What It Really Takes Is Adults
and Other Lessons the Death of a
Seven-Year-Old Can Teach Us
The death of seven-year-old Jessica Dubroff - who was placed in harm's way by so-called adults - teaches important lessons. For thirty years now, we have been charging down the wrong path. It began in the 1960s with the notion that students, rather than teachers, should decide what they ought to learn in school. While it is perfectly reasonable for adolescents to rebel, to demand, and to be thoroughly unreasonable, adults are supposed to set limits.
As for proverbs, we might invoke an old Latin one: "Winners grow under pressure." The adults of the 1960s failed to apply pressure; the adolescents of the 1960s have missed growing up. Much of what plagues society today derives from this phenomenon.
Young people of every new generation believe that they are immortal, that alone they can guide the world onto the right track, that there is no limit to their ability to create and accomplish. And so they must. Grown-ups then bid them to sit down and listen to the facts of life. Adolescents rarely listen, so they are administered some unmistakable messages, first by their parents, then by their teachers, finally by the real world. Eventually they, too, become grown-ups. What they lose in enthusiasm and daring, they gain in experience and wisdom. When the time comes, they are ready to grab the reins and, among other things, to bring up the next generation.
In their rebellion, the adolescents of the 1960s went considerably farther than previous generations had done. Still, the primary responsibility is with those who failed to respond with strength. The result is that many who today are close to 50 in physical age still live in the dream-world of youth, which might explain their preoccupation with sex-related "rights" and restrictions. No one should underestimate the importance of sex in everything we do. Still, the exhibitionist treatment of the subject, the obsession with removing all previous taboos on the one hand, while constantly inventing (and imposing) new taboos on the other, shows signs of chronic immaturity.
In other areas, too, the general tendency points to the very indecisiveness and inconsistency which is characteristic of adolescence. On the one hand, the 1960s generation seeks to reestablish the supremacy of Nature, disowning much that civilization had established and accomplished. On the other, they reject Nature every time Nature fails to support their agenda. Examples abound, but here are the relevant ones. So as to ensure survival of the species, Nature produces humans who differ in their gender. The differences express themselves not only in the genital areas, but in average height, weight, and muscular capacity. No matter how often Hollywood will portray women kicking men in the crotch, women remain the weaker sex. Next, Nature produces humans within both sexes who are born with wildly different physical and mental properties, including the capacity to learn. No matter how much din a group generates, the accomplishments will have to come from individuals. Lastly, Nature imposes a timetable on growth - physical and mental. No matter how strenuously NOW insists that girls be called "women," they are still children. The Agenda does not accept any of these dispositions by Nature. The Agenda requires that society close its eyes to the differences between men and women, individuals of both genders, children and adults.
The other reason for this tragedy is rooted in Affirmative Action mentality. Out of a highly commendable desire to break down the obstacles in the path of every American grew a campaign to defy Nature and Reason. "If a forty-year-old male can be a pilot," the argument goes here, "so can a seven-year-old female. Stop discrimination! She is entitled to her airplane!" This most futile and unnecessary death of her daughter - which might have killed a dozen unsuspecting bystanders as well - did not cause the mother to break her stride and examine her responsibility in the event. Instead, she holds forth about her child's toyless "lifestyle," and that she "died happy, doing something she enjoyed." Others should feel encouraged, she suggests. Are these not the thoughts of one who has failed to grow up?
Not long ago my eyes were drawn to a watch, showing the picture of a little girl holding the globe. I looked inquiringly at the woman wearing it. "She is holding an earth," the woman explained. "We are training them to realize that it is in their power to take care of it." No, ma'am.
And when you look into that face unmarked by grooves, hear the voice which has yet to finish changing, consider the obsession with fast food and sex on the fly, note the abrupt changes of mind, and evaluate the knee-jerk "I didn't do it!" response, you begin to see why veteran columnist Mary McGrory labeled him "America's Oldest Teenager." It is with the utmost regret that one sees the President of the United States as an adolescent; it is with the greatest trepidation that one contemplates his hand on the controls, should the ship of this nation encounter a killer storm.