By Victoria Gill-Gomez
In the New York Times article “The Age of Coddling Is Over,” by David Brooks, he cites books and articles about the new age of parenting and on the fact that Millennials and Gen Z children are not capable of responding appropriately to adversity.
In some point of his article, yes, Brooks hits the nose on over-protective parenting. Children these days are coddled due to worried parents and technology. This is only the case because we are expected to do more and know more than the generations of our parents and grandparents, and that is due to the advanced accessibility of information. As a result of social media, and how public life is, we are scrutinized for honesty and advocacy for mental health and freedom. Everything is about being perfect on-screen, in a résumé, and mentally. Oftentimes parents do not know how to mitigate the stress.
This “safetyism,” as Brooks puts it, is to ensure the elimination of stress and hardship overcomes a childhood.
In regard to virtual graduations, this lash back is due to the destruction of hope the Class of 2020 have for human contact. We have risen to the occasion with online classes, meetings, and hangouts. Even though we are not in school anymore, these “snowflakes” continue to care for themselves.
“This overprotective impulse doesn’t shelter people from fear,” Brook correctly states.
But this generation is facing it head-on without any fear. No wonder many students are depressed and anxious, how are we supposed to carry the weight to figure out the solution for world peace, climate change, and global hunger? Americans struggle to stay afloat during this crisis, enduring long hours as essential employers, or no hours at all, in low-paying jobs. There are people who are sick and dying, those with food and housing insecurity. There is a lack of access to essential services, like internet, that dominate our lives.
It is not that parents cut back outdoor play in fear of injury, they fear abduction, the unpredictability of the world these last two generations of children have grown up in. We are preparing the next generation of leaders to not just be excellent “dodge ball” athletes but to have innovative knowledge and empathy. As a 20-year-old, I have seen myself and young friends have to grow up in fear of school shootings, economic collapses, and now isolation. There have been let downs by those in authority.
Right now, putting safety and health before academics is not a form of coddling, it is a form of survival.