The columnist discusses how schools have been banning honor rolls, rough play activities like dodgeball, and inflating grades and then somehow turns around and blames the parents for all this.
I've seen many overprotective parents who mollycoddle their kids, but the banning of dodgeball, the elimination of honor rolls, and grade inflation all originate with the schools. The problem, to the extent there is one, is that most parents meekly go along with such crazy things because they look to their schools as some sort of authority figures on education and related activities.
So what we have in affluent towns like Needham, Newton, Wellesley and Brookline are expensive tutors and SAT courses, private college consultants, one-on-one sports coaches and more therapists prescribing more anti-depressants to more 15-year-olds. Meanwhile, few are expected to clean up their rooms or walk, heaven forbid, the half-mile home after school. What we have in affluent towns - and this is about affluent towns - are overinvolved parents, hoverers, I call them, so busy greasing the skids for their kids that their kids cannot learn to fail. And they’re afraid to as well: What will mommy or daddy do?
Who hires a tutor for a student who is is doing well in school? Usually, the tutor enters the picture because the student is struggling in school, which is to say, the student is failing. The tutor is there so the student will stop experiencing failure. Stick with me here: students who fail become unmotivated and disengaged, students who are unmotivated and disengaged tend not to attend to their school work, kids who don't attend to their school work tend not to do well in school, kids who don't do well in school usually wind-up staying at mom and dad's house well past the point that mom and dad want them to, not to mention the fact that they probably won't graduate from college or be forced to take one of those easy majors, like journalism, which ensures the student will be in mom and dad's pocket for years to come.
But you can’t learn how to get up if no one lets you fall.
But you may stop getting up if you fall too much. It is a delicate balance.