If this is not wartime, then what do you call it?
Eager to bury my head in the sand for a few more seconds, I clicked on the link to the blog posted titled, "Praise the New Criticism." It's a very interesting piece about how excessive praise puts pressure on our children by giving them the impression that in order to succeed, they have to keep doing wonderful things in order to continue to win praise. I happen to agree with its premise and overarching message that we need to return to saner parenting.
So far, so good. Until the fourth paragraph, at least, which reads:
"Note: other studies have shown anxiety levels in children nowadays to be at levels previously only seen in wartime! So it isn’t just our college students who are suffering."
And this isn't wartime?
It is in my neighborhood, where two cars haven't moved much since January. They belong to daddies who are in Iraq and Afghanistan.
It was on Big Guy's baseball team, where three kids were without at least one parent during the season. On Boots' tee ball team, it was two. And Fort Irwin isn't even a "deploying base" - percentagewise, very few soldiers ship out from here.
It was at Boots' preschool, where one friend's dad has deployed three times in his son's life. His son just turned 5 in December.
It is in Big Guy's karate class, where two children once went two years without their father. That was early in the Iraq war. Thank heaven the time has shortened now.
It is for 186,000 American families whose loved ones are deployed.
And it is for the 170 American families who have lost fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters in Iraq and Afghanistan this year, as well as for the 5,486 American families who have lost someone to combat since 2003. It is for 138 families from a number of countries whose soldiers, airmen, Marines and sailors have lost their lives in Afghanistan since my husband left in January.
OK, I understand that most of the country forgets all of that. It's easy to if you're not living in the middle of it, and that's part of the problem with this war. It rarely intrudes on your life, other than when the occassional story hits your local news about a hometown boy or girl who died overseas. I suspect it might intrude even less often in Canada, where the blogger's located. I happen to know, though, that it is wartime in Canada, too. Their soldiers were training here in the winter, in preparation for deployment. One hundred forty-six Canadians have died in Afghanistan since the war began.
I'm going to cut the author a break and assume she didn't mean to marginalize hundreds of thousands of American and Canadian children - though that's exactly what she did. I'm going to give her an out and guess that maybe she meant to say "children living in combat zones" - as if there aren't thousands of children worldwide doing exactly that.
But if the mystery studies found anxiety among today's children "at levels previously only seen in wartime," imagine what life is like for children who can forget for only fleeting seconds that this is indeed wartime.
Copyright 2010 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.