Modern society also cherishes its shrinking violets. The contemporary flowers in question are those individuals whom we do not yet deem adults. Children and adolescents are no longer required or allowed to labor alongside their parents. The modern schedule of school, sports, extracurricular activities, and media consumption is busy, of course; but these activities are not essential to survival.
They can even be a way to turn one’s children into status symbols. A child born at the appropriate moment in his parents’ careers, dressed in suitably adorable clothes for Facebook photos, driven to correct educational activities, and admitted to a proper Ivy League school, is a child who demonstrates the genteel rank to which his parents belong.
ShareOur children may know more about deviant sex than the average Victorian lady, but we guard other aspects of their development. From the best of motives, we urge teachers not to grade in red pen lest they wound the self-esteem of their pupils. We try to ban the word “bossy” lest girls lose their ability to lead. We speak as if young people will be damaged by anyone who either acknowledges or fails to acknowledge their cultural and racial background. We warn parents not to impose their will upon children with any kind of punishment, lest they damage their child’s ability to assert his own will against molesters, bullies, and friends. We treat our children’s psyches as fragile flowers. (Read more.)