Albert Mohler refers with approval to an essay in the Claremont Review of Books which says that we aren’t raising our boys to be upstanding Manly Men and they are therefore becoming “Barbarians and Wimps.” Part of the problem, he thinks, is fear of physical discipline and excessive concern for “self-esteem.”
It pretty much sounds like what adolescent boys have looked like to middle aged men from the beginning of time. “Kids these days are completely unlike the paragons of moral perfection and manly virtue that I and my cohorts were at their age! Why, they’re nasty and spoiled! They need to be smacked around a bit more!”
The following quote is attributed to Socrates in various places, though I don’t know exactly where it comes from, and if it is accurate suggests that there is no crisis here, just the same old bitterness from people growing old about “kids these days.”
“Our youths love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders, and love to chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their household. They no longer rise when their elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up their food, and tyrannize their teachers.” — Socrates, Greek philosopher and teacher (470-399 B.C.)
This is via Mefi, which also references “Why I’m Raising Violent Four-Year-Olds., about a Baptist administrator who wants his children to realize that life is spiritual war, and that’s why he takes them to see Star Wars movies. Oooooookayyyy… My 4 year olds haven’t seen Star Wars, but Jim’s has seen the movies dozens of times. My son has slaughtered countless gnorcs and rhynocs in Spyro the Dragon, though. I am influenced not to worry about the “violence” more by the rational discussion in Killing Monsters by Gerard Jones than by a partcular wish to indoctrinate children into a warlike view of reality.
I don’t realy see any value in Baptist-boy’s effort to make “violent” a term of praise though. (“Violent” in his view is good as long as it’s violence he believes to be sanctioned by God, which means “yes” to smiting sinners and the Lord taking vengeance, and “no” to playing Grand Theft Auto…)
UPDATE: Playing follow-the-link, it turns out all this stuff was linked originaly by the most excellent post here at Howie Luvzus.
2 thoughts on “Cranky Old Man: “These Kids Aren’t Hit Enough”; Baptist Wingnut: “I Want To Raise Violent Children””
Just for what it’s worth, here’s a link to the blog entry in which I talk about Abby watching Star Wars:
Also for what it’s worth, here’s an observation I became aware of because a character in a book by Madeleine L’Engle quotes it:
The world is passing through troubled times. The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as if they knew everything, and what passes for wisdom with us is foolishness to them. As for the girls, they are immodest and unwomanly in speech, behaviour and dress.’ (Peter the Monk in AD 1274)
It seems like the world should be in Hell, handbasket and all, by now, eh?
Are they simultaneously barbarians *and* wimps, because that seems a neat trick.
By the way, I’m proud to say that my parents never, ever hit me, not even a spank. My mother says she realized in the middle of punishing my older brother, before I was born, that she didn’t like to be hit, so why should she inflict that on someone else?
Of course, I am pretty screwed up — I’m a barbaric wimp, you know, just finishing his dissertation and obsessively watching the sales of my first book on Amazon. So maybe they ought have spanked me — then I might be living a trailer park feeding stray cats.
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