Who Do You Want Raising Your Kids?
I’m not a big fan of over-protective parenting. I don’t think it’s good to micromanage my kids’ lives to ease out all the potential bumps and bruises of life and to make sure that they’re happy every waking moment of every day. I want to raise children of character who face the world courageously — knowing full well that the world is fallen but also confident that they can fulfill God’s purpose for their lives. During my year in Iraq, I was the opposite of the “helicopter parent.” I was the absent parent, but the absence had a purpose in child-rearing. It taught my kids that we live our lives to serve, not to be served.
At the same time, however, I’m extremely suspicious of academia’s recent lamentations regarding “out of control” parents. One gets the feeling that at least part of the frustration derives from academia’s overwhelming arrogance and sense of moral superiority. The “we’re here to fix the damage your parents caused; to make you rethink everything you learned at home” mentality becomes less tenable if students maintain close relationships with their families. It’s not that the academy wants kids to be independent moral actors (why impose speech codes and suppress dissent from the party line if you do?) so much as it wants to be the new parent. In the diversity/tolerance world of academia, there are new creeds to learn, new faiths to teach, and if the parent hovers too much? Have a “bouncer” escort them out.