Life is Real

These days the right side of politics tends to get a bad rap, and given their unofficial spokespeople it's not hard to see why. It is, however, dangerous to write off ideas from the right simply because certain polarizing figures regularly appear on national TV to again prove their ridiculous insensitivity and/or warped perception of the country. There are crucial ideas from the right which, independent from any hypocrisy, are important to the continued prosperity of the country.

One idea in particular that tends to get a bad rap is "unoffendability". In short, the idea is that left wing politics is far, far too sensitive to the possibility of offending people. It is unfortunate, but often this idea is characterized as thinly veiled racism/misogyny/etc., and more unfortunate still that in some cases it truly is.

However, in a great many cases it is not, and these situations should not be lumped into the same vile category. These are cases such as when schools in Massachusetts ban playing cops and robbers, or when kids are suspended for making a gun shape in their hands, or when a soccer league in Ottawa, Canada implements a rule where winning too well causes you to lose. The only factor at play in these circumstances is the possibility of an overprotective parent making a fuss.

This isn't about political correctness, but about denying children the opportunity to learn, to stretch their imagination, and to encounter the hard truth that life doesn't always cater to them. The wise see value in exposing their children to the hard truth that Grandpa isn't coming back, or that Fluffy isn't going to be okay. The sage understand that children must fall down in order to learn to pick themselves up, that injury often goes hand in hand with knowledge and wisdom. Throwing children in a bubble completely separated from failure, pain, and the reality of responsibility is the greatest possible disservice to them.

What the voice from the right decries isn't the idea of protecting children from unnecessary harm or emotional trauma, but the act of insulating them utterly. It's a basic notion that while some sheltering has a purpose, the extent to which it is being taken today is extreme to the point of stunting the ability of children to mature and develop the basic life skills they need to survive outside the safety of the home. As the father in Calvin and Hobbes often noted, minor hardships "build character".

When I raise my kids, I fully plan on being wrought with worry and concern as I allow my kids the freedom to get messy and potentially scrape knees, burn fingers, cry, and learn.

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