Train wrecks and snowflakes

The importance and dire need of education in our culture is becoming clearer every day. Though I myself am neither a parent nor a teacher, my heart aches to see a better cultural climate for future generations.

I’m picturing a literal train wreck. I imagine that each individual car of a long freight train is self-destructing, disintegrating under its own weight. The conductor boasts about taking out many sections of the railroad that was laid in front of the train. He himself is boarding a train for the very first time. Many people can see that this is a problem and have spoken up, including some of those who are putting together this train. But the coal is being stoked and the trip is going to move forward as scheduled. Most people are already aboard the train and can only hope that it will stay on the tracks. Some are excited about this new conductor simply because he’s different.

I see adults who make it a rule not to use “no” with their children, even if that child is running straight into danger. I’m in no position to suggest how anyone should parent, but something abrupt and forbidding is the most appropriate response to a kid who has put himself in danger and does not yet have abstract thought. They must first grasp “no,” the shorthand of “you ought not to do this because X.” Growing up without the word “no” is no way to prepare for the real world. It’s a surefire way to make sure that child is self-absorbed and self-entitled and completely ill-equipped to deal with the harsh realities of rejection, competition, and the fact that he is not in fact a delicate snowflake. Delicate snowflakes do not survive outside the perfectly innocuous environment that overprotective adults have fabricated for them.

Delicate snowflakes become narcissists at best. Delicate snowflakes are unable to develop a sense of humor about themselves, and thus become deluded and seek power to compensate for their lack of acceptance rather than seeking to improve their character. They cannot accept that they are flawed, so they can never be wrong.

It’s pretty clear who our train conductor is. It’s as clear as when Meryl Streep spoke of him without having to drop his name or rank. The disintegrating cars are the people he has inexplicably placed in the highest offices. Betsy DeVos as the Secretary of Education is an absolute train wreck all her own. To watch her trying to answer simple questions from Al Franken and Elizabeth Warren in her confirmation hearing is pure discomfort.

I fear for the future of our children. I’m terrified of what will become of “education.” I fear for a generation of children without “no” in their vocabulary being educated in a system run by a different generation of snowflakes.

More than ever we have the duty to educate children in the home, or wherever we can. What does this mean for those of us who do not have children of our own? They say it takes a village. I believe we need to put as much wisdom and beauty into the world as we can, and to get this wisdom and beauty into little hands. This is why I’m so passionate about writing and illustrating. I want to create something that normalizes big truths to crowd out the “post-truth” that’s happening in our culture. I want little ones to be so smart and so well informed that they are equipped to recognize and do battle with the bad ideas, to recognize that what we are normalizing is not and should not be normal. That there are centuries of thought that came before the ideas of this precious snowflake’s mom that may just be more correct. And I hope that they are secure enough in their character to be resilient, to not be shaken by the “no’s” they will hear all their lives.

What comfort I can find in this situation is that we don’t have to put our faith in institutions. We can equip the next generation to create better ones.

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