THE conventional wisdom these days is that kids come by everything too easily — stickers, praise, A’s, trophies. It’s outrageous, we’re told, that all kids on the field may get a thanks-for-playing token, in contrast to the good old days, when recognition was reserved for the conquering heroes.
Children are said to be indulged and overcelebrated, spared from having to confront the full impact of their inadequacy. There are ringing declarations about the benefits of frustration and the need for grit.
These themes are sounded with numbing regularity, yet those who sound them often adopt a self-congratulatory tone, as if it took extraordinary gumption to say pretty much what everyone else is saying. Indeed, this fundamentally conservative stance on children and parenting has become common even for people who are liberal on other issues.