Ironically enough, I’m sitting on a college campus writing this, as I wait for my kid to get out of her last class of the week. I read earlier today how UC Berkeley will be providing counseling for students and employees in case they feel scared from anything conservative speaker Ben Shapiro might utter on their campus at his upcoming engagement.
The school is “deeply concerned” about the “impact of the speakers on their safety and belonging.” As if any of those people will actually be attending the speech by Mr. Shapiro or any other conservative. Maybe just the fact he will be breathing the same air as they do on campus is upsetting to them. I don’t know.
So I ask myself, yet again, how are these “kids” going to become functioning adults if they need counseling sessions due to the idea of or merely hearing something they don’t agree with? How will they be able to deal with real trauma or loss if, God forbid, something serious happens to them? Who is raising these kids to be so insecure with themselves? What happened to the whole self-esteem craze they were brought up with? Newsflash: it didn’t work.
I have one adult daughter who managed to graduate university without needing any safe spaces from scary words, mostly from a sociology professor she viewed as entertaining in his leftism. Another daughter is currently in her sophomore year at this place where I sit, too busy with classes, studying, activities and friends to give any of this consideration. My youngest is taking a Spanish class at community college while still in high school and hasn’t been given any kind of handout saying she can’t speak that language because of cultural appropriation. But I’m almost waiting for that.
Point is, when I tell my kids these things are happening on campuses, they almost don’t believe me. They barely follow social media, other than Instagram, or much news at all and simply carry on with their own lives, unlike their mom, who has a job in social media and can’t really avoid it. At times, I entangle myself in what I feel could be productive conversations about these college campus situations with people who only in the end want to call me clueless and stupid. Usually educators. Or millennials. My oldest belongs to that generation just by a hair, and almost won’t even own up to it. She doesn’t understand how they think or why everything is so difficult to them, especially if they don’t get their way.
What is causing this? I have no researched answers, but my theory is that parents who catered to these kids’ whims their whole lives are to blame. Now, I realize every college student is not engaged in useless activism, but I’ve told mine that if they so much as think of donning a pink knitted hat for a march or black bandana over their face to go cause trouble, their college ride from us is over. I’m a mean mom. Get a job, go volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, or go serve at a shelter or church if you have that much extra time. Stop being upset about every single thing and, while you’re at it, pretend you’ve never heard the words “micro-aggression,” “triggered,” and “woke.”
I also realize that once they have graduated, they are on their own and can do whatever they choose. I can only hope we raised them with enough sense to see the bigger picture. We tell them: the 40-year-old you will look back on these college years someday and what will you see? Either a kind, productive person who learned and had some fun along the way and then contributed to society and/or a family, or a mess who needs weekly therapy because you fell prey to a narrative that insists you can’t handle an opposing viewpoint or truth of any kind. Pick one.
But we have the upper hand, here. My current university student, a Gen Z-er, is a gifted artist who is majoring in psychology and plans to continue her education to become an art therapist. She wants to work in hospitals with kids someday. While that is a noble cause, I figure by the time she graduates the real money will be near or on college campuses, where, for a cash only fee, she’ll provide a handful of coloring books and crayons, some blankets to make tent forts, and a bongo drum for ambience. I’m pricing a nice selection of berets and horn-rimmed glasses for her at this moment. Things are that stupid right now.Published in