The Schweizer Monat is probably the oldest conservative-libertarian publications in Europe. Perhaps not surprisingly, it is a Swiss-German magazine: Germans seem to be more inclined to keep reading traditional newspapers (and books) than us Latins.
The latest issue is now online, and the website includes the English version of a couple of articles.
I was very impressed by an interview with Lenore Skenazy, which I think is very relevant for parents but also for teachers, university professors and anybody who wants to play the educator role. It illuminates some of the frightening challenges we face today.
Here’s a slice:
You need bad experiences to develop as a human being.
There are some things that are fragile, like a glass that breaks if you drop it. Then there are things that are resilient, like a ball, which bounces back if you drop it. And then there are things that are antifragile, like bones: they need some resistance to get stronger. This is the idea of Nassim Taleb. Just one illustration: Everybody’s getting sick now after Covid, because we’ve been covering our faces for so long that we didn’t develop antibodies against other viruses out there. Similarly, children are antifragile. It’s interesting to observe how children grow: Their bodies grow very fast until the age of about seven. Then the growth slows down until 12, and then there’s another growth spurt. I think it’s during this period of slow growth where the growth of everything else is occurring: when you take little risks, try new things, figure out who your friends are and find out what you really like to do. It’s not that the door closes after that, but that’s when Mother Nature expects you to be becoming the person you are to be. If, during all this time, someone else takes care of everything for you, this stunts the development of those human muscles when they’re supposed to be growing.
Did the Covid lockdowns affect overprotected kids differently than others?
We did a survey in the beginning of the pandemic and asked parents what their kids were doing. They said that the kids were helping out around the house more and had found new all sorts of new things they could do: drawing, riding a bike, playing guitar – one girl even mentioned that she learned about Bitcoin. When the kids suddenly had unstructured time, they had to fill it up. At the beginning, it was sort of the flourishing of an old-fashioned childhood.
When remote schooling started, parents began spending a ton of time right next to their kids, just in case the kids had a question or there was a problem with Zoom. What I’ve heard from teachers is that when the kids came back to school, it was as if they had been in suspended animation for a couple of years. The maturing of social skills, which was already atrophying before Covid, had gotten worse.