Let me tell you this. It doesn’t happen often, but I’m at a loss for words. I just received a phone call from the Oyster Bay School District. Due to “Projected Weather Forecasts, school will be closed today”. I’m sure all the other Long Island School Districts will follow. It is not snowing out. There was no snow last night. It is not even raining, but because of projected “treacherously icy roads”, they close school? It is beyond pathetic! What kind of work ethic are we teaching our children? What message are we sending them, every time there is “danger”, stay inside and cower in fear? Not to mention, what kind of society do we live in when icy roads are deemed “treacherous”? We have to cower in fear over ice? GIVE ME A BREAK! It’s like I always say, it is very difficult to be a parent today, because society keeps undermining you. You try to teach your children to work hard, you try to teach them to face challenges, you try to build character, and then it snows and their world stops. I am forty-five (the last day I can say that, I turn forty-six tomorrow), and when I went to middle school at Saint Thomas the Apostle in Woodhaven, NY, school was closed when eight inches of snow or more WAS ON THE GROUND. School was not closed for “projected snow”, and closing school because of ice was simply unheard of. And, believe it or not, most of the kids did actually walk to school. If it snowed, we had snowball fights along the way. Imagine that!
Before I retired, I was the evidence officer at my command, which means I handled evidence that was gathered for various reasons. Sadly, the George Washington Bridge has become almost an iconic bridge for people who want to end their life, and consequently, we get a lot of people trying to jump from our bridge. The police officers at the bridge do a wonderful job preventing these tragedies and more people are saved than actually jump, but of course they can’t stop everyone. When people do successfully jump, and the body is found, the evidence officer ultimately gets the property, and many times that means dealing with the family of the deceased. I always deemed it the worst part of the job. Well, I remember getting the property of this young woman in her twenties. She was young, she was beautiful, and she had a promising career. We later found out that she ended her life because her coworkers and some people she believed to be her friends chided, teased, and spoke poorly about her on Facebook.
Now please, do not misunderstand me: it is not my point to criticize her or her family. I am not a doctor, and I am certainly not going to discuss depression and it’s effects on a person. It is not about that. My point here is, every time it snows, or there is ice, or any other perceived danger, no matter how small, I hear people saying “Well, it’s better to be safe than sorry. We don’t want our kids to get hurt”, but is it really better to be safe than sorry over snow? Isn’t overprotecting our children sometimes worse than letting them face adversity? How can children learn to deal with problems in life if we overprotect them to the point where we close schools because there “may” be icy roads? Have we no faith in ourselves and our children? Will our professional bus drivers suddenly forget how to drive? Will hundreds of school buses suddenly careen off roadways into ditches and burst into flames? Will thousands of children, never properly “trained” how to walk on ice, slip, fall, and break bones? Will teachers die by the dozens, braving the ice getting to work? I mean, seriously people, what the hell? Given the craven state of society, and it’s reluctance to face the “dangers of the weather”, is it really surprising when children raised in such a society choose to end their life because people say mean things about them? And if they can’t handle people being mean to them, how can they handle a difficult boss? How can they handle losing a job, or a mortgage? How can they handle a really rough divorce?
I have had the misfortune of dealing with many young deaths at the bridge, and my heart broke for each and every one of them. I’d speak with their parents and family members, and I could see the overwhelming guilt and perceived failure in their eyes. I distinctly remember one father sobbing, and repeating over and over again, “What did I do wrong? Where did I fail?” I did my best to comfort him, but I really had no answers to give him. I couldn’t help but think society played a major part. Society set these kids up to fail. Society trained them to be fragile. It seems this country has had THE GREATEST GENERATION, and now we are raising THE WEAKEST GENERATION. We are not protecting our children, we are hurting them. We are setting them up to fail.
The next time your child faces difficulty, don’t be so quick to help. Watch, observe, and should he falter, of course be there to assist, but let him TRY to work things out. Let him try to succeed on his own. And for Christ’s sake, stop closing schools over nonsense! But hey, I’m just a cop…by