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The De-Youthing of America

How socialism has made it to gymnasiums and playgrounds everywhere.

By Daniel Brigman

Copyright 2017

There are few things which motivate my children to get there pj’s on like the promise of watching a movie and getting home-made popped popcorn.  I’m talking oil in the bottom–shake the pan–over the stove—popcorn.  The kind with Real butter…too good for a microwave.

Recently, during our family cinema time, a small vintage fan was in one of the scenes.  It was not a ceiling fan but a room fan on a side table in the movie.  The type with just bare number of wires in front of it.  Wouldn’t keep out a groundhog.  Without question a child could put their hand right through it and lose a finger.  I smiled nostalgically when I saw it…. 

There are many Americans born before microwave popcorn.  Back then the road from cradle to adulthood was paved with all manner of landmines.  How many remember climbing through their parent’s car and getting their head stuck in the back window?  What about the 10 ft. tall metal slide on the playground?  And of course the aforementioned FAN-O-DEATH.  Forget about being scolded by adults…if we weren’t responsible life had its own way of punishing us. 

To understand the pitfalls of this world we were raised to account for, but not be controlled by, the circumstances around us.  We were raised to be alert.  We were raised to compete.  We were raised to be Americans.  Excellence was something to be celebrated not rounded off to the least common denominator.  Fast forward the span of my life and America no longer seems to revolve around hard work, achievement and equal opportunity….it now revolves around the emotions of young adults suffering from arrested development. 

Case in point: Recently a social justice championing college banned the use of scales to weigh yourself in all their gyms.  The reason they gave?–because students might be emotionally “triggered” by them.  That is the actual excuse they gave—I am not kidding.  Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised.  This kind of politically correct whitewashing has been creeping up on us for quite a while.    

Numerous school districts have eliminated beloved games such as Red Rover, Dodge Ball and Freeze Tag.  The childhood I experienced is being erased from culture and I don’t think it’s for the better.  Such team oriented, tests of a child’s physical, and strategic abilities used to be part of school.   I know everybody didn’t like dodge ball but everybody certainly didn’t like math tests either…but students still have them.  Plus, to see your class work together as a team, with every member doing their part for a common goal, is a high ideal every teacher should hope to achieve in their students. 

If being weighed is one of the first things you do at the doctor’s office it must be important to your health.  Also important is physical activity.  I have to believe classes would be better behaved and Ritalin prescriptions would plummet if children were allowed to exercise properly.  There is just no substitute for good old fashioned recess.  The concerns go well beyond exercise.  What message is all this nannying of our children sending?  The questions become…Are we raising a generation of incapable, irresponsible children who have only a vague concept of accountability?   Do they have the mental capability to perform under pressure?

It has been said this is the first generation of Americans who believe their children’s life will not be as good as theirs…but why?  Dr. Norm Shealy recently came on The Power Hour Radio Show and talked about a conscientious life.  He claims it is scientifically proven People who lead a conscientious life are happier, make more money, and live longer-healthier lives.  Conscientious…that means responsible!  Our Constitutional Republic only lives on responsibility.  A government by the People can only flourish when those People are willing enough, alert enough, responsible enough and possess enough common sense to rule themselves. 

When I read about scales becoming collegiate contraband and Freeze Tag banned from our playgrounds–I don’t just lament the death of common sense and my childhood…I lament the end of self-rule…the end of self-determination. 

I can still remember being a small boy staring up at the towering stairs leading to the top of the big metal slide.  I knew it was not for the faint of heart.  If I was brave enough to climb the ladder and if I was smart enough not to let my bare legs touch the hot metal and if I was coordinated enough to kick my legs out at the bottom to execute a good landing on the well-worn patch of ground then I too could be among the choice souls who had conquered the 10 ft. metal slide.  It wasn’t a hazard it was a valued rite of passage and a badge of honor to be earned.  The playground, like American life, used to be a meritocracy.  The only way to win was to do it. 

It starts early my friends. Freeze Tag is not something to be avoided and marginalized…it should be celebrated.  Competition and achievement are all hallmarks of responsible progress and should be encouraged in our youth.  Childhood games can promote individual achievement within a framework of collected freedom. Having the chance to fail and compete with your peers is part of being free.  It is much better to learn this lesson playing youthful games than wait till adulthood where the stakes are much higher. 

Scales are American.  The 10 ft slide is American.  Winning and losing and competing is American.  DODGE BALL IS AMERICAN!!!  If we are no longer responsible for our own weight, then what are we responsible for?  Next are schools going to ban mirrors?  If we don’t change fast I wonder how long it will be before our Nation abandons our brilliant political heritage and gives in to the delusional siren song of socialism.  Because if we need the government to tell us if we can use a scale or not how long will it be before we feel the necessity for them to tell us everything else?