I feel sorry for the generation that is growing up today. The things they won't know, and the fact that as a society we're overprotecting our children. We want to make everything fair and safe and make all the kids feel good about themselves all the time. It sounds great, in theory, that no kid is going to feel bad, ever.
But the thing about kids is they don't stay kids. They become adults, and if adults know anything, we know that life simply isn't fair. Sometimes the idiot who has none of your brains and works half as hard as you do gets the promotion. Sometimes the one you love more than any other doesn't love you. And no matter what your mom may have told you, not everyone worth knowing is going to be interested in taking the time to know you. So, what happens to these kids who've been taught that everything should be fair and that they should always feel good about themselves?
As a parent, I try really hard to keep two things in mind; first of all, my darling little drama queen only has one childhood, and I want her to have a good one, and second (and most important) the whole idea is not to raise a child, but to raise an adult. You know, they're kids for such a short time, so you don't want your seven year old worrying about her weight or something foolish like that, but you also need to prepare them for the world which isn't always a good and wonderful place. They need to be protected, but at the same time, aware that bad things can and do happen, and that, in fact, bad things will undoubtedly happen to them.
For some reason, there's this idea that it's important to protect kids from all the ugly in the world. But, if kids don't know about the ugly, we aren't going to be raising adults who want to change it and do better. Even the history we teach our young children is sanitized. It's no wonder that children today don't understand the importance of Martin Luther King Day...to them it's just a reason to stay home from school, play on their playstations and listen to their Ipods.
I worry especially about the message we are sending our little girls. If you've walked down the girl's aisle of a toy store recently, you'll get what I mean. All the toys out there are so materialistic...Barbie doesn't even have careers anymore...it's all about fashion. The girls in Mean Girls aren't pathetic and stupid, they're role models because they're pretty and have nice clothes. And I think about how far women have come in the last few decades and I wonder if this isn't like thirty big steps backwards, to be raising girls who know alot about Paris Hilton and the latest trends, but knows nothing about things that matter like, poverty and war and Christ, a million fucking other issues that are so much more important than whether or not you have the right shoes.
My generation has been defined as apathetic to social issues, particularly following my parent's generation which fought so hard for social justice. And what will the next generation be? Self centered, self indulgent twits who are shell shocked because they grew up to discover that the world, in fact, does not revolve around them.
So...if you have kids or know kids...don't let them win every game they play. And don't give them everything they want, even if it means that someone won't like them. And if someone doesn't like them, don't call a big conference with the principal and the other kid's parents (unless, of course, some bullying or violence is occuring), teach your kid to accept it and move on with their lives. Remember, these kids are going to be running the world when we're adult diapers...we want them to give a shit about something besides themselves.