Jim Gray: Parents Must Not Be Afraid to Let Their Children Grow Up

Only supervised activities for our children; safely drive them to school; don’t let them go out on Halloween by themselves, etc., etc. As aptly stated in a recent article in Reason Magazine, “Play is training for adulthood.” And today not only aren’t our children playing much on their own, they’re not doing much of anything on their own.

The principle here is simple: This generation of kids must be protected like none other. They can’t use tools, they can’t play on grass, and they certainly can’t be expected to work through a spat with a friend.

And this, it could be argued, is why we have “safe spaces” on college campuses and millennials missing adult milestones today. We told a generation of kids that they can never be too safe—and they believed us.

Always treating children like children only ensures they stay children forever

But only when children fall down and skin their knees in some “resilience moments” without parental guidance will they learn from their mistakes. And this is virtually the only way that they can effectively grow into adulthood.

Our kids are tougher than we give them credit for. And we should actually want them to be insulted that we feel they are too shallow and sensitive to be able to take care of themselves on their own – because that is how they learn to be careful.

Or to be unsupervised in their playtime – because that is the way they learn to be creative. Or to take calculated risks, and sometimes fail in those efforts – because that is how they learn entrepreneurship. Or to hear conflicting viewpoints – because that is how they learn skepticism. Or to be devoid of “safe spaces” – because that is not the way the real world operates.

In large part we, their parents, were afforded these liberties, and not only did we “live to tell about it,” most of us learned from those situations and thrived. So we should let children again have the Liberty to fail. It is how we have prospered and how we have made our great country successful!

(Photo of Judge Jim Gray speaking at an Our America Initiative Rally in New Mexico by Nick del Castillo)

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Judge James P. Gray (Ret.) was a judge on the Superior Court of Orange County, California for 25 years, and was the running mate of Gary Johnson in the 2012 presidential contest, as well as the Libertarian Party's 2004 candidate for the United States Senate in California. The author of multiple books and a play, he is a critic of current American drug laws.

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