K-12: Why Millennials Are Going Bald

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Early in 2017, ABC breathlessly reported, “Hair loss and balding are something we associate with aging, not a younger population, yet more and more millennials say they’re experiencing hair loss.”

Theories include diet and health problems.  But Moneyish.com didn’t hesitate to conclude: “Millennials are going bald from too much stress.”

We live in a rich, safe, successful country.  Why is there so much stress?  Why do so many young people feel they are under siege and about to be overrun?

Perhaps we should look at what public schools, in tandem with higher education and the media, tend to emphasize – namely, pessimism and vulnerability.  Our educational institutions seem to be fiendishly efficient stress factories, able at all levels to produce fearful people who will be crippled by any amount of pressure.

First of all, what is accomplished in public schools?  Anything to be proud of?  There’s a lot of busywork and lightweight academic activity.  I suspect that few kids are deeply engaged and even fewer are bragging about how much they learned the past year.  That leaves kids uninvolved and drifting – a perfect recipe for anxiety and stress.

Second, nothing noble and brave is mentioned if our Education Establishment can manage it.  Has any Millennial ever heard that John Paul Jones said, “I’ve not yet begun to fight.”  This is a message that everyone needs throughout their lives.  Have younger people heard that Nathan Hale said, “I regret that I have but one life to give for my country.”  That is brave stuff, and prompts us all to a higher standard.

A Roman soldier named Horatius, twenty-five centuries ago, stood on a bridge to fight an advancing army.  This story (Horatius at the Bridge) became central to Rome’s identity.  Every Roman kid wanted to be Horatius.  Who do our kids want to be?  Katy Perry?

In one poet’s telling, Horatius declares:

To every man upon this earth
Death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers,
And the temples of his gods…

That was once a commonplace sentiment.  Don’t you tend to guess that few today ever hear it expressed?

Third, American schools relentlessly dispense a hopeless view of life.  Some years ago, you could say it was relentlessly P.C.  Now it’s more heavy-handed, and you have to say it’s Deeply Dystopian.  The climate will blow up; all animals will die; oceans will be empty of fish.  This is what people hear throughout K-12 and later in the media.  Ten or twenty years of this melancholy message almost guarantees a morose personality and less than perfect health.  You would expect hair to fall out!

Our students learn again and again about the worst possibilities.  Death is coming.  Get ready.  Kids are not encouraged to be brave.

For decades, there was a weird campaign against exercise and recess, just as now there’s an effort to make people super-conscious of the dangers of football, soccer, and other sports.  So, little snowflakes, you should just sit there shaking.  Don’t – this is the clear advice – take risks or be adventurous.  Stay home with the television set; it probably won’t hurt you.

Try to find something inspiring in our educational and cultural stew.  It won’t be easy.  The tendency is to subvert the whole concept of nobility.  One site, wanting to mention something heroic discussed an eight-year-old girl who died at the Alamo.  Did the girl choose to be there?  What did she do that was brave?

A lady astronomer discovered a comet.  Later it was named after her.  Fine and appropriate.  But what’s heroic about that?

There is actually a site called Roots of Action, the Role of Heroes for Children.  Doesn’t that sound promising?  But it starts off this way: “Beautiful Snow White is protected from the wicked queen by the seven dwarfs. Her life is threatened when the queen, disguised as a peddler, finds Snow White and poisons her with an apple. Rescued by the Prince, she is transformed by true love.”

Snow White herself must be embarrassed by this sappy presentation.  Okay, she’s a target, but she has a lot of protectors.  What is so heroic?

Here’s an example of heroic.  During World War II, many VIPs (Ted Williams and Clark Gable, for example) left civilian life to be part of the war effort.  The supremely talented Glenn Miller died flying over the English Channel.

Athletes get paid millions of dollars to play children’s games.  But they, along with people in the military, provide examples of discipline, self-sacrifice, working together for a difficult goal.  We should be grateful.  Where else in our society are Spartan values praised?

The trouble is that education officials push the same message relentlessly: be cooperative, not individualistic; be pacifistic, not hardy; be indolent, not industrious.  Sometimes we need to be told, try to be braver.  Being knocked down doesn’t mean you can’t get up and keep fighting.  You have to.

Schools tend to encourage, or at least indulge, laziness, imprecision, lack of perseverance, and any special effort.  It wasn’t enough for our schools to sandbag academics; they also had to assault character.  Being late is okay, as is not finding the right answer, not finishing your homework, not knowing the multiplication tables, dates, or names.  This is not trivial stuff.  If nobody has to work hard, nobody will be prepared for the rigors of life.  They are prepared to be on welfare.

One should guess that this approach is all worked out by Pavlov-inspired psychiatrists in our ed schools.  The Russians were always interested in how you subdue an enemy without a fight.  What’s better than telling them bad news every day and waiting for them to collapse?  Be anxious, my children.  The end will come soon enough. 

In the meantime, expect bad dreams and baldness.

Bruce Deitrick Price explains educational theories on Improve-Education.org.  See Lit4u.com for news about his novels and “Saving K-12” (due in November).

