American Elephants

There Are Always Consequences. That’s How Life Works. by The Elephant's Child


In his speech, Dennis Prager mentions the bad ideas of the Left, and rates the Self-Esteem Movement as possibly their worst idea ever. Back in 1945 Dr. Spock published his “Baby and Child Care” for the generation of the mothers of the Baby Boom when the fathers of the baby boom came home from World War II. “He began his book with the reassuring words:”Trust Yourself”, but as Kay Hymowitz wrote,”Not that he believed it.” For some it was a bible, others simply found it to be a comfortable reference. So when Nathaniel Brandon published a path-breaking paper in 1969 called “The Psychology of Self-Esteem” that argued that feelings of self-worth were a key to success in life, new parents were ready for advice, since they had been raised on Dr. Spock.

The American school system was ready for the”key to success in life” and  his big idea soon became the hot new thing in education. The California Legislature, always ready to be the leader, even established a “Self-Esteem Task Force” for the state’s schools. Competition was frowned upon. Soccer coaches quit counting goals and gave out trophies to everyone. Criticism was replaced with praise, even when undeserved. In Britain, which usually follows our fads, Author Melanie Phillips wrote in her book All Must Have Prizes in 2003;

 Alas, the latest pronouncement from those in charge of our exam system is truly beyond satire.

Their new idea for boosting examination success is to abolish the very idea of failure, along with the difference between the right and the wrong answer to a question.

Overpraising does not work. Kids know when they deserve praise, and false praise makes them become cynical about the undeserved praise they receive. They perform better with skilled and serious criticism rather than empty praise.

Seventy-six-million Americans were born between 1946 and 1964— the biggest generation ever, anywhere, and they became known as the Baby Boom. Tract houses, bomb shelters, hula hoops, an economic boom, assassinations, Rock and Roll, Vietnam, and protests. Society had a hard time dealing with the numbers of the Boomers—they were simply unprepared. The Sputnik Generation, the Pepsi Generation, Love Generation, Protest Generation, Woodstock Generation. The sheer numbers demanded, and got, attention. Great Expectations by Landon Jones  (1980) was a marvelous study about how society and the numbers interacted. They’re not through with us, as their retirement is playing hob with Social Security, Medicare and elder care as the first Boomers turn 73.

Boomers moved all over, and so did their children. New parents didn’t always have a parent  close by for advice. College and graduate schools admissions became harder. Unemployment went up, divorce went up.

In 1996, Dallas-Fort Worth broadcasters teamed up with local police to develop an early warning system to help find abducted children. AMBER stands for Americas Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response was created as a legacy to 9-year-old Amber Hageman, who was kidnapped while riding her bicycle in Arlington,TX and then brutally murdered. Other states and communities soon followed suit, and the idea was adopted, but that too had consequences.

Before there was AMBER, there were news reports of abducted children. Doesn’t take much of that before parents start monitoring their children’s activities more closely. We now have “helicopter parents” — moms who “hover”over over their children to protect them from the dangers of the world. Parents who allowed their children to walk to a nearby park were turned in to child protective services. “Play dates” have become fashionable, and children are walked to and from school.

Psychology Today has even published a report (2017) on “The Effects of ‘Helicopter Parenting'”, which is continuing into the college years as some parents call the school regularly to find out how their kids are doing and trying to make sure they will get into graduate school. All these trends, fashions, movements  have an effect and have consequences.

You can’t watch Dennis Prager’s speech and his comments on the Left’s Self-Esteem movement without thinking of the celebrated  “survivors” of the Parkland school shooting. CNN and Media Matters have used the very young David Hogg for their own purposes, which are banning guns and destroying conservative talk radio, as well as preparation for the midterm elections. This is the worst kind of child exploitation. They have taken the young man’s ill informed cause for gun control, and are using him as a puppet to attack Laura Ingraham by attacking her advertisers. When corporate heads follow the misguided lead of a 17 year-old kid, there will be some probably severe consequences for that as well.

5 Comments so far
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Some of the helicoptering is self-defense– all the obnoxious pricks that would have just maligned your name when my mom was a kid will call in CPS.

And CPS might just take the case, to boost their “positive resolution” numbers. (a known issue)

There’s also the non-zero problem of it being hard to get known dangerous crazies off the street, before they hurt someone or themselves. (If I hear one more “but the rate of kids being hurt/kidnapped/raped has gone down,” I may scream. Parental behavior got crazy protective in what, the no later than the mid-80s, and “shockingly” the kidnapping type problems go down? That argument won’t change any minds.)

We have a print out from the HSLDA pointing out, roughly, that if they want to investigate they can go swear out a warrant– and that breaking into the house without permission and without evidence for immediate danger to the kids is illegal, and chargeable.

I still watch the kids pretty dang close, because we already had one crazy/drugged up person come to our door and try to break it down, in Washington. My brother’s best friend’s brother is legitimately insane- and until he manages to put someone in the hospital, they can’t do anything. Even when he traps mom and grandma in the bedroom, stabbing the door with a kitchen knife.
Then he’ll get forced treatment…and have to face whatever he did, when he was not sane, and the state “helpfully” “protected” him from unwanted treatment.


Comment by Foxfier

I am not intending to cast any aspersions on moms of little children. You’ve got your hands full. Been there done that (3). There’s a gal who has a website about Free Range Kids, trying to fight back a little, and there’s even been some concern from the medical profession suggesting that kids who aren’t allowed to play in the dirt and make messes end up with more allergies. That said, we have way too many regulations, and every one is somebody’s pet project. Common sense seems no longer to be common, and things just seem to be a little off.


Comment by The Elephant's Child


Was less defensive, and more looking at the giant pile of Those Consequences Won’t Be Too Bad.

For heaven’s sake, I had to write up a “this is the law, chapter and verse, I am over 8, leave me the freak alone” sign for my daughter because she likes to feel like a grown-up and wait in the car sometimes.


Comment by Foxfier

My sister and brother-in-law had a problem with Child Protective Services(what a misnomer!). Bill was nailing together something, fixing a wall in the house. Pete, about 6-7, was helping. Bill swung the hammer down and Pete stuck his hand over the nail and got wounded. They took him to the doctor and got a tetanus shot and patched him up. The next day he went to school, the teacher asked what happened to your hand? “my Dad hit it with a hammer”. Before school was over for the day CPA was contacted, came and collected all three kids, took them to jail, and started questioning them. No call to the parents, or note from the school. They got informed when they called the school after the kids didn’t walk home at the usual time.

The kids spent two nights in custody, it took a hearing before a judge, legal fees, and CPA continued to pester them for months with “safety” inspections, calls, and home visits.

All totally legal and all out of proportion to the actions of two very dutiful parents taking good care of their children.


Comment by philohippous

Government at work. They want to protect children who may be being abused. An agency is created to perform that function. They have governmental rules to obey. School Teachers are directed by the concerned government to report evidence of child abuse. And once reported, obviously they have to keep an eye on the possible abusers. The treatment the kids got in custody could also be categorized as child abuse, they must have been terrified.

People are very anxious to have government solve problems, and I submit that the Left is anxious for government to do so, since their entire focus is on power and control, which we recognize from past history as a very bad idea. Leftists are not anywhere as apt to be knowledgeable about history, and at the very least they never understand the problem of consequences.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

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