Today (January 7, 2016; FIRST FULL DAY FOLLOWING MY FIFTIETH BIRTHDAY), I was taking my long walk around the Lafayette Reservoir with my twenty-one-year-old son, PJ. He leaves on Sunday to go back to college. It is a beautiful reservoir that has a wonderful three-mile path. I love that area. I also love walking and talking with PJ. As he and I are walking, we have one ear open and one year with an ear piece listening to our choice of music / radio. I am okay with one ear – better than no ears.
Well, I was listening to Dennis Prager. Labeled a conservative talk show host. He was interviewing a college freshman, Olivia. I almost changed the station because the tone of a college freshman is very similar to the high school students I teach. Don’t get me wrong or misunderstand me. I love my high school students, but I love my time away from them, as well. But, Olivia’s message was stronger than her tone of voice. Much the same with me: my writing skills stink, but the topics I present CAN BE interesting.
Olivia’s topic is in my WHEELHOUSE!! WHAT WORKING AT McDONALD’S TAUGHT ME ABOUT PRIVILEGE. Oh my heavens. Olivia is brilliant (yes, she is brilliant because she and I agree; I get it). She is absolutely spot on that the college world is selling their students short. How are they selling their students short? The colleges are doing all they can to keep the students “protected.” Seems that the colleges are now taking the role of “helicopter-parenting” to some sort of “supersonic” level of “parenting.”
I am very concerned about the “safe rooms,” “puppy rooms,” “playdough rooms” and so forth and so on. These “rooms” are not helping the students! The rooms simply are delaying their growth and setting them up for failure. What are we (adults / parents /teachers) protecting our children / students from?! How are these “rooms” going to help our children / students deal with angry customers or demanding bosses? They aren’t! OLIVIA GETS IT. I am glad she has gotten it before she graduates.
The paragraph that stands out the most for me is:
I have PTSD — because of this, the environment at work was anxiety-producing much of the time. Yet there was no “trigger warning” for when a customer was about to start yelling, when the restaurant would get so busy that I had no time to breathe between orders and the noise would make me feel faint, when a group of men in the drive-thru would whistle and catcall me as they pulled away. The sexual harassment I experienced there is another story entirely — the point is, at work, my mental illness and I were irrelevant. And from that, I grew; I learned to take care of myself in ways that didn’t inconvenience anyone, draw unnecessary attention to myself, or interfere with the structures in place and the work which had to be done. McDonald’s was not a “safe space” for me, and that was how it should be; I was a small part of a big picture, and my feelings had no business influencing said big picture.
Please read Olivia’s article and consider sharing it with your child / student. We are really at another pivotal time in our nation’s history. Our children are being raised in a manner that is very different than how we were raised. Also, I will leave you with doing some “homework.” Look at Leonard Sax’s book: THE COLLAPSE OF PARENTING: HOW WE HURT OUR KIDS WHEN WE TREAT THEM LIKE GROWN-UPS. That book may be another good BLOG topic. I need to buy that book!!
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.