Suffer the Children
In 2001, psychiatrist Theodore Dalrymple wrote Life at the Bottom. He had "little hesitation in saying that the mental, cultural, emotional and spiritual impoverishment of the Western underclass [was] the greatest of any large group of people he had encountered anywhere." This he stated unequivocally despite his work in some of the poorest societies in Africa, the Pacific, and Latin America.
I have damnable empirical evidence that this impoverishment is truly hurting young Americans.
I may grade up to 100 papers per week, and it is getting to me. It is not because of the poor grammar or awkward syntax. It is not that the majority of students cannot compose a paper with clear-cut transitions and logical organization. It is not because they have a limited vocabulary base or that they have no comprehension of the nuance of the language. No, that has sadly become standard.
It is getting to me because I too often read such items as the following from a young girl who was sexually abused by her stepfather.
Throughout my life I lived without a father figure since my dad left me at a young age for my little sister that he was expecting from another women [sic]. I think I need no man to protect me or keep me safe when I can do that on my own without any help. I won't allow any man to get near me to even protect me.
...or this from a young man:
My father is a cruel man, a liar, a cheater and a deserter. Living without a biological father was difficult but I marched on forward and realized I don't need him.
You can never love someone too much because once they [sic] are gone you will lose yourself as well.
I would like to find a way to have the ability to forget about depression.
...or this from another young man:
I was in a relationship for a year with a person who would abuse me physically and mentally. There would be times where I would cry because of the pain and she would either slap me or punch me in the chest and tell me to man up.
Too many of our children are laboring under intense pressure. Their family structure is badly damaged; they are shouldering obligations that should not be theirs at such young ages. Their outlook on life is often dismal. And the ones sitting in my classrooms are the strong ones. What of the others who are completely lost?
Our society has abandoned those moral anchors whereby men are taught the consequences of an unwanted pregnancy. It is sickening when society no longer tells girls that having a baby before they are physically, financially, and emotionally ready is not cool. It is infuriating when schools actually financially assist students precisely because they have a baby. It is not to be admired. It is not a game. There is no sacredness. There is no prudence. If the sports world spent a scintilla of time on this issue instead of displaying its abject ignorance of the world, perhaps sports stars could be true role models.
In fact, as Dalrymple has stated "I hear of the same violence, the same neglect and abuse of children, the same broken relationships, the same victimization by crime, the same nihilism, the same dumb despair."
It is a pathology that afflicts people of all races because it is an outcome based on the debasement of the "realm of ideas" so that "so-called freer sexual relationships" have resulted from no social, contractual, or moral obligations or meaning whatsoever.
I have students who are working 40 hours per week in addition to their obligations in school. They simply cannot function because of how exhausted they are. Clearly, their work suffers. Often they will say they are working to help pay off Mom's debts. While it is to be admired that these students want to help their single mothers, it highlights the poverty that often accompanies single motherhood.
If schools would begin to teach the beauty of art and music and the civilizing ideas that are the pillars of a principled society, then perhaps our children would not be floundering. But the teacher unions are interested only in "white privilege" studies and supporting untenable educational theories that have created at least two generations of students who are functionally illiterate, financially uninformed, and emotionally unapprised. Two thirds of students cannot read at grade level.
Some of the Millennials sense how they have been shortchanged, and they are calling out, but no one is really listening. America is declining because we are ignoring our young as "women abandoned by the father of their child, insensate jealousy, serial stepfatherhood and the loosening of the distinction between the sexually permissible and the impermissible" continue to wound and maim our young.
Eileen can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.