because I let my child get hurt. I truly HATE feeling that way. I’ve worried in the past who might be watching through the window when I have a pillow fight with my kid, or who might think I’m shaking my baby when I’m bouncing him on my knee to make him giggle. Maybe I’m paranoid, but I truly am terrified of the spiteful neighbor, grandparent, doctor, nurse or random stranger who will call CPS on me just because I don’t parent the same way they do.

    • littlehouseofpenguins says:

      Absolutely agree with you here. People call CPS vindictively or out of a righteous belief that anybody who doesn’t helicopter parent isn’t doing it right, and it can cost a family thousands of dollars, the loss of their child to the “system,” and it can cost the child… their life (either literally or figuratively). CPS is vastly overpowered, and I wish people would think about that rather than reporting things “to be on the safe side.”

    • mommeopathe12 says:

      I agree with this completely. Everyone is all up in everyone’s business; how we parent especially if it’s different and it’s annoying. Everyone is out to get everyone else and yet we all want to be left alone because we’re innocent. It doesn’t make any sense. Why don’t we just leave each other alone and mind our own business until someone actually needs help.

  21. mom23girls says:

    Amen! We are a sue happy society. And a society that is okay with “what do I have to do to just get by?” – LAZY! Have you heard of mykidsadventures.com? A great daily blog with ideas, activities, and such for parents and grandparents in getting their kids off the boob tube and devices and back into nature and activities.

  22. khushnumab says:

    1600+ words .. each point explained in the best sarcastic way possible .. loved it .

  23. So terribly (and sadly) true.

  24. Sally says:

    Matt, I have only one question: May the “Supervised Cartwheels” be an English Folk Revival band?
    (Ah don’t do Indie, but Ah can sing a good folk song or two.)

    Seriously, great blog as usual. As one who used to be allowed to wander the canyons of California unsupervised with the exception of my dog, one wonders how children are every going to learn to assess risk if they are never allowed to risk anything at all?

  25. Mona says:

    From Theodore Roosevelt (in a letter to his son): “The greatest threats to America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, and the idea of safety first instead of duty first.”

  26. Heather says:

    I’m with you on this one, too. I taught school for ten years before I moved, and I had a parent like this who bullied the school into doing so many things just because her children cried at the drop of a hat. The first to cry bully, but she acted like a big one herself. Despicable behavior, and a rotten model for her kids.

    I let my kids take their lumps. My older son fell off the playground equipment, went to the nurse crying (the nurse rolled her eyes at his hysterics and the school secretary called me cracking up laughing at the way he was carrying on). I brought him to my own school building next door and taught the remainder of my classes, based on their poor advice that he was fine–no swelling after all, and later took him to the ER to find out that he had broken both bones in his wrist area the whole way through. Poor little guy. Anyway, should I have sued the school for that? No way! Kids fall, they get hurt. I did, however, make mention of it to the principal when I asked that he be moved to my school next door the following year.

    • The thing is, parents who would actually sue over something like this are an extreme minority. Schools need to be willing to take the risk and to stand up against these parents, to fight back. Idiots like this have always existed, but it used to be that the schools resisted them. Schools need to stop cow-towing to these squeaky wheels. We had squeaky wheels growing up too, but the teachers and administrators just said – there’s the crazy lady. They didn’t change the whole school culture to accommodate one parent. I do in part blame the schools, because it’s only a few schools who do this overprotective nonsense. My kids play football at recess; they do cartwheels. They play tag; they play dodgeball. Better safe against lawsuits than sorry? These schools need to take more risks too and not always out their own safety first. I loved a lot about this blog post, but schools do need more of a backbone. The problems lie with parents and school administrators both.

      • dachs_dude says:

        The DID have the crazy ladies back them, but the one the crazy ladies didn’t have back then were the cadre of lawyers who are eager to make a buck and claim, “pain and suffering” now that little Johnny or Mary won’t be a “hand model” with that scar that MIGHT JUST BE PERMANENT!!!.

