When I was a kid (OLD MAN RANT ALERT) recess was like entering a post-apocalyptic wasteland...with a swing set and teeter totters (or a seesaw, depending on your vernacular.) Factions were formed, lines were drawn, and feelings were hurt.

And I swear the faculty were taking bets on who was going into the nurse's office before the recess bell rang.

An artist rendering of my school days. Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
An artist rendering of my school days.                                      (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Good times.

So what the **** happened between then and now that kids need "recess coaches"?!

The first I heard of this unfortunate phenomenon was a story out of the Twin Cities. I figured it was a stupid local bleeding-heart-liberal fad that will (hopefully) quickly fade away.

Silly Choad...

Now this ridiculous plague of protecting kids' feelings at the expense of character-building has spread to New York City. In the very city where manners and kindness is famously non-exisitent, kids are taught that nobody is "out", just "unsuccessful"; there is no "tag", just a "gentle tickle on the shoulder"; and schoolyard conflicts are not settled with smack-offs or throwdowns...but with Rock Paper Scissors.

How barbaric. It's not even Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock. Do we not challenge our kids anymore?!

There's a common enemy between the playgrounds of the Twin Cities and New York City. Meet Jill Vialet, CEO and founder of Playworks.

BACK VILE EMOTIONALLY-STUNTING DEMON!!(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images for Laureus)
BACK VILE EMOTIONALLY-STUNTING DEMON!!  (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images for Laureus)

And it's not just the Twin Cities and NYC, it's all over the doomed damn country.

The green is where you want to avoid. (via Playworks.org)
The green is where you want to avoid. (via Playworks.org)

Now don't get me wrong: I hate bullies. Being a chubby kid in a poor family growing up, I got bullied. But instead of being shielded from the bully, I was told to stand up to him. Which I did...years later as an adult (I'm a world-class procrastinator.) But the experience taught me how not to treat another human being, and as a result I grew up to become a well-rounded contributor to society.

"Well-rounded" may not be the term I'm looking for...
"Well-rounded" may not be the term I'm looking for...

Playworks is out of California, where they are so worried about protecting kids' feelings that Mother Nature won't even bother to drop rain there anymore.

Helping a kid deal with their feelings is one thing, protecting kids from any feeling that isn't utter joy is another. We're sacrificing long-term emotional development for short-term happiness. The problem being that once the kids venture out into the Real World, they'll expect things to continue being hunky dory...and any adult can tell you that, while life is beautiful and certainly is better than the alternative, it's anything but hunky dory.

Don't be afraid to disappoint your kids. They'll be fine.


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