Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Golems, Ogres, and Trolls

Back, many years ago, when I was a young child, there were stories of monsters. There were ogres living in the forest. Golems made of mud and enchanted. Nasty trolls, living under bridges. There were others. There was the Biblical Goliath of Gath and the mean giant from "Jack and the Beanstalk". There were also the Jinns of Arabic literature. And many more.

These were cautionary tales. Read by parents to both entertain children and to let them know that their world is never completely safe. Don't stray off. Listen to your parents. Do what you are told, and you will be safe. It didn't always work. More's the pity. 

I don't know if it was actually safer then, but children got their warnings and were sent out to play. We'd roam our neighborhoods rounding up our friends. We were very much unsupervised. Our stomachs told us when to go home for lunch or dinner. But also, neighbors took responsibility if things went wrong out of our parents sight.

Today there are more real monsters than ever. In most families both adults work so their children's time is regimented. There are nannies for those who have the means. After school child care for the younger ones. Play dates are organized. The children are sheltered from the evils of the world as best the parents can do it.

But, has this desire to shelter the children created another problem? So many college students today seem to require "safe areas" where speech is controlled lest they hear an opposing view. They seem to live in fear of something called a "micro-aggression". Contrary opinions are brought to the college administration and firing of controversial professors and ejection of intractable students is demanded.

They are being taught to live in a fools paradise. One day, supposedly, they will graduate. With their nice new degree in hand, they will hope for profitable employment. As an exercise, I suggest the first time they hear aggressive words or face a contrary opinion, they run to management and make the kind of demands that got such respect in college. Then they can start looking for their next job, as they are escorted out the door.

The world is tough. Teaching the young ones to be wimps is doing them no favor. Reality must be faced as it is. That's why they call it reality.

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