Nation of wimps

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006
By Yokota Fritz

"Nation of wimps" is how Psychology Today described us in this 2004 article. We pamper and protect our children so much that they can't deal when they escape into the real world from our good intentioned clutches.

I've witnessed adults freaking out because of parents who make their children walk or bike to school. I've heard of an instance of parents who were reported to their state's child protection agency because their child was seen riding his bike to school with traffic in the rain. Overprotectionism (and fear of litigation) often drives school policies that ban cycling to school.

Because of declining resources and other factors, I believe my children will enter a world that is harsher and much more competetive than the one we live in now. I give my children guidance, of course, but I want them to be able to think independently and to act without a disabling fear of their environment. To do that, they need to learn from their mistakes, and to learn from their mistakes they actually need to make mistakes.

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Good for you. My wife and I starting riding our boys to school on their bikes for years now. They now, at ages of 8 and 10, can ride 25 miles or more without blinking an eye. Too bad most parents drive their children to school and deprive them of learning skills, conditioning and maturity.

My older boys (from another marriage) are 24 and 30 and still do not have cars even though they live in autocentic states.
When my kids were in elementary school, I worked an early shift so I could meet them for the walk home. It was a pleasant, 10 minute walk of about half a mile. Some parents and kids were appalled that I'd make them walk 'all that way'!

We're turning into a nation of fat, lazy, complacent people, driving round and round in the parking lot so we don't have to walk too far getting into the gym for some exercise.
My wife walks our kids (1st and 2nd grade) a little less than a mile each way to school everyday. Well, not everyday. If it is raining very hard she drives them. On those days, loading them in the van, driving, and waiting in the long car line actually takes longer than the two mile round trip walk. In general, people who live near us are very supportive of the walking. I just don’t understand why more people don’t get out and do it.
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