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Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Wonder of Modern Childhood

When I was in grade school there were three recesses per day - this was in the late 1960's.  There were two 20-minute recess periods in the morning and afternoon and one long one as part of lunch.  Lunch and recess were combined so if you ate quickly you had more time outside.  We had a long-running baseball game that lasted literally for years.

In addition to recess there was also gym class - which often continued the same baseball game or involved other things like basketball.  (This was in the days before soccer became a prevalent school sport.)

All-in-all you probably had about 70 minutes of recess each day.  All the younger children also had recess - though on the playground on the other side of the building.

If you caused problems for a teacher you lost your privilege to go out - which meant that your baseball position would be lost to someone of lesser competence than you - and you would look stupid.  Everyone behaved.

Today there's only 15 minutes or so of recess, if that.

Schools have taken recess away to make room for prepping children for state mandated achievement tests and increasing test scores - punishing children for their failure to deliver educationally.  So if the door to door school experience, with transportation, takes up 8 hours of the day, that would be 45 minutes of recess per 24 hour day (3 x 15 minutes for 3 x 8 hour days).

Now it would seem that inmates at jails and prisons have more rights to exercise than this - an hour or two if they are well behaved.  From what little I can find prisoners have specific rights to exercise and, if your not in a supermax prison lockdown or solitary confinement, rights to be outside for that exercise.

Even dogs, at least in Pennsylvania, have more rights to exercise outdoors than this.

Then there's the issue of lockdown.

And we're not talking about a prison here.  We're talking about grade school - kids in kindergarten.  An entire culture has developed to deal with this phenomena including issues on how to behave, how to plan for lockdown, how to drill for lockdown and now to have daycare lockdown.  Does this make kids safer?  Only if you don't properly punish societies bad elements.  Seems like another adult failure here as well.

So, no recess and lockdown coupled with the 5-6 hours a day of TV and video game time kids have each day pretty much leaves their lives in the same a worse state as a prisoner.  That's right, a life worse than a common criminal.

If that's not bad enough, let's now mix in forced prescription drug (ab)use.  ADHD medications being the prime example.  If little Johnny is fidgety after being bolted down in his chair 12-15 hours a day there must be a problem, right?

Prisoners cannot be medicated unless its to kill them or there is a court order.

So now we start prescribing speed, er, ADHD medications to keep little Johnny quiet (boys receive this medication anywhere from 2 - 4.5 times more than girls).

Now you'll say how necessary these drugs are for little Johnny.  I say bullshit.  Little Johnny is probably suffering from merely being a child, from eating a remarkable amount of food that's not only really bad for him nutritionally but also known to trigger ADHD/ADD type reactions (white flour, dyes, various food additives), and from the fact that he lives in an environment where most other children are over-medicated.

Thirty years ago we were given the "your child needs ADD medication" stream of crap from a school.  Fixing their diet does wonders.  But, no one, including the school psychologist, makes any money off this.

In the 1960's no one was on these drugs.  Discipline was used - sometimes harshly - to keep miss-behavers in line.  The nuns where I went to grade school used to borrow my belt to take my classmates to the "janitors closet".   Everyone learned respect and behaved and actual learning occurred.  Discipline causes wonders: spare the rod, spoil the child.  No one uses discipline these days - it makes them feel bad.

I wonder how bad they will feel when little Johnny grows up to be a meth addicted?

Do these ADHD drugs make little Johnny actually feel better or sit still?  Perhaps.  But they also can cause him all of these side effects (the complete list is too long for this post so I am providing a summary from this link): vomiting, nausea, pain, headache, weight loss and anorexia, and psychosis.

If you consider things like Prozac as a necessary medication for behavior as well you always have suicide as well to consider.  (Or perhaps little Johnny has good reason to be depressed because of the crappy life the adults around him have provided... I wonder?)

Little Johnny is smarter than you think and he realizes that he can catch a buzz off these drugs as well just taking them for school.  A buzz being more fun than sitting like a zombie.  And, since a doctor has prescribed them, why they must be safe as well as fun, right?

So in summary we have little Johnny being treated far worse than many prisoners or dogs: locked down, no exercise or physical activity to relieve his stress, drugged up the ass to keep him quiet.

There should be no surprised, then, that little Johnny is
  • overweight or obese, 
  • okay with living in "lockdown",
  • okay with being treated worse than a prisoner or dog,
  • cannot think clearly or make decisions for himself, 
  • thinks drugs are the solution to his problems, 
  • cannot function without being "on something", and
  • thinking this is how life is supposed to be.
This is today's modern childhood, right?

Well, at least there aren't any more nuns taking kiddies to the janitors closet.  No more kiddies thinking for themselves...  Getting to leave grade school hooked on serious drugs...  Being treated worse than a dog or prisoner...

Modern mom and dad think this is fine because they can do thier job each day without little Johnny's behavior interfering - no school calling, no visits to the office.

No, sorry to say, the problem is not with the children.  Its with the ADULTS. 


Little Johnny will be fine if you let him alone and remain a child until its time for him to grow up.

This may not fit your busy adult schedule.

When you force little Johnny to be an adult when he's 2 or 3 so you can selfishly run your life your way you want to you'll have no end of trouble from little Johnny in later life.

Mark my words.

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