James Leroy Wilson's blog

Friday, July 27, 2007

What Are We Teaching Our Kids?

Updated: See the Comments

In some ways, this is a wonderful time to be a kid in America:

- baseball records tainted by steroids;
- point-shaving in the NBA;
- NASA plagued by sabotage, drunk flying, and love triangles;
- The evangelical church discredited for supporting Bush and the War on Iraq;
- The Roman Catholic hierarchy in America found to have covered up child sexual abuse by priests;
- A politically compromised Supreme Court (at least since Bush v Gore);
- Congress mired in corruption and incompetence - even worse than usual throughout our history;
- A President that is uninformed and criminally insane;
- mainstream media resources that lied us into one war and are helping to lie us into another one.

Why are these travesties good for kids? Because they can teach kids to not place their faith and allegiance in institutions. That in any organization, ambition, greed, or even just stupidity can take over. That "heroes" like athletes and astronauts are at least as flawed as everyone else, and politicians probably worse than most. These and other scandals can teach kids to be skeptical about what institutional authorities tell them, and careful about how they spend their money and invest their time.

I don't mean to be so cynical as to tell kids to not trust anybody, but to respect each individual as individuals. That celebrities, "heroes," and "leaders" aren't any better than anyone else. That we can afford a little less love for the team, school, church, or country, and a little more love for individuals - even if they are of a different team, school, church, or country.


  1. But I think in many of these cases -- as much as it kills me to say it --, the institutions are more worthy of the trust and respect than the individuals.

    I heard Robert Novak say, "Always love your country but never trust your government" which pretty much sums it up for me.

    As a baseball fan, the Bonds thing disgusts me. It's almost as dishonorable as the Black Sox scandal. Cheating to win is just as bad as taking money to lose.

    I can love the game without dignifying Bonds. I can respect the Catholic Church without tipping my hat to Cardinal Mahony. And I can love America -- and her institutions -- without so much as a glance at the damned fools who preside over them.

  2. Excellent point. I was reluctant to go so far as the point I made. I think you clarified the issue.

    Perhaps it isn't the individual or the institution, it's the system we should be concerned about.

    In other words, you can place your "trust" in men and their systems, to give them the benefit of the doubt. In Golden Rule terms, you would trust them as you would want to be trusted yourself. But don't place your "faith" in men or man-made institutions and systems, because if you do you're embracing illusions instead of reality, and are headed for disappointment.