99. Can You Protect People from Unpleasant Experiences?

These days, everyone seems to want to protect young people from unpleasant experiences. But we’ve coddled young people so much, many don’t know how to deal with hardships when they arise. Today Brittany and Connor discuss why it’s important to to face challenges in life, instead of running away from them.

Here’s a transcript of our conversation:

Brittany: Hi Connor.

Connor: Hey Brittany.

Brittany: So I wanna start off today’s conversation with kind of an interesting fact. So today peanut allergies and children are higher than they’ve ever been. I don’t know if your kids have peanut allergies, but I know a lot of kids do and it’s becoming such a problem that now many schools are prohibiting parents from setting their kids to school with anything that might have peanuts in it, which is pretty ridiculous. Cuz I know that when I was a kid, like taking a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to school for lunch was my thing. Like, that was what I liked to do. Now, like even if you don’t have a peanut allergy, like the teachers won’t let you bring one to school if another student has a peanut allergy. So it’s gotten very, very extreme. But here’s the interesting part about this cause I’m sure you’re asking why I’m bringing up peanut allergies in this show. So as more studies have come out, they’re actually showing that the reason peanut allergies are on the rise is because we haven’t been letting our kids have peanuts. So, it only breaks down a little bit further. So when your body isn’t used to something, when you don’t give, like, a lot of times you give babies like small amounts of something to see how they react to it, to find out, you know, if they are allergic or not. We’re not doing that anymore because we’re so scared that that one little thing is gonna end in, you know, just catastrophe. That we’re not letting our kids try anything. So now that kids aren’t getting exposed to peanuts, their bodies don’t know how to deal with peanuts. So when they encounter ’em for the first time, their bodies go into shock. Maybe they have a huge allergic reaction, maybe they have to go to the doctor. And then the listeners again, are probably thinking, what does this have to do with anything Britney? Well, I’m gonna tell you. So there seems to be this new trend today where we’re trying to protect people so much from anything that might cause them any discomfort, and especially younger kids, that we’re actually making them less equipped to deal with things that cause them discomfort. And if there’s one thing that’s like guaranteed in life, it’s that you’re going to go through things that are unpleasant and you’re not gonna like them. You’re going to be uncomfortable from time to time. But now we are shielding kids from everything that we’re making them weak. We’re making them, you’ve heard the term, you a snowflakes, we’re making them very weak. And it’s kind of scaring me. And I know there’s, a lot of college campuses today where you see a lot of this happening where there’s safe spaces, right? There’s all these, these things that are protecting people from things that could actually make them tougher. So, I don’t know, Connor, what do you think about that?

Connor: You know, I think of there’s a difference between a parent who like, you know, there’s a lot of autoimmune disorders now and, you know, allergies like you’re pointing out and stuff. And, it seems like, yeah, in, trying to avoid minor kind of exposures to problems, you’re creating kind of a total intolerance for them versus the parents who are just like, yeah, my kid ate a bunch of dirt when they were a toddler. You know, like, yeah, they got the chickenpox. We went to a chickenpox party and lick to lollipop from the other kid. And, you know, just like exposing them in little ways along life so that they kind of toughen up versus, you know, so it’s like going to the gym, right? Every day it’s just a little bit, little bit, little bit. So you get stronger, you stay away from the gym at all cuz ew, hard work. And then you’re totally weak and then you try going to lift, you know, 200 pounds of something when you’re going to the gym and you’ve done a lot of that tiny, tiny, tiny preparation versus none at all because it hurts or is uncomfortable. the differences are gonna be totally clear. So, okay. That’s interesting. In the physical world, we kind of have this, like minor exposure helps build up your immunity. and tolerance and, and strength. and so in the intellectual or mental side of things, yeah. I’m glad you brought up like safe spaces, right? I think in the past we talked a little bit about microaggressions, which is a similar thing. Yes. and this idea that you know, someone’s you know, free speech can offend someone else and they consider it a microaggression. You’re aggressing against that person just cuz you share an idea they don’t like snowflakes you brought up I think are a great example. And it’s like people want, just like, they don’t want to go to the gym, they don’t want things uncomfortable. It’s the What’s that? Wasn’t it a Disney movie where it’s like a robot Wally, I think, right? Wally and everyone is like horribly obese, Yep. Sitting in chairs, drinking sodas. And it’s like, look, do we want to just be comfortable and then grow fat, lazy, idle, and stupid? Or do we want to kind of go to the gym, go to the intellectual gym, engage with people, listen to different ideas, think critically? because it does seem like yeah, kids are being coddled, and, kind of, supported and oh, I, you know, like everyone gets a trophy. I don’t wanna make you feel bad. Let’s not have you exposed to anything you don’t like. Versus I think good parenting and, kids who have good heads on their shoulders, they’re seeking out opportunities to get scraped up a little bit, whether physically or, you know, push the boundaries of what you can do and what you believe and let’s figure out what, I can accomplish. And you’re gonna fall and stumble along the way. But how in the world do, like we talked in the past about the obstacle is the way, right? you need to push against something really hard to firm up your muscles so that you can then overcome that obstacle if you just kind of throw up your hands and like I’m watching Cobra High right now. Yes. cause everyone is talking about Cobra High and there’s this kid in there who’s just like the total, you know, I think this is in season two, but there’s this kid who’s just a total weakling and nerd and, can’t do anything. And you clearly see how like, that’s not what I want my kids to be. That’s not what I want to be. You need to toughen up a little bit. You need, and so I think intellectually or, mentally as well, the same thing. We need to be willing to engage with ideas that maybe are uncomfortable or we don’t like so that we can challenge ourselves and strengthen our own beliefs or potentially change our minds if we’re proven wrong.

