He failed a key exam, and a few hours later, he bought a high-powered rifle. I think you can guess who “he” is — the accused “Dark Knight” madman, James Holmes. But can you guess why he did it?
The explanation haunting me is this: He’s a product of the “everyone gets a trophy” generation.
Now, let me hasten to say that I have no degrees in psychology, nor have I examined the man. Let me add that the vast majority of kids, even those with shelves full of meaningless trophies, do not end up shooting theaters full of people.
There are schools that have outlawed using red pens for corrections, for fear it’s too traumatizing. In Canada, a veteran science teacher was just fired for giving kids a zero on homework they didn’t hand in. Closer to home, my own son brought home a bright, shiny trophy for coming in eighth place in his bowling league.
Out of nine teams. (See below!) Apparently, the league hoped my boy never would notice that when it comes to bowling, he stinks.
Our generation is shielding our kids from failure because we don’t think they can handle it — even though kids always have. Sure, it feels bad to lose a game or get a bad grade, but it is only recently that teachers, parents, principals and coaches decided that kids are too sensitive to bounce back from a single setback.
And then we wonder why kids can’t bounce back from a single setback.
In no way am I excusing James Holmes of the heinous crimes he will be charged with. But we do our kids no favors by shielding them from the fact that they’re not always winners. In fact, we may be turning them into losers.