A Nation of Wimps

Nina - Rochester, New York
Entered on December 13, 2008

I believe we have become a nation of wimps. I base my belief on my observation that it has become socially and philosophically acceptable to expect life to be pain-free, average performance to be handily rewarded, and attainment of everything worthwhile to be effortless. We have become a nation that believes we have an inalienable right to happiness, rather than to knock ourselves out pursuing it. And we have raised a generation or two of children who think that paying tuition entitles one to be made smart and educated, rather than to be given access to the resources and tools necessary to make oneself smart and educated.

When did it become acceptable to incur the risk of pain medication or anesthesia in order to avoid momentary discomfort? When did the solution to students who cannot think from first principles when tired become reduction in work time rather than training and repetition that would convert effortful activity into honed reflexes retrievable despite fatigue?

I believe that the answer lies in raising the bar and learning once again not to mistake criticism and excellence-driven mentoring for insult. I believe that the answer lies in the realization that teaching a child to overcome obstacles and to distinguish obstacles from mere inconvenience or discomfort is a better investment in the future than working to eliminate obstacles and inconvenience and discomfort. And I believe the time to do this is now, before another generation learns to applaud mediocrity.