This past month has been a rough one for educators in our nation’s institutions of higher learning. Cries of racism at University of Missouri started a chain of events across the country – students protesting for more “diversity” hires, free tuition and calling for (and in some cases, getting) the resignations of chancellors and professors. During these protests, we also saw a new term introduced into the crying, milk-blooded, sparrow-hearted millennial lexicon – “safe space”. I’ve read many articles about these protests and I’m still not 100% certain what this term means. The basic gist, from what I can gather, is that these whiny little brats are so broken, physically and mentally, that anyone who enters this invisible area around them – makes them feel “threatened” or worse, threatens to make them feel like a victim. Newsflash, if you use the term “safe space”, you are already a victim – a victim of a generation that has made feeling like a victim something to strive for.
Today, social media is abuzz about a University president who refused to cater to this bullshit – saying to all students at Oklahoma Wesleyan University that his institution is for learning and is not a daycare. This was in response to a student who claimed he felt “victimized” by a sermon on campus – a sermon on Corinthians 13, often referred to as “the love chapter”. According to an article in the Washington Examiner, in this student’s mind, the speaker was wrong for making him feel uncomfortable – making him feel like he wasn’t showing enough love.
I grew up in a religious home – my father is an Orthodox priest and going to church on Sundays was simply a part of my life for 20 years. His sermons were INTENDED to challenge the parishioner - to challenge them to be better people, better Christians. The president of the university said it perfectly, “The goal of many a good sermon is to get you to confess your sins – not coddle you in your selfishness.”
How did we end up here? How did we get to a place where it’s “cool” to be the victim? This point of view is not going to make me many friends – but it has a lot to do with women working. From 1960 to the early 1970’s married women made up about 50% of the increase in the labor force – and the number of women working has steadily climbed since. When a woman has a baby, instead of staying home to raise that child, they spend their 6 weeks of paid maternity leave and then drop it off at daycare for someone else to raise it, as they head back to work. If you think this does not lead to a feeling of guilt as a parent – then you have never done it. Working overnights, I was able to be home with my youngest until he was about a year old – when I changed jobs, it meant his mother and I would both be working during the day – and dropping him off at daycare that first week was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Any parent who has done this knows exactly the feeling I am talking about.
This overwhelming sense of guilt does not lead to being a better parent in the few precious hours you do have with your child every day. Speeding home from work to get them picked up before the daycare closes, hitting the drive-thru for a happy meal with a toy (pre-cursor to the participation trophy) because you don’t have time to cook AND do their homework AND get them bathed AND spend any real time with them before they go to bed. This leads to guilt and guilt leads to shitty parenting decisions borne from it. Parents buy their children what they want, not what they need. They tell them how great they are, they let them do what they want. They try to buy their child’s affection because they don’t have time to earn it.
This is not to say men don’t play a role in this – but the traditional role of the man working and the woman staying at home didn’t just happen. It took place naturally because of each gender’s specific traits. It happened naturally because it works. If you don’t think these roles occur naturally, outside of patriarchal societies, I challenge you to read a book.
It took some time, but now we have an entire generation that believes the sun rises and sets on them – they are entitled to whatever their heart desires. When the real world slaps the shit out of them, whether it be in the form of a failing grade or a professor who doesn’t share their parents view of them as an angel placed on the planet to bring joy and happiness to all, or a boss who doesn’t laud praise upon them for their ability to simply perform their job as assigned – they can’t handle it. They feel victimized. They have never known the sting of rejection or the reality of not getting what they want, when they want it. They have received a trophy for everything. They never got hit in the face with a dodgeball. They were never picked last for a team sport. If any of this did happen to them, they were so scarred from it and their parents were so unwilling to deal with it – the children were put on medication for exhibiting signs of depression. If they didn’t kill themselves by the time they were 18, they are so dependent on pills to deal with life, they will never learn to cope with any serious problem life throws their way.
The only place one of these millennials feel they can thrive, is in a mob. Whether it be an online horde of Social Justice Warriors, or in the quad, defending their “safe spaces” – they feel justified in their actions only when those actions are being carried out by the group. As an individual, the risk of rejection or criticism is too great – in a mob, nobody is ever singled-out - you succeed or fail as a group. They have taken the natural human desire to belong to a tribe – and used it as a coping mechanism for their inability to deal with reality.
A parent’s job is to prepare their offspring for the harsh world that awaits them – not to, as the OWU President so eloquently put it, “…coddle them in their own selfishness.” Women should be allowed to do whatever it is they want without facing criticism or feeling guilt – but if both parents are working 50 hours a week, why in god’s name do you want to try and raise a child? One parent, either mother or father, needs to make sacrifices in their career. If you truly want to have a baby, why would you want to simply pay someone else to raise it? This is a decision both partners need to make before a child is brought into the picture. Can one of you work from home? Can one of you switch to part-time? Do you want your child to be a spineless, weak-willed sheep who uses the term “safe-space”? If the answer to the last question is “yes”, then don’t worry about the rest of it, because you are already well on your way to making that dream a reality.