I recently came across a particularly disturbing story of tragic consequences at a 13-year-old Little League game. No, it wasn't about parents fighting in the stands or a steroids in the club house, but a story of protection from the realities of competition.
Columnist Dennis Prager describes the story his friend told him recently:
"His son's team was winning 24-7 as the game entered the last inning. When he looked up at the scoreboard, he noticed that the score read 0-0. Naturally, he inquired as to what happened -- was the scoreboard perhaps broken? -- and was told that the winning team's coach asked the scoreboard keeper to change the score. He and some of the parents were concerned that the boys on the losing team felt humiliated. In order to ensure that the boys losing by a lopsided score would not feel too bad, the score was changed."
Prager goes on to blame "The Left" for "sissyfying" the country. But this is clearly not some Liberal conspiracy. There are just as many Republicans as Democrats in the stands, schools, and homes where such behavior goes on.
The tragedy here is that we have yet more proof that children today are missing the challenges that lead to improvement. And it's not a function of the MTV Videogames, but rather the parents who are imposing a seemingly universal belief system on the rising generation of children.
Overall, this story parallels that of helicopter parents, which I touched on a few weeks ago. Helicopter parents see their duty to hover over their children through college and even into their careers, always pulling them out of a crisis, heaping praise on small wins, and pushing them in particular directions.
I continue to grow concerned for this generation of Americans, who have had life so good that they have not grown the immunities and solutions to life's small and large challenges. How will they respond when the real challenges come? Or will they be sheltered for life, and we will miss this generation's fair share of Bill Gates's, Steve Jobs's, and Sergey Brins?
Maybe there will be good, however, as the country's lower-middle-class and poor kids will have a true advantage in our society - not through some government handout or quota program - but rather the advantage of overcoming tough situations. Thanks to a hunger for more and confidence from facing real challenges, they may become the real leaders and success stories of the next generation.
Alternatively, we might see the next true "movement" of a generation growing up. The Boomer generation rose up in the 60s at least in part as a reaction to their parents' constricting beliefs. Maybe we shall see a similar response in the future, as this generation rises up and reclaims its independence. Maybe "Free Love" will become "Free Will".