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Private School Courage?

My biggest beef with this whole scenario is that the Covenant school didn’t take the “overcome defeat” path over the “overcome oppression” path. This is a scenario of “assuming the victum.” WHO is cool with teaching this behavior? Profound defeat in sports is a humility building exercise.

In actuality, I blame the faculty and parents who promote this school (by likely paying exhorbinant tuition fees), for not having the creativity to turn defeat into an inspirational baseline to build a triumphant recovery scenario to teach. Modern parents really do, in many cases, lack the personal courage to allow thier children to endure the hurt and pain of loss. “It hurts them more than it hurts the kids!” Listen we are adults, parents… the reason we are in this world is to teach children the realities of loss and pain; triumph and victory. Intrinsic to this responsibility is that me may endure a broken heart or two along the way. In this regard this is a sort of “selfless service” that all parents must bear in the name of their children.

This goes along with and is tantimont to the spanking and discipline argument. A fair dose of disappointment and pain, remidied by a spoonful and a half of encouragement and redemption, is a traditionally successful recipe for a healthy kid. Too many parents want to “immunize” their kids from the realities of life. This creates the sterile, nuturing environment that protects them from pain and disappointment and promotes the theory that this is somehow a better environment in which to learn and grow. Unfortunately and too often, the product is a child or young adult who does not possess the immunities or resistance to the harsh realities of life required to cope, function, or flourish. Am I the only one who ever wonders why, in a world of such advanced medical and sociological sophistication, we have an ever increasing number of weak, troubled children.

This is a product, in my opinion, of a lot of uncourageous parenting by folks who aren’t willing to tell their kids to “…get up and stop crying” when they get a boo boo. “I mean, ‘ouch’ that fall hurt me too…but you’ll be ok…”; “No we are not done trying to ride this bike, we will work at it until we get it…” etc. It takes a brave parent to watch their kids cry. My guess is that the parents at Covenent were no more prepared to help their children prevail over the disappointment of losing at sports than they were to allow their children to prevail over the challenges of public school. (Ouch, sorry home-schoolers and bully-paraniod parents…)

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It’s true. I work at an international school in Switzerland right now that has a student body made up mostly of 7th and 8th grade Americans. Each school day, the students go out on a ski lesson with an English speaking Swiss ski instructor. It is interesting to talk to these instructors about the kids. They, of course, like working with kids otherwise they wouldn’t be doing this. But, they have some interesting comments like, “I don’t know, these kids are just…how do you say, soft.” They don’t mean this as an insult necessarily. They are just drawing the distinction between their interaction with Swiss kids and Americans. The Swiss have very formal, very strict adult-child interaction. As a result, the kids can respond to criticism like “You are not making your turns correctly. Lean forward more and keep your hands in front of you. Try again.” American kids would feel insulted by that but might respond more to “That was a great turn, you might want to try leaning forward more next time. Great job!”

I don’t think we need Swiss style adult-child interaction. I just think we need to expect more of our kids. You can be encouraging and loving without shielding them from all disappointment. If we don’t think they can take it, we’ll shield them and condition them to think there never needs to be disappointment. If we expect a lot of them, we will let them take their lumps and they can be better prepared for real life.

Wait a minute, here. I don’t see the losing side crying “oppression”. It’s Covenant that requested to forfeit the game, who fired the coach, who poured on the apologies – they’re the ones who scored the 100 points.

The issue here isn’t when is it ok to be better (or even a lot better) — the school isn’t embarrassed for having won, it’s embarrassed for its representatives (the team and the coach) for demonstrating extremely poor sportsmanship.

They were playing basketball, not fighting a war. When the score got to be 30-0, it would have been obvious to anybody that Covenant was going to win the game. For them to continue — to see just how badly they could embarrass the Dallas Academy team (which, by the way, is a school for girls with learning disabilities) — is just unmitigated dickheadedness.

There are other issues here — it’s ridiculous that the two teams were even playing, given the disparity in their relative skills. To allow a game like that to be played in a league that has no “mercy” rule to allow a blowout like this to be ended early was stupid. The Dallas coach should have known it was going to be bad going into it and done something about it.

When the Covenant school officials apologized for their team’s behavior, their dickhead coach had an opportunity to add his voice to it, but he explicitly came out rejecting the notion that he’d done anything wrong. He deserved his termination.

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