Brittany: I’m glad you brought that up because one of the reasons I brought this up is there’s a great book and parents, this isn’t really for kids, but parents you might love it. It’s called The Coddling of the American Mind. And it’s one of the best books I’ve read this year and I, read a lot, so highly recommend it. But one thing they talked about, is that we’re not even allowing, we don’t even know if the thoughts that we’re gonna present to people are going to even make them uncomfortable cuz they’re not even allowed to get to, students, especially college students. So every time a controversial speaker and controversial could mean anything today controversial might just mean I don’t agree with them. It’s even scheduled to speak on a college campus. Sometimes they’ll get canceled before they even get to speak because one student will say, no, I’m that, offends me. I’m too offended. Right? I’m having a nervous breakdown because this person exists. And you’ve gotta wonder like what, like I remember when I was in college, I’m not a huge fan of Condoleezza Rice, but I went to see her speak and I remember people were protesting her and I thought, you know, that’s cool, that’s the right to protest. But they weren’t saying anything about like, they weren’t, this was before safe spaces, before crying. I mean, nowadays you don’t just see protests, you see children bawling. You see these YouTube videos of students crying saying, how dare you let this person come to my campus? You know, they’re a racist. And most of the time, like they’re not, this isn’t, they just start spewing these things. And it’s made me really nervous because how are you going to know if you agree with an idea or not if you’re not even allowed to hear it? So we’re not even allowed to hear things like the censorship is happening. And we talked about this in another episode about if you have the right to not be offended or not. So, I think this is a bigger problem that’s, kind of going through all society because these college students are gonna grow up. And this is happening I think a little bit even in elementary schools now. You know, so schools are, Zoom right now because of Covid. And a lot of parents for the first time are getting exposed to some of the lessons being taught in schools. And a lot of them are along these same lines where we’re being taught that we should be offended by everything, that we should be scared. And that makes me really nervous.

Connor: I had an experience with my son not too long ago, and I don’t even remember what the topic was, but I remember that he had heard something. Oh, it was, I think it was some kind of environmental argument. He was, concerned about trees getting cut down and he had heard this argument, I don’t know if it was at someone in his homeschool co-op or where he got, he told me at the time, I don’t remember, but he had heard this and he had accepted it as true. And, so I’m trying to remember what I was doing. I think I threw away some paper or something like that. And that triggered for him this recollection of, oh, you know, dad, that’s bad for the environment and you’re wasting trees and deforestation. And I’m like, whoa, where did you get all this kind of stuff? And so what was interesting, and we had a good discussion about it, was, you know, hang on, let’s challenge your assumptions because you are simply believing whatever you’ve been told and you don’t understand kind of the counter-argument, the other, side or another side, to this point of view. So we had a great discussion and fortunately for my son, he’s got a dad who can, you know, provide that. And he’s at an age where he’s, you know, receptive to that. So we had a great discussion. Unfortunately, it seems many people are not in a frame of mind or maybe don’t have the right family situation or whatever to be exposed to those other ideas. And so they are hearing whatever idea they want from a friend, from the guy on social media that they follow, you know, whatever the media is saying is the approved opinion we’re all allowed to have now. And these people then just accept that as true. They’ve kind of got their marching orders, if you will, right? Oh, this is what I’m supposed to believe now. And oh, it changes every day. Okay, here’s the next thing I’m supposed to be upset about and believe in. And, those people unfortunately are not willing to challenge themselves. They don’t have critical thinking. I think it was the past episode we talked about, the John Taylor Gatto and the education system. And what we’ve seen in the modern schooling system is a total breakdown in critical thinking. It is not about debate of ideas, especially college campuses, where in theory long ago that’s what it was for, is to kind of, the clash of ideas and let’s debate and dialogue and find out, you know, what is true and what you believe it is Now just indoctrination factories. It is, here’s what you are supposed to think. I think, Brittany when you were working on the Skip College book that we did you talked about an experience in that book. tell us a little bit like you, you tried to challenge a teacher as I remember, or you had a different opinion than the class and that was a time.

