Saturday, May 25, 2024

Woke Parents Suppress Essential Childhood Emotions

We are endowed with a full set of emotions for a reason.

From Woke’s perspective, no one (except conservatives) should ever have to suffer from negative emotions caused by the words or actions of others. These misguided beliefs most profoundly impact the way woke parents raise their children. Whenever you encounter a delicate, fragile Gen Z, who quits the moment the challenge in front of them becomes uncomfortable, you can rest assured it was a woke parent who reenforced those beliefs throughout the young slackard’s childhood.

Somehow, we have lost the capacity to recognize the beauty in the way we were constructed. Whether through purposeful divine planning or the brute force of evolution, exercising our entire palate of emotions allows us to fulfill our greatest potential.

The purpose of happiness, love, empathy, self-sacrifice, dedication, perseverance and other positive emotive expressions is self-evident. They provide joy in living and teach the importance of caring for others within the context of self-sacrifice. However, when certain emotions are deliberately suppressed, then the growth of the individual is stunted as well.

A Middle School Experience

Many boomers remember middle school as a brutal ordeal, particularly for boys. Proficiency in sports created a kind of caste system that stayed in place for years and often carried on through high school. In PE class, teams were typically chosen by captains named by the instructor. Each captain would pick the players for his team in a kind of draft system. The best available players were chosen first, and naturally, the least talented were chosen last, which served as a kind of scarlet letter of scorn for the unlucky “scrubs” as they were called.

It’s hard to imagine a process so humiliating and embarrassing would even be allowed in today’s hyper-sensitive woke environment.

I hung around (covertly) with a kid who carried the sports related stigma. “Johnny” we’ll call him, was especially terrible in basketball. Wretched hardly describes his lack of skill. He was routinely picked last, and mercilessly mocked for it. I remember feeling empathy, but there wasn’t much anyone could do to help him.

One day, I went over to his house, and I remember hearing him sobbing through the open screen door. I stayed outside and listened as he pleaded with his father to talk to the PE teacher about changing how the teams were selected. Their conversation continued for a short time before his father said:

“No, John. I won’t ask the teacher to change anything, just for your benefit. But I’ll tell you what I will do. I’ll put up a basketball hoop above the garage. If this bothers you that much, you can practice until you get better. If you stick with it, I promise you there will come a day when you’re not picked last.”

Sure enough, a hoop was bolted to the roof of the garage the next day, and Johnny started practicing. I mean, relentlessly practicing. I can’t remember how many hours I spent with him in the driveway playing one-on-one. Soon, other kids in the neighborhood started showing up, and we began playing full five-on five teams.

In PE, sports were played by season, and when basketball finally rolled around again, and teams were chosen, as usual, Johnny was picked last. I’ll never forget the look on the teacher’s face, and his classmates for that matter, when the first shot John threw up from the top of the key hit nothing but net.

Naturally, Johnny was never going to become NBA material, but he wasn’t picked last ever again. His embarrassment, shame and humiliation drove him to practice and dedicate himself to a goal. I have no idea how much this experience contributed to his success in investment banking later in life, but I guarantee that if his dad had intervened because Johnny’s feelings were hurt, an incredibly valuable lesson would have been lost.

The Damage Caused by Helicopter Parents

Two decades later, we’re experiencing the effects of “helicopter parents” as we watch millennials struggle to find their place in society. Sadly, Gen Z seems even more ill-equipped to handle the challenges of a country driven by capitalism.

Nicole Perry, a postdoctoral fellow with the University of Minnesota Institute of Child Development, was the lead author of a study on overzealous parenting. “If parents exert too much control over these situations and step in before children try to handle the challenge on their own, or physically keep children from challenging contexts altogether, they may hinder the development of self-regulatory abilities,” Perry said.

This tendency to shield children from even mild exposure to the “embarrassment” emotions has consequences that are showing up everywhere, especially in the workforce. Instead of looking for ways to increase their value to an employer,  employees now expect to be pampered with generous benefits, including “paid time off.” A lifetime of avoidance has left an entire generation without the skills and discipline required to battle adversity through self-improvement.

Ironically, it isn’t as though Woke has successfully purged all negative emotions from its behavior. When it comes to sanctimony, hatred, anger, fear, loneliness and jealousy, woke parents have done an exceptional job of handing those traits down to their children. Perhaps it’s time for progressive parents to consider fostering a different set of emotions that might actually help a child grow and thrive in a competitive world.