  27. MamaKat says:

    Great post, as always. I firmly believe that among all of the things that are destroying American, number one is Lawyers and our propensity to sue for things that were personal responsibility issues when I was growing up.

  28. Anna says:

    Well, I don’t blame the schools. I homeschool. Which is why I had the pleasure of my brand-new kindergartener reading your post’s headline to me tonight, and asking me “Mommy, What does “wuss” mean?” There’s an up & a down side to literacy in children – maybe I SHOULD have let the school keep her illiterate ; )

  29. Anna says:

    This was HILARIOUS! I LOVED the “shoot for the stars” analysis! : )

  30. John McAfee says:

    Actually I think “UN-supervised Cartwheels” is a better name for a band. It sounds edgier.

  31. amandamae says:

    As an educator I remember a parent who came to me upset that we wouldn’t let his child wrestle on the playground, a few weeks later he also came to me complaining that his child was being bullied. This case is not as extreme ad the lawsuits that you mentioned but implies the same message, don’t blame the schools…kids will be kids its not the schools fault.

  32. Scribbles says:

    #PlantoHomeschool

  33. bonbmorris says:

    SUPERVISED CARTWHEELS! I love it!

  34. JSantorelli says:

    This epidemic is the result of overly feminized education. Psych studies have show there is a difference in how men and women parent. Men tend to go for the rough and tumble play which is essential to a child self-esteem and self-control. Is it any wonder since we’ve demonized everything that men do that we suddenly have a “wussification?” If mom sees dad playing rough with the kids she scolds him. If mom sees dad teaching the kids to do something dangerous she scolds him. Then we have the overly female-represented K-12 staff that really lock down any sort of rough play. Tag, dodge ball, etc have all been outlawed because “it hurts kids feelings.” Sound familiar a la “feminine emotion?” Those poor feelings! Tell that to a person in the jungle that has to fight off a wild animal or take it in for food. Scary stuff! If women and their interest groups would back the heck off and let men parent the way we are designed to this wouldn’t be an issue. But then again “women know everything about parenting” and dad is just another kid right? Once again we see the usurping females pulling the rug out from under the feet of society.

    • Elizabeth says:

      My brother has said, “if the woman wants to take control, the man will take the remote control”.

      • JSantorelli says:

        @Elizabeth: Do you know why that is? Because most men realize fighting with women is futile. Ousting a dictator that doesn’t want to yield is no small feat and as the US has recently learned, not always worth it at least in the short run.

    • Lauren says:

      I have never experienced this. My brothers play with their kids, as do my sisters. I teach my nieces and nephews to climb trees. They’re at my house, they’re usually playing outside. I think you’ve had some really bad examples. And you missed the entire point of the article.

      • JSantorelli says:

        @Lauren: Your experience is entirely anecdotal and you are in the minority. Read the the book by Dr. Christina Hoff Sommers titled “The War Against Boys.” She cites a great body of peer-reviewed work about the harm the out of control women’s interest groups have caused and are causing.

        I got the point of the article quite well. Rather than complaining about the symptoms of the root problem as Matt has done, I got to the core of issue. No one wants to hear it though because admitting it would put some people in a very negative light. No one like to stand there and have a finger pointed at them saying “I told you so.” Double so for the “all-knowing female.”

    • Just a mom says:

      You should read his post on self esteem. I happen to agree with it. 😉

      • JSantorelli says:

        @Just a mom: I don’t think your comparison of my comments to Matt’s article on self-esteem necessarily follow. Take for instance girls issues with body image. That IS a real problem that has been documented. Another well documented problem is the apathetic male that plays video games all day and has no job. When I say “self-esteem” I do not as Matt suggests, mean a fluffy heightened awareness of oneself. By self-esteem I mean confidence that you can tackle a challenge, take responsibility, and not run away from it like a kid afraid of the boogeyman.

