I talked earlier about generational conflicts, especially how Baby Boomers don't exactly have our best interests at heart. Mike reviewed a book called Generations at Work that dealt with the differences between generations and interaction between generations. He commented that the Millenials (born after 1980) will have a tough time with rejection, since their Late Boomer/Early Gen-X parents spoil the crap out of them and protect them from every real or perceived harm.
On Friday, CNN.com had an article on Public schools trying to woo back homeschoolers. Basically, budget cuts and decreasing population in some rural areas have public schools short of cash so they're trying to reach out to home-schooled kids. It's tastefully done, even if it smacks of desperation. Some are offering to teach creation and read the bible in English class to get the religious homeschoolers. Others go the intelligent route and offer unique classes like forestry or music. Now, I'm not against home-schooling. If you feel you're capable of doing a better job of teaching your kids then by all means go ahead. Unfortunately, some also use homeschooling to isolate their children. One parent said, "There would be the moral issues that our children would have to face with all the others who aren't taught the way they are." Is she planning on keeping her kids locked up in her house the rest of their lives? Parents have roughly 18 years of direct influence over their children to steer them in the right direction. Once they move out, it's up to them how much they interact with their parents. If you don't let your kids learn right from wrong in real situations while you can still interact with them every day, they're going to be in for some rude surprises when they enter the real world.
Speaking of college, more and more schools are taking over fraternities and sororities. Colgate University is buying all of the Greek houses and is disallowing any student organization that meets in a non-University owned property. The college will ban alcohol, enforce behavior, etc etc. I know a lot of fraternities have a bad reputation, but they're not the Delta house from Animal House (even though most would like to be). I did a lot of growing up in my fraternity. I learned to take responsibility for myself and for an organization. I was off the campus meal plan, I was out of campus housing. I paid rent, I called BellSouth to get my own phone line hooked up, and I learned that if you make a mess, you'd better clean it up yourself. My brothers and I ran budgets, made repairs to the house, managed a cook, and ran a full-time organization of 40-60 men.
Across town, at Emory University, the school already owned the Gerek system. Sororities were not allowed to have houses - they had lodges which were glorified meeting houses with maybe 5 bedrooms. Fraternities were spotless and ornate buildings. One fraternity was suspended for having a food fight. You think these students learned the kind of responsibility we did? When they graduated, most moved back to Mommy and Daddy and left Atlanta (it didn't help that they had $120,000 of education to get a $30,000/year teaching job). Not all Emory students were irresponsible, but if they had control of their lives after college, it was because they were independent before college.
Are we raising a generation of spoiled brats? I don't want my kids to get hurt, either, but I'm certainly going to make sure they learn the lessons of life. Am I just thinking this because I don't have children yet? Are we just too rich to retain the ability to let our children become grown-ups?