While in the truck this morning, I heard a story about a group of college students demanding a room to cry in because a professor publicly stated that he didn’t think race should be a factor in nominating a Supreme Court justice. It started me thinking about how all the “safe spaces”, counseling for those triggered by free speech, cancel culture nazis, and other absolute nonsense might be due to an entire generation being kept too safe from everything while simultaneously told to worry about everything.
I doubt most of these kids have ever taken a drink from a garden hose, taken a long ride in the bed of a pickup, taken a trip in the “way back” of a station wagon with no seat belts, climbed a tall tree, jumped off something that was probably too tall to be jumped from, jumped a bike off a ramp, or played tackle football in a t-shirt and shorts. It’s a wonder most of us got to adulthood with the crap we pulled. But no, not these kids.
My single-parent family scraped by and we moved a lot – like 4 different elementary and 3 middle schools a lot. There were no safe spaces. But there was neighborhood tackle football, riding in the bed of that old Dodge at my grandparents’ ranch because there were only seats for 3 ‘up front’ and I’m pretty sure those didn’t even have seat belts, doing things with bikes that probably shouldn’t have been done, and more. I don’t even know how many broken bones, sprained joints, bruises, and cuts resulted from these activities, but it never occurred to me that I should have been worried or anxious. I was invincible.
Then again, I wasn’t being told by every adult that the world was going to end in 10 years or that our Democracy was ending because of how my parents voted while simultaneously being told I had a right to feel safe. Nah, we got “suck it up buttercup”, “quit your whining”, “walk it off”, and “rub some dirt on it.” Heck, we went from being told the next ice age was coming to the sun melting our faces off in just a few years and we just shrugged it off. After all, John just told us he had built a new ramp that should make it possible to jump the nearby creek.
Add on the COVID hysteria, mask fixation, and lockdown crap and it’s no wonder these kids live in fear of… everything. The smallest dent in their carefully crafted reality is instantly transformed into a massive attack on their personal safety. Everything is an affront. When they don’t get their way – a temper tantrum results because they don’t have the skills to cope when somebody moves their cheese. They’re just not very resilient.
But us, at that age? We were invincible.
We don’t instantly curl up in a ball and whimper when things aren’t the way we expect. Our idea of a ‘cry room’ is that area at the back of the church where families with infants go during the service. We’ve never seen a safe space in our lives. If you move our cheese, we’re more likely to figure out how to get better cheese, not complain that you moved it.
Am I offering corrective advice for the current batch of too soft young adults? Nah, if they’re the sort needing cry rooms, life ahead is going to be rough.
The ones that are going to do just fine?
They probably remember being invincible too.
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