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Student narcisicm on America’s campuses worst in 25 years July 6, 2007

Posted by daveintexas in Current Events, drama.

Culprit found.


Yep.  The reason your nearly-adult kid is a self-absorbed petulant wuss-bag is because of Fred Rogers.

Thank goodness YOU didn’t contribute to the problem.

LSU finance professor Don Chance comments on students who approached him near the end of the semester, asking for extra credit projects to lift up their grades to an A.  “They felt so entitled” he recalls, “and it just hit me.  We can blame Mr. Rogers”.

Presumably professor Don didn’t cave to the requests.  Good for him.

Fred Rogers, the late TV icon, told several generations of children that they were “special” just for being whoever they were. He meant well, and he was a sterling role model in many ways. But what often got lost in his self-esteem-building patter was the idea that being special comes from working hard and having high expectations for yourself.

Now Mr. Rogers, like Dr. Spock before him, has been targeted for re-evaluation. And he’s not the only one. As educators and researchers struggle to define the new parameters of parenting, circa 2007, some are revisiting the language of child ego-boosting. What are the downsides of telling kids they’re special? Is it a mistake to have children call us by our first names? When we focus all conversations on our children’s lives, are we denying them the insights found when adults talk about adult things?

The article questions the judgement of telling kids “they’re special” or “you’re fine just the way you are” instead of “work harder” or “you need improvement”, or even “it’s a goddam dog eat dog world out there kid, and you’re wearing milk bone shorts”.

“Should kids should be allowed to address their parents and adults by their first name “?  is another topic.  I can’t speak to this one (did Mr. Rogers encourage this?  Anybody know?), most kids I am around don’t do this, to me or their parents.  They don’t do it to me because I start yelling at them like a pirate and threaten to hack their limbs off and feed em to Davy Jones locker if they do. 

One time is usually enough to make the point.

Meh.  It’s a bit of a simplistic view, which is what you’d expect in a one page article.  It doesn’t consider what’s “age-appropriate”.  Fred’s show was targeted at pretty young kids, 3-8 years olds (just a guess really, but if you were into Mr. Rogers at 11 and we found out about it we were gonna beat the crap out of you).  Reinforcing messages at that young age seem ok to me.

Yes, if your kid is driving, it’s well past time to start adjusting the messages.  You’re preparing them for life, and as pre-teens and teenagers they are mature enough to understand.  Let them see you work hard for what you have.  Give them a growing list of responsibilities and duties, and encourage accomplishment and good behavior.  Don’t be afraid to discipline them both when they’re young, and when they’re older.  Let them get a job (make them).

I’m more inclined to blame doting or lazy parents than I am Fred Rogers, particularly when it comes to parents that permit bad behavior, something the writer discusses.  “But as an excuse or as justification for unacceptable behavior, “They’re just children” is just misguided”. 

I am reminded of the throw down in Monteal, was it?  Good times. 

Parents, if your kid is outta control, even if you think it’s ok, don’t force others to suffer it.  Remove him or her.

Some of those times my kids were over-tired and not as easy to reason with, but we wouldn’t inflict it on others.  And when you do something about it (like drag em outside or upstairs or whatever), you’re reinforcing the message “I’m sorry you’re having a bad day, but you need to cool it”. 

So was Mr. Rogers really sugar-coating it too much?  Did he sow the seeds of self-love and petulance?  Well, let’s observe and learn.

Let’s see.  Music.  Getting along with your neighbors.  Pain.

Seems ok to me.

Hot Air Update: The Devil!

Me and Allah got this topical thing goin on lately.

It’s freaky.  It’s like he’s in my head or something.



1. Tushar D - July 6, 2007

We as a society have a tendency to stretch everything to it’s illogical conclusion. Mr Rogers may have indicated that a little boost is fine. But if parents stretch it to mean that boosting self-esteem trumps everything else, no way is Mr Rogers to be blamed.

>>They don’t do it to me because I start yelling at them like a pirate and threaten to hack their limbs off and feed em to Davy Jones locker if they do.

Mrs Peel, you are hardly older than Dave’s kids. Start calling him Mr. David if you love your limbs.

2. Retired Geezer - July 6, 2007


Won’t you be my neighbor?

3. Pupster - July 6, 2007

Good post Dave.

Mrs. Pupster and I have this unwritten understanding, she tells the boys they are special gifts from above and I let ’em know they need improvement. Often.

It kind of sucks to always be the heavy, but it comes with the territory.

4. daveintexas - July 6, 2007

Yeah Tushar, I don’t think it’s something you can cover in a small article. Funny you should mention “Mr. Dave”. When my kids interacted with adults that were friends of ours, we let them say “Mr. or Mrs – or Miss”, and the first name. We felt it was ok to acknowledge a closer relationship but still demonstrate appropriate respect for an adult.

