Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Creating the canary generation?

The recent controversy over Zachary Christie's suspension from school is a reminder of the relentless crusade to make the world "safe." We're not talking about the war against terrorism here, just everyday life.

Six-year-old cub scout Zachary's crime was to bring to school one of those handy camping gizmos that combine a spoon, fork and 3" knife. He wanted it to eat his pudding at lunch, but he fell afoul of the school's zero tolerance policy on weapons. His gizmo was met with the overwhelming force of the school board.

This is the same line of thinking that removes slides and teeter-totters from playgrounds, that prohibits school library books containing the word "negro" (gotta keep minds safe, too), and that promotes competition-free games where there are no winners or losers.

Bumps and bruises teach kids that they need to look out for themselves. Exposure to dirt builds immunity. Encountering new ideas challenges them to think. Testing their own limits builds confidence. Competing prepares them for the real world. We do them no favours by protecting them from these essential aspects of growing up. Risk offers the opportunity to fail, but also the opportunity to triumph, to experience the feeling of fulfillment.

Risk is part of life. Learning to take risks is the foundation for achievement --- all top level entrepreneurs, scientists, architects, athletes and artists are risk-takers. Risk is the essence of freedom --- the wild bird vs. the caged canary.

Let's hope we're not raising a generation of canaries.

No comments:

Post a Comment