Full individual protection is an illusion. Currently we have rules for war, weapons and mass destruction, we have laws for behavior, and traffic, etc. we have protected ourselves so well that we’ve nearly forgotten what it was like before all of our protection.
We fail to realize that laws and rules are simply guidelines with consequences. They are not guarantees. We have become too paranoid to take risks, not because we are afraid of the outcome, but because we are afraid of being unprotected.
The cost of a risk is relative depending on the person taking it and risk can result in backlash, anything from ridicule to loss of life, but they are necessary. Our fear of being unprotected is undermining our ability to stand up for our individual values and our protections are allowing not only the abdication of responsibility for our actions but also the disintegration of our children’s education.
When a person makes a move to defend their values, that person is not “protected” from the public; they may be called names, their property or person may be harmed they may even be ostracized by friends, family and community. To be protected from these potential effects, people elect not to stand up and defend their values.
In essence we allow others to decide what values our community, state or country will espouse and if our community chooses to embrace values that an individual does not agree with, there are two courses of action: risk the above unpleasant experiences by voicing disapproval, in this one may open themselves up to questions as to why they did not speak up sooner or we can just “go with the flow” thereby weakening not only our individual values system, but that of our family, community and country.
We have come to rely far too heavily on perceived protections. Since we have parental controls and firewalls to protect our children from the internet and television, many parents no longer feel it is necessary to take responsibility for or closely monitor what their children do. What happened to snooping in your child’s room while they are at school?
What happened to asking about a child’s day and insisting on meeting their friends and boyfriends/girlfriends? What happened to asking questions and demanding answers? Simply because children have gotten smarter does not mean that they have become more trustworthy, in fact because of this children should be monitored more closely because now many of them possess the ability to cover their tracks.
The No Child Left Behind Act requires that schools meet certain standards in the areas of reading/language arts and math. While this appears to be beneficial, many schools are finding it necessary to cut funding for programs such as art and music that encourage expression, in order to use these funds to bring English and math programs up to the newly required standards.
Classes that were required 20+ years ago are now becoming distant memories. In raising the standards for these areas only we have put children at a disadvantage in regards to the ability to further their education once they graduate from high school. Since universities and many scholarships also require that students have other interests, hobbies, skills or talents.
We are slowly removing their ability to discover whether they have talent in areas aside from English and math and taking the enjoyment and culture out of our schools.
There is no doubt that the world is a dangerous place, whether it is more dangerous now with gangs than it was fifty years ago with the Ku Klux Klan is in the eye of the beholder. In the end we are more afraid of the world now then our parents and grandparents were because we have abdicated our responsibility to our families, communities and country and protected ourselves out of values.
We have implemented educational programs that have the effect of slowly eliminating art, music, social studies, geography, etc. leaving our children few places in school in which to excel and no places to have fun. John Steinbeck wrote “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”, he’s right; we have protected ourselves out of life and into a world of boredom, cowardice and paranoia.