Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Support vs. Self-Reliance

There was a time, in my youth, when schools tried to develop the character of their students. They emphasized personal responsibility for one's future life.

As part of that effort, an English teacher might assign Emerson's essay, "Self Reliance", for the students to read and discuss. Or, perhaps, Kipling's "If" poem, which puts the responsibility for personal growth on the individual's taking actions that further his/her future life.

Brave New World was another book that argued for the individual taking responsibility for the outcome of his decisions, rather than simply follow all the others who passively accepted the various means by which the government kept its people calm and amenable.

Today's students are often coddled, encouraged to think of themselves as helpless victims, and too infrequently helped to develop the mental and emotional toughness that facilitates their independence as adults. Here is one high-performing school's experience with their students' life after school, and some thoughts about how to change that fate.

Here's a link to a list that contains many of the books I, and other students, were assigned as students. You might want to re-read some of them, as well - they might seem very different, from the perspective of adult experience. 

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