A Disturbing Look at Us - A Father’s Honest Opinion
“When placed in the context of American history, how did we get to a point to where we need places where people are protected against words?”
Anyone who has ever interacted with the youth today has likely come to the uncomfortable realization that we have failed to shape the next generation to be tough and resilient. Before the collective fervor, I say this as a father of three amazing young daughters. Despite my love for them, I have not created people that would survive in the world that I grew up in.
To paraphrase the popular complaints against today’s youth, they are soft, emotionally weak, have no work ethic, they are entitled, selfish, and lack grit!...and it is all our fault. There is an unescapable dilemma we have to confront in America. After World War II, the Korean and Vietnam Wars, and the Gulf War our parents wanted to shape an America that would prevent us from facing the same struggles they did.
Today, the youth has safe spaces in academic institutions. Moreover, in compliance with the desires of the youth, academic institution are banning words considered to be “intolerant.” In a recent example, a University in the State of Colorado directed the student body to avoid using the word “America.” I wont go into my thoughts about that specifically, but will address the larger issue at hand; people need safe spaces? When placed in the context of American history, how did we get to a point to where we need places where people are protected against words?
My father passed away in 2007 in his 80s. He remembered, as a child, the Great Depression, dropped out of school to support his family, lied about his age to join the Navy, served during segregation in the military (when “colored folk” were only allowed on the deck of a ship during night hours or in the heat of the day), and after coming home, he experienced Jim Crow and worked in construction for decades and well into his 70s.
My brothers and I did not grow up with much, despite my father’s hard work. I remember tight financial times and his very old school child rearing methods – of the leather strap persuasion. We were taught to persevere despite our circumstance, obstacles are to be overcome, and that life cares not for how you feel. I ended up joining the U.S. Army at 17, went to Airborne School, Combat Medical School, and deployed to Fallujah, Iraq, and was wounded in combat. Through all of my own struggles, I kept my father’s words in my mind. In any instance, we can either lay down, complain, and give up, OR acknowledge that life can suck, get up and carry on.
Any parent worth their salt does not want their offspring to live a hard life! If you do, you are a masochist. However, to quote Fredrick Douglas, “Where there is not struggle, there is no progress.” We could all argue the impact of an easy life. What we can not argue is what we see walking around in America between the age of 15 and 25.
To those of you that feel personally offended, I wish struggle on you to make you tough. This is so you are mentally able to deal with life, specifically adversity. At the same time, as I do for my own daughters, I hope you never ever have to face a life changing hardship. Herein is how we are responsible for creating what we are also infuriated by - you.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Lamare St Clair