I call Mrs Peel “Mrs Peel”, out of respect for forgetting her first name.

Pups, I’m a fan of your approach, and it has been ours. I think that’s particularly important with boys, and there were times here when I let mom be the bad guy because of the subject matter. One day your poor wife is going to come to you and tell you one of the boys was looking at something naughty on the internet (later, not now). Just tell her “I’ll handle it” and make it go away.

I reminded myself not to be overbearing, or unkind if I was angry, but to be firm, and insist that they adjust their style if they were outta line.

5. Tushar D - July 6, 2007

I have not started strictly disciplining my kids yet. But I intend to start soon after they are born. They better learn a proper sleep-and-wake cycle by the time they are 2 day old.

6. geoff - July 6, 2007

Blaming Mr. Rogers? Pfeh. How about blaming our schools for using self-esteem for a criterion for educational success? That’s where the wheels fell off the bus.

Mrs. Pupster and I have this unwritten understanding, she tells the boys they are special gifts from above and I let ‘em know they need improvement.

This is an important observation on a couple of levels. First, this time-honored division of love/discipline underscores the value of the traditional nuclear family. I fear that while single parents and same sex couples may strive mightily and sincerely on behalf of their children, without the advantage of the classical two-pronged parenting approach, they will have difficulties beyond their abilities to resolve. Especially if they’re raising boys.

The second point is with regards to George Lakoff’s model for conservatives and liberals. He says that we tend to apply the metaphor of the family to our political beliefs, so that conservatives are more like the father (emphasizing moral strength and rectitude) and liberals are more like the mother (emphasizing empathy and nurturing). What he doesn’t realize is that conservatives recognize the importance of the maternal role (a la Pupster) in balancing out the paternal approach. Liberals, on the other hand, seem to have forgotten the value of the paternal side.

7. Paul - July 6, 2007

These kids today, with their exalted notions of themselves:

They have exalted notions, because they have not yet been humbled by life or learnt its necessary limitations; moreover, their hopeful disposition makes them think themselves equal to great things — and that means having exalted notions.

This was written by Aristotle. Long before Mr. Rogers. kids of today are pretty much the same as they’ve always been and worse yet, elders ( that’s pretty much us) have the same complaints about the little bastards ( not our kids, the ones they hang around with)

8. Lipstick - July 6, 2007

I just loved Mr. Rogers. Early on there were no kids my age around and after being repeatedly sent home for trying to play with the older kids, he was a comfort.

Not trying to be a whiner, but he was my only friend back then and I’ll always love him for that.

Although I do remember thinking that if everyone is special, does that ignore the meaning of the word.

9. daveintexas - July 6, 2007

The older kids all look at you now and punch themselves in the head.

10. Lipstick - July 6, 2007

They were chicks.

Prolly fat and have 6 kids by six fathers now. MEEEOW!

11. Dave in Texas - July 6, 2007


12. Mrs. Peel - July 6, 2007

Reading Rainbow was my thing when I was a kid. (I had a huge crush on Geordi.) Did your kids watch that show, Mr. in Texas? Oh, and I liked Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood better than Mr. Rogers’s.

My mom was the disciplinarian and my dad was the nurturer…Mom would have liked to nurture, but someone had to discipline, and it sure wasn’t going to be Dad.

13. Mrs. Peel - July 6, 2007

Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you guys, when you were all saying you’d be 47 in October and such. Well, you know what? I’ll be 47 in November.

November 2029, that is.

14. daveintexas - July 7, 2007

I will have to ask about RR… I don’t remember it.

Oh, and by October I’ll be 48. And in 2029 you’ll be 47.

I like poseys. Yellow please.

15. lauraw - July 7, 2007

More crime-fighting military men.


Sixteen shots were fired before the gunman was subdued by two off-duty military reservists and two Florida Department of Law Enforcement special agents. Dillon identified the servicemen as Justin Lampert, a North Dakota Army National Guard member from Crosby, N.D., and David James, a Navy reservist from Jacksonville, Fla.

The Florida authorities, brothers Robert and Paul Ura, joined the reservists to disarm and subdue Zegrean, Dillon said.

“Absolutely, these men are heroes,” Dillon said.

Lampert and James declined to speak with the media.

I’m almost tempted to say (tongue in cheek), ‘Bring The Troops Home Now,’ because all our lives would be so much better here if we were suddenly infused with several hundred thousand folks who had a clue.

16. Retired Geezer - July 7, 2007

Did you see the video of the guy shooting up a Las Vegas casino?

Looked like some gang-bangers.

I remember witnessing a couple of black teenagers stealing a purse at a park in NLV. I think it’s called Cashman park. I was there with the family and heard some commotion and saw an older guy chasing (actually walking) after two kids with his wife’s purse. They ganged up on him and punched him. I felt powerless and angry at the same time.

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