Does anyone really think it’s okay to scare the bejeezers out of our kids with predictions of environmental doom?
“I worry about it,” says this girl who has yet to lose all her baby teeth, “because I don’t want to die.”
I understand that if you believe the worst case global warming scenarios you’ll advocate taking actions to avert them.
But frightening children about these issues, in my opinion, is unconscionable.
The fact is, NOBODY knows for certain what the future holds. It could bring horrors as bad or worse than those suggested by Al Gore’s scare graphs. (Asteroid impacts. Nuclear war. Flu pandemics. For instance.) Or it could be that people will get their s**t together and manage to make the world a nicer place than it is today. Or — the scenario I think is most likely — it could be a mix, kind of like it is today.
So why is it okay to trash a child’s PRESENT wellbeing in the name of a future we can’t predict, and over which children have even less control than adults?
This is Psyche 101 stuff. Worrying about the future, worrying about things over which you have no control, is debilitating — it’s a form of low-grade madness. Yet we not only foist these emotional non-coping skills on our children, we are downright pleased with ourselves when we do it.
. . . when 9-year-old Alyssa Luz-Ricca’s mother returned from a business trip to Costa Rica with a T-shirt of a colorful frog and the words “Extinction is forever” . . . Alyssa looked at the T-shirt and, she says, “I cried.”
“She cried very hard,” clarifies her mother, Karen Luz of Arlington.
Isn’t that wonderful? Alyssa’s “motivated” now! Happy day!
We should be ashamed.
We should be ashamed that we’ve laced what used to be called “biology” in our school curricula with environmental fire-and-brimstone messaging.
We should be ashamed that we, the adults, aren’t adult enough to shoulder the burden of our terrors ourselves, instead of asking our children to share the weight.
We should be ashamed that we have so little faith in ourselves that we can’t sit our kids down and say, “yes, there are troubles. But lots of grown-ups who really care about these issues are working very hard to find ways to solve them that are fair to everyone.” And believe that we’re telling the truth, because you know what? That IS the truth.
And what’s more, it’s the only truth that matters to a nine-year-0ld child.
[tags] global warming [/tags]