Nation of Wimps, II

Helicopter is an And1 streetball star who used to light it up in the West Carteret gym back in the day. He is not a wimp and this is not about him.

This is the second post on Hara Estroff Marano’s “Nation of Wimps” (Psychology Today, 2004) . . . which expands upon the perils of helicopter parents.

And here are a few more quotes from the article:

  • Anxious parents are hyperattentive to their kids, reactive to every blip of their child’s day, eager to solve every problem for their child — and believe that’s good parenting.
  • In the hothouse that child raising has become, play is all but dead. Over 40,000 U.S. schools no longer have recess. And what play there is has been corrupted. The organized sports many kids participate in are managed by adults; difficulties that arise are not worked out by kids but adjudicated by adult referees.
  • Contrary to the widely held belief that only intellectual activities build a sharp brain, it’s in play that cognitive agility really develops. Studies of children and adults around the world demonstrate that social engagement actually improves intellectual skills. It fosters decision-making, memory and thinking, speed of mental processing. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, the human mind is believed to have evolved to deal with social problems.
  • What’s more, cell phones — along with the instant availability of cash and almost any consumer good your heart desires — promote fragility by weakening self-regulation. “You get used to things happening right away,” says Carducci. You not only want the pizza now, you generalize that expectation to other domains, like friendship and intimate relationships. You become frustrated and impatient easily. You become unwilling to work out problems. And so relationships fail — perhaps the single most powerful experience leading to depression.

If we accept these points, then we have to also accept that preparing students for 21C success runs much deeper than the mere technology about which we read and write so much.

Healthful Living rises as a 21c area of focus.


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