Brittany: Yeah, it was political. So she had us in the, like one of the first days of class she told us to raise or to, stand up in the class if we had ever voted anything that wasn’t Democrat. And this is a teacher who was obviously a Democrat. Well, she was assuming that everybody who stood up was a Republican and, and not, she didn’t think of all the other parties, you know, And I was actually independent I think at the time. And so I stood up, and this was after she had hired me to be her teacher’s assistant. So I was doing work for her while I was going to school. So she saw that I stood up and that I was not a, you know, on her team. And from there on things got very uncomfortable and eventually, she fired me. And I don’t necessarily think that was warranted. I, do tend to believe that I was fired because I didn’t hold the appropriate views. And again, I think I went to college before this got really, really bad, but this was starting to get bad. I, was kind of in the days, you know, leading up to this. But that was really shocking to me because I had gone to school thinking this is gonna be a place where we can debate and we can disagree and, you know, right. I was imagining, I always loved the constitutional or not constitutional conventions, what were they called when it was the declaration? What am I, what is the word I’m looking for?

Connor: Continental congress.

Brittany: Thank you. Continental Congress. Like when they were arguing and debating, it was very, it wasn’t, it’s not that they were being like personally mean to each other, but things got rowdy, right? They were very passionate about their sides. I thought that was going to be college. I thought we were gonna be allowed to speak up and share opinions. And I was very shocked when I got there and, that was not the case. So yeah, it’s very jarring.

Connor: And it’s, maybe it was for you, but I know a lot of people in similar circumstances where they are intimidated, right? They do not want to if the teacher or the class overall has a certain perspective or it’s clear what is, you know, what you, what you’re supposed to say on, in your essay, if you want a good grade, you need to, you know, not say what you actually believe. And so, people are silenced. They, censor themselves. And I think that has an effect on people. I think people ultimately start to be, okay, well maybe I am wrong and, maybe I should believe what everyone else does. And I, think it has an effect on you. And so if the majority of people, or if even a lot of people want to be coddled, they, they don’t want to be challenged, they don’t want to hear opposing viewpoints. I think that is very problematic for, many things for our own educational development. Cuz I think it, breeds ignorance, right? We’re not like you say there’s no debates and, this kind of clash of ideas. It’s just here’s this approved line of thinking and, don’t go learn anything else. And you get this very superficial awareness, right? These people don’t really understand the depth and, nuance, right? Like the complexity of ideas and history and what happened. It’s just like, talking points, which is another way of saying just like, simple statements that they can, say over and over to someone they don’t really understand things themselves. And then I think it becomes a big problem for society too. Like if we have certainly voters, like if those people have voting power over me, right? They can vote to like raise my taxes or put someone in office that can control my life. Like, that’s deeply problematic. If it’s almost like they’re like the board. Like I don’t know if you ever watched Star Trek, but I used to, when I was younger, I’d watch Star Trek, the next generation, and my mom always had the hots for, captain Picard. So she would eagerly watch as well, And in there, you know, you’ve got the Board, its resistance is futile, you know, your distinctiveness will be added to our own, we will assimilate you, right? That they lost their individuality became part of the collective. And it feels a lot like the people today are kind of the intellectual board. It’s like, we must be the same suppress your individuality. No dissent resistance is futile. You know, you must become part of the collective and that’s deeply problematic.

Brittany: No, I agree with you. I’m not a Star Trek fan, but I think we even see that Harry Potter that’s, you know when I go to one of my references all the time is Dumbledore’s army, you know, versus the rest of the people. You get this collective versus the individualist and it’s, scary, but it’s even scarier that it’s becoming real life, right? It’s, almost expected in stories. You expect there to be that, I hate to call it good versus evil, but good versus evil, that battle. But we’re seeing it play out in real time. And that is what makes me very, very scared right now. But, I don’t think there’s no reason to abandon all hope, right? I think that things can get better. It’s a matter of us trying to make things better.

Connor: Well, I don’t think anyone listening to this podcast is interested in being coddled. I think we’ve got a great group of critical thinkers here. I mean, anyone who’s picking up the Tuttletwins books is already willing to think about complex and controversial ideas. So kudos to you for listening. but maybe this is like our missionary tool to go preach the gospel of freedom to other people, give them the antidote to all of this poison of collectivism and, so forth that’s out there. So, good topic. thanks as always, Brittany. And until next time, we’ll chat with you later.

Brittany: Talk to you later.


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