Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum
Sign in to follow this  
Gus Van Horn blog

Reblogged:A Book Many Parents Could Stand to Read

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

I usually prefer to finish reading a book before commenting on it here, but I'm making an exception this morning. Recently intrigued by a review of Rich Karlgaard's, Late Bloomers, I bought a copy and have been slowly working my way through it. The book has proved valuable, and not just for the reasons I wanted to read it.

I am still somewhere in the first third of the book, but on more than one occasion, I have found myself thinking something along the lines of Every parent should think about this. An emerging theme of the book jibes with much of what the likes of "Free Range Mom" Lenore Skenazy have been talking about for years. Karlgaard argues that our quest to identify talent early and our approach towards educating (if you can call it that) the "gifted" are doing children a great disservice. For example:

Image via Amazon, fair use.
Let's stop and ask: Is the sacrificial expenditure of money, wrecked family dinners, and kids exhausted from organized activities producing better, more productive, or happier people? Is it helping people bloom? For the majority of kids, it's doing the exact opposite. This pressure for early achievement has an unwitting dark side: It demoralizes young people. By forcing adolescents to practice like professionals, to strive for perfection, and to make life choices in their teens (or earlier), we're actually harming them. We're stunting their development, closing their pathways to discovery, and making them more fragile. Just when we should be encouraging kids to dream big, take risks, and learn from life's inevitable failures, we're teaching them to live in terror of making the slightest mistake. Forging kids into wunderkinds is making them brittle. Journalist Megan McArdle has written extensively about the fear of failure that plagues today's young adults... (loc. 540) [bold added]
Karlgaard cites mental health -- and suicide -- statistics elsewhere to back himself up, but it's almost unnecessary. As a parent, I think almost anyone around middle age can see stark differences -- almost to the point of unrecognizability -- between childhood today and childhood as it once was. This is not to say that there aren't many, many improvements, but the cultural and institutional pressures to drill children in sports and academics have made me uncomfortable (to say the least) from the start. As another book, Steven Johnson's Wonderland, argues (and Skenazy often does), delight and amusement play crucial roles in cognitive and emotional development.

Modern childhood strikes me as deficient in both.

-- CAV

Link to Original

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...