“I have my own plan to show him how hard the world is.
On his first egg-hunting Easter,
I’m going to fill some of the eggs with dog poop.
That way, he’ll learn that not every surprise
is a good one.”
- John, babydaddy to my new nephew, Matthew
First and foremost, I’d like say: I had no badass childhood. I grew up in safe neighborhoods, went to secure schools, and generally lived a fairly middle-class life. So I can only speak from my own experience.
But today, I read an article on CNN.com that infuriated me.
“Should we let kids feel the sting of exclusion?”
My experience as a child was never very rough, because I made a concerted effort to be kind to all of my classmates. I learned how to make friends. I learned to choose my friends wisely. And all of these experiences molded me into a very capable adult.
However, I can talk from my experiences with children. The Boy, in particular, does NOT benefit from the idea of inclusion. “Overinflated self-worth” and “a sense of entitlement” are just the tips of the inclusion-iceberg. For instance, when I play air-hockey with The Boy, he will give up half-way if I don’t “let [him] score”. Uh, no. And he’s caught on to the fact that they all get trophies at the end of every season, regardless of how well they do in the league.
Please don’t misunderstand: I don’t fault him for this. It’s the environment.
And this all falls into the “No Child Left Behind” vein, where are schools are to teach to the lowest common denominator. I have yet to find someone in an educational industry that backs this philosophy. And I heard this disheartening statistic on the radio yesterday: 83% of schools in Alabama are now in accordance to the No Child Left Behind policy. That would make me feel better if our schools still weren’t 48th in the nation. So what are we really teaching our kids?
I also feel the need to point out here that I don’t like the idea of the same people who vote on my garbage pick-up determining what standards we should set our educations to.
Be mediocre; you’ll be rewarded for it.
Don’t put any effort above and beyond; it will go unrecognized.
Treat those around you however you wish to; you will still be part of the “in” crowd.
The sting of exclusion is just like any other sting in life: temporary. Once it fades, you learn to be that much more careful. That much more aware. That much more cautious. And you carry that into adulthood.
And if you’re worried that your child will be irreparably damaged by not getting a frickin paper valentine from ole Susie over there, perhaps your child needs a little toughening up. Or, dare I say it, maybe YOU do.