Early in 2017, ABC breathlessly reported, “Hair loss and balding are something we associate with aging, not a younger population, yet more and more millennials say they’re experiencing hair loss.”

Theories include diet and health problems.  But Moneyish.com didn’t hesitate to conclude: “Millennials are going bald from too much stress.”

We live in a rich, safe, successful country.  Why is there so much stress?  Why do so many young people feel they are under siege and about to be overrun?

Perhaps we should look at what public schools, in tandem with higher education and the media, tend to emphasize – namely, pessimism and vulnerability.  Our educational institutions seem to be fiendishly efficient stress factories, able at all levels to produce fearful people who will be crippled by any amount of pressure.

First of all, what is accomplished in public schools?  Anything to be proud of?  There’s a lot of busywork and lightweight academic activity.  I suspect that few kids are deeply engaged and even fewer are bragging about how much they learned the past year.  That leaves kids uninvolved and drifting – a perfect recipe for anxiety and stress.

Second, nothing noble and brave is mentioned if our Education Establishment can manage it.  Has any Millennial ever heard that John Paul Jones said, “I’ve not yet begun to fight.”  This is a message that everyone needs throughout their lives.  Have younger people heard that Nathan Hale said, “I regret that I have but one life to give for my country.”  That is brave stuff, and prompts us all to a higher standard.

A Roman soldier named Horatius, twenty-five centuries ago, stood on a bridge to fight an advancing army.  This story (Horatius at the Bridge) became central to Rome’s identity.  Every Roman kid wanted to be Horatius.  Who do our kids want to be?  Katy Perry?

In one poet’s telling, Horatius declares:

To every man upon this earth
Death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers,
And the temples of his gods…

That was once a commonplace sentiment.  Don’t you tend to guess that few today ever hear it expressed?

Third, American schools relentlessly dispense a hopeless view of life.  Some years ago, you could say it was relentlessly P.C.  Now it’s more heavy-handed, and you have to say it’s Deeply Dystopian.  The climate will blow up; all animals will die; oceans will be empty of fish.  This is what people hear throughout K-12 and later in the media.  Ten or twenty years of this melancholy message almost guarantees a morose personality and less than perfect health.  You would expect hair to fall out!

Our students learn again and again about the worst possibilities.  Death is coming.  Get ready.  Kids are not encouraged to be brave.

For decades, there was a weird campaign against exercise and recess, just as now there’s an effort to make people super-conscious of the dangers of football, soccer, and other sports.  So, little snowflakes, you should just sit there shaking.  Don’t – this is the clear advice – take risks or be adventurous.  Stay home with the television set; it probably won’t hurt you.

Try to find something inspiring in our educational and cultural stew.  It won’t be easy.  The tendency is to subvert the whole concept of nobility.  One site, wanting to mention something heroic discussed an eight-year-old girl who died at the Alamo.  Did the girl choose to be there?  What did she do that was brave?

A lady astronomer discovered a comet.  Later it was named after her.  Fine and appropriate.  But what’s heroic about that?

There is actually a site called Roots of Action, the Role of Heroes for Children.  Doesn’t that sound promising?  But it starts off this way: “Beautiful Snow White is protected from the wicked queen by the seven dwarfs. Her life is threatened when the queen, disguised as a peddler, finds Snow White and poisons her with an apple. Rescued by the Prince, she is transformed by true love.”

Snow White herself must be embarrassed by this sappy presentation.  Okay, she’s a target, but she has a lot of protectors.  What is so heroic?

Here’s an example of heroic.  During World War II, many VIPs (Ted Williams and Clark Gable, for example) left civilian life to be part of the war effort.  The supremely talented Glenn Miller died flying over the English Channel.

Athletes get paid millions of dollars to play children’s games.  But they, along with people in the military, provide examples of discipline, self-sacrifice, working together for a difficult goal.  We should be grateful.  Where else in our society are Spartan values praised?

The trouble is that education officials push the same message relentlessly: be cooperative, not individualistic; be pacifistic, not hardy; be indolent, not industrious.  Sometimes we need to be told, try to be braver.  Being knocked down doesn’t mean you can’t get up and keep fighting.  You have to.

Schools tend to encourage, or at least indulge, laziness, imprecision, lack of perseverance, and any special effort.  It wasn’t enough for our schools to sandbag academics; they also had to assault character.  Being late is okay, as is not finding the right answer, not finishing your homework, not knowing the multiplication tables, dates, or names.  This is not trivial stuff.  If nobody has to work hard, nobody will be prepared for the rigors of life.  They are prepared to be on welfare.

One should guess that this approach is all worked out by Pavlov-inspired psychiatrists in our ed schools.  The Russians were always interested in how you subdue an enemy without a fight.  What’s better than telling them bad news every day and waiting for them to collapse?  Be anxious, my children.  The end will come soon enough. 

In the meantime, expect bad dreams and baldness.

Bruce Deitrick Price explains educational theories on Improve-Education.org.  See Lit4u.com for news about his novels and “Saving K-12” (due in November).


via American Thinker