Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Objective Standards

It's rare to have young people held up to objective standards, to be held up to the actual laws of physics and biology, and to human custom and convention.

Last night my ten-year-old daughter earned her yellow belt in karate after a half-year of disciplined commitment to a difficult regime, that left her tired and thirsty week after week. And she did it with a smile and by following all the rules. The final step for earning the belt was running a kind of gauntlet where grown men repeatedly pummeled her with mats and other objects. Her teachers were class-A guys, and I told them as much afterward. I know teaching, and these were good teachers.

On the other hand - why do I do it? that is, read the news? It just infuriates me. A professor in the US saying publicly that she basically hates white men with no professional ramifications, another HR person in Britain saying that you can't be racist if you are a minority woman, and then a girl from a New Brunswick high school who was disciplined for dress code matter - you know her school is going to cave in to her. But should it? Is this good for humanity?

Certainly, if MacDonald's wanted to fire her for a dress code violation, she would have no recourse. And if she made a fuss, the chances of Burger King or Subway hiring her would be that much less likely. But public schools, like universities, are soulless, depraved institutions that perpetuate juvenile mindsets. Some people say things like "This is why China is beating us." That is correct, but that's not my concern. I don't care who's beating who. I care about virtue. If you had said, this is why China is happier, more virtuous than us, then that would matter to me.

So this girl will win. Once again, the system will find itself unable to live according to its own rules. But is it a win? No, it will be just one other proof that if you don't like something, act like a child and you will get your way. The girl herself said,

"I'm tired of the unjust standards that we as women are held up to. I'm tired of the discrimination against our bodies, and I'm absolutely fed up with comments that make us feel like we can't be comfortable without being provocative. It's time to change the worlds mindset. Now."

She doesn't understand it as getting out of stuff, but has convinced herself that she is standing up for girls, who should not have rules about what they can wear. So, thus, she is under the impression that there are no differences between the bodies of men and women. But, really, do men show that much of their backs at school? Not in my experience. And people respond with the typical secular litany of being a "strong" woman, "assertive," and all of that. But cannot a girl who is campaigning for a tighter dress code also be considered "strong" and "assertive"? Terrorists are "strong," "brave" and "assertive."

Or is she gaming the system? I don't know her, but kids are clever and they know how to manipulate things.

But the bottom line is this: are you able to deal with the world such as it is, or do you need the playing field changed to advantage you? I faced wicked prejudice going through a secular university as a conservative Catholic. It made me a better, stronger person. I did not "tell on" people who made life difficult for me. I learned to write better, research better and so win that way.

As a teacher I have seen both kinds of student. Those who tell on you and those who try and win with hard work. Which of them gain my respect?

I want my kids to be the kinds of people who persevere through hard things, not the kind that "tell" and insist that the rules change for them. I want my kid to get tired and thirsty. I want her to stand up to rough treatment and be proud of what God has accomplished through her at the end of the day.


  1. Amen to this. After reading this, I realised that I completely forgot to thank the karate teachers! They really do run a class one program. I was incredibly impressed and will return next year. Funny that you should write about this because I was walking past Tim Hortons yesterday and thought, thank God TH has uniforms or the girls would try to wear those yoga pants/tights without skirts to work. They would never think to object to wearing a uniform at work, would they? I guess this ise because they are paid and understand that they have to prove themselves daily to keep their jobs. Any sense of that is gone from the school system. The schools have to earn the right to educate the kids and the sense of education as a privilege is gone. There is a balance in there somewhere, isn't there?

  2. Speaking of restaurants - should I say breastaurants? - sorry I like that word - but our favorite joint allows the waitresses to wear those yoga pants, and for as flesh and blood male as I am, I really don't want to see butts while I eat. No butts while I eat, please, unless it's butt of cow, yummy cow butt, medium rare.

    1. I was looking at the yoga pants just last night during supper there! The thing is, no one has any idea that any other kind of pant exists anymore!

  3. That kid (and the stupid CBC) infuriated me when I heard her being questioned on a radio program. Her criteria for her decision to wear a backless dress (admittedly and knowingly against the dress code) was the following: 1. It was comfortable and 2. It looks good on me. Therefore and ergo I should be able to wear it and everyone else can suck it. She made all sorts of assumptions like boys are NEVER dress coded, and proved herself to be incredibly naive. The radio DJ practically revelled in her silliness. The actual dress code wasn't read, nor were officials from the school contacted to comment. The DJ just asked the girl how she felt...and what she thought about the dress code...and then how it felt to be dress coded...and how it felt to be in detention...and how it felt when the sun shone down on her back all warm and cozy...blah blah blah.

    And of course, her parents, family, friends and complete strangers were totally on board with the girl and her "bra-burning". Because someone's got to teach that stupid school, and the stupid world, some serious lesson about real life.

    Completely idiotic.

  4. No limits, no rules. The consequences of this school of thought will unfortunately only be realized later in life. Right now the reward is notoriety, your 15 minutes, and sticking it too the man.

  5. Do people learn? The decay of American greatness, for instance, will be complete within 30 years because of all of this, like the same loss of will to exist that destroyed the Roman Empire. Idiots cannot connect cause and effect. So, this girl will get what she gets and lose what she loses but will she know what she could have done differently to make her life what she really wanted it to be?