Cagavost odraslih kot posledica napačne vzgoje otrok

Tja, Megan McArdle je komentarju v The Atlanticu, ki naj bi predstavil njeno novo knjigo “The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well Is the Key to Success“, naredila zanimiv twist, ki se meni sicer na zdi zelo posrečen. Nadaljevanje pač. Začela je s tem, zakaj imajo veliki pisci tako hude težave s pisanjem, da nenehno odlašajo z začetkom pisanja. Vse dokler interni strah, da ne bo nič iz njih, premaga drugi strah, da bodo od sebe dali slab produkt. Preživetveni nagon. No, McArdlova je vzroke za to cagavost poiskala v napačni vzgoji oziroma v šolskem sistemu.

Pravi, da mnogi mladi talenti niso imeli priložnosti, da bi padli. Tisti, ki so bili dobri denimo v osnovni ali srednji šoli, so v zgodnji fazi uspevali zaradi naravnega talenta in nizke konkurence. Ko pa pridejo v “večji svet”, zaidejo v težave, ker se v zaostreni konkurenci bojijo, da bodo od sebe dali (pre)slab produkt. Pri drugih, ki niso tako dobri in bi v nekih drugih časih počeli neka manualna opravila, pa je problem v tem, ker jih starši držijo v vati in jih potiskajo skozi šolski sistem. Vendar skozi manj kvaliteten sistem, ki se je močno razširil prav zato, da bi lahko sprejel tudi povprečni in podpovprečni del populacije (glede inteligence), ki si je zaželel, da bi diplomiral. Dobre univerze pač niso bistveno povečale števila vpisnih mest in še naprej selekcionirajo najboljše, slabše in novejše univerze pa sprejemajo vse, ki so pripravljeni plačati.

V obeh primerih imamo problem. Naravne talente prestraši, ko se soočijo z zaostreno konkurenco v “velikem svetu”, podpovprečne pa zavedanje, da niso dovolj sposobni in da ne bodo kos zaupani nalogi. McArdlova v bistvu pravi, da je vzrok za to dejstvo, da smo skozi odraščanje prikrajšani za izkušnjo neuspeha. Prikrajšani za izkušnjo, da nismo dovolj sposobni. Če bi se z neuspehom ali zmanjšano sposobnostjo za določena opravila soočili že v mladosti, bi se lahko pravočasno selekcionirali za poklice, ki ustrezajo našim sposobnostim. Naše sposobnosti in naše ambicije bi bile uravnotežene. Ker pa so nas (starši, šolski sistem itd.) potisnili v prevelike čevlje, nismo sposobni dati od sebe tega, kar se od nas pričakuje. Nesrečni smo sami in nesrečen je naš zaposlovalec. Posledično je tudi družbeni output zaradi neoptimalne alokacije talentov manjši, kot bi lahko bil.

“I’ll hire someone who’s twenty-seven, and he’s fine,” says Todd, who manages a car rental operation in the Midwest. “But if I hire someone who’s twenty-three or twenty-four, they need everything spelled out for them, they want me to hover over their shoulder. It’s like somewhere in those three or four years, someone flipped a switch.” They are probably harder working and more conscientious than my generation.  But many seem intensely uncomfortable with the comparatively unstructured world of work.  No wonder so many elite students go into finance and consulting—jobs that surround them with other elite grads, with well-structured reviews and advancement.

Today’s new graduates may be better credentialed than previous generations, and are often very hardworking, but only when given very explicit direction. And they seem to demand constant praise. Is it any wonder, with so many adults hovering so closely over every aspect of their lives? Frantic parents of a certain socioeconomic level now give their kids the kind of intensive early grooming that used to be reserved for princelings or little Dalai Lamas.

All this “help” can be actively harmful. These days, I’m told, private schools in New York are (quietly, tactfully) trying to combat a minor epidemic of expensive tutors who do the kids’ work for them, something that would have been nearly unthinkable when I went through the system 20 years ago.  Our parents were in league with the teachers, not us. But these days, fewer seem willing to risk letting young Silas or Gertrude fail out of the Ivy League.

Thanks to decades of expansion, there are still enough spaces for basically every student who wants to go to college. But there’s a catch: Most of those new spaces were created at less selective schools. Two-thirds of Americans now attend a college that, for all intents and purposes, admits anyone who applies. Spots at the elite schools—the top 10 percent—have barely kept up with population growth. Meanwhile demand for those slots has grown much faster, because as the economy has gotten more competitive, parents are looking for a guarantee that their children will be successful. A degree from an elite school is the closest thing they can think of.

So we get Whiffle Parenting: constant supervision to ensure that a kid can’t knock themselves off the ladder that is thought to lead, almost automatically, through a selective college and into the good life.  It’s an entirely rational reaction to an educational system in which the stakes are always rising, and any small misstep can knock you out of the race. But is this really good parenting? A golden credential is no guarantee of success, and in the process of trying to secure one for their kids, parents are depriving them of what they really need: the ability to learn from their mistakes, to be knocked down and to pick themselves up—the ability, in other words, to fail gracefully. That is probably the most important lesson our kids will learn at school, and instead many are being taught the opposite.

Vir: Megan McArdle, The Atlantic

Kot rečeno uvodoma, ta zgodba – o napačni alokaciji talentov zaradi prevelikih pričakovanj staršev in zaradi šolskega sistema, ki se je prilagodil povečanemu povpraševanju po študiju in ki dovoli študirati tudi podpovprečnim – mi je všeč. To lahko opazujem vsak dan na univerzi. Podobno mi pravijo učitelji v osnovi in srednji šoli. Mnogi otroci so nesrečni, ker jih starši silijo v šole in poklice, za katere čutijo, da jim niso kos. Ne vem pa, kaj ima odlašanje glede začetka pisanja z vsem tem. Predpostavljam, da so podobne težave imeli tudi veliki pisci v prejšnjih stoletjih, ko pričakovanja staršev še niso bila tako nesorazmerna in ko šolski sistem še ni bil tako zblojen.

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