      • @JSantorelli – agreed. 😀

  35. Elizabeth says:

    “I do believe in outdoor games and I do not mind in the least that they are rough games, or that those who take part in them are occasionally injured. I have no sympathy whatsoever with overwrought sentimentality which would keep a young man in cotton-wool, and I have a hearty contempt for him if he counts a broken arm or a collarbone as of serious consequence when balanced against the chance of showing that he possesses hardihood, physical address and courage.”

    Teddy Roosevelt

  36. darylfaure says:

    What a sad state of affairs. We have many challenges of our own in South Africa, but hope we never descend to such insanity.

  37. Matt Marlin says:

    Are you paid by the word or the number of analogies you can apply to the same subject? Ohh, it doesn’t matter. Considering my public education, my comprehension of material of such depth and ground breaking comedic brilliance is sloth like, so let me get this correct. 1. Safety first. 2. Blame anyone but yourself and don’t forget to drop a retainer on a lawyer specializing in personal injury. So let’s include a .45 with each teaching certificate, that should cover the safety first part. and then let’s sue when our kid gets shot by a random gunman off his meds regardless. You love to blame the ills of society on an ill society, but someone instilled or failed to instill that is, the proper attitudes, motivations and morals you find so lacking in the parents of today………their parents, the nameless blameless.

  38. Pingback: Another perspective on yesterday’s post… | The Project: Me by Judy

  39. One of my pawns got hurt the other day while playing at daycare. I was upset that he hurt himself, but not upset at the teachers. The teachers were watching him and doing what they were supposed to do. My pawn was being a kid and doing what he was supposed to do, play. Sometimes we get hurt when we play. That’s life.

  40. Kel says:

    Wow! Love the article! I believe in Safety First, to a degree. Meaning, yes if you are going to play tackle football, which my 10 year old son does, then yes you need your pads. But let’s be real here. Kids need to be kids, they need to explore, learn how to work things out with their friends, how to climb trees and yes fall out of them. My 10 year old thankfully, would rather be outside playing (should I say it?…) Cowboys and Indians with the neighborhood kids than inside on his xBox. Maybe thats my fault due to my rules, or maybe I got lucky. Either way, I absolutely love this article, and unfortunately, its a very truthful statement about the society we live in today.

  41. Silver Fang says:

    I’m not 100% sure, but I think this whole lawsuit thing started about 23 years ago when lawyers started ramping up their TV ads. I remember spending my summer vacation watching TV (yes, I was a lazy TV addict kid) and seeing all these lawyer ads from Sam Bernstein and his ilk, urging parents to call them if their kids tripped and fell or got hurt on the playground.

    I think a huge step in reclaiming the civil society that we are losing to all these lawsuits would be to restrict lawyers from advertising on TV the way cigarette manufacturers were in the 70s. Then people wouldn’t be as susceptible to the idea of calling a lawyer every time their kid gets a bump on the noggin.

  42. CyberSeeker says:

    Why is it that Matt isn’t on national TV all the time?

  43. One name for you: Lenore Skenazy: http://www.freerangekids.com/. You are simpatico on this.

    Thankfully at our kids’ school, there is still decently dangerous playground equipment that the children are allowed to play on during their recesses. (Yes, PLURAL.) No one has helicoptered that stuff off the playground yet.

  44. I find it refreshing that you’re posting this on “Unity” day where our little darlings are supposed to “”Make it Orange and Make it End!”

    Sure, let’s be anti-bullying, anti-religion, anti-exercise and anti-facts. That’ll teach those little monsters to behave!

    As a mom whose son was bullied in 5th grade and the school did NOTHING about it, I took matters into my own hands and got him counseling, signed him up in more activities and home-schooled for awhile.

    We can’t protect our children from every.little.thing but we can TEACH them to work through things, get their hands dirty, get some blisters and get out there! That’s what playground is all about — getting dirty, playing hard, running out the wiggles and learning how to play together.

    Sigh.

  45. Jed Wheeler says:

    As long as healthcare costs are insanely expensive, parents whos echildren get injured are going to sue to cover the costs. Universal healthcare and longer recess for the win.

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