Hate to agree with iDave about something but one place his draconian approach would be welcome is in physical training and competitive sport in schools, particularly in team games.
No one’s talking draconian in the way it’s implemented – kids can enjoy games as long as there is some sort of success allowed for each but that’s no reason to eliminate competitive games for fear that individual success is not going to happen. It’s always been the way that if you’re ordinary at individual sport, then you do team sport and contribute to the team’s success. And a friendly gamesmaster is a break from your class teacher.
There is a principle and one day, everyone from libertarians to lefties might finally get it – a child is not a fully grown human being. The main issue is the parents, many of whom are failing their kids by swallowing the leftist mantra about competition and then there is the type of teacher they have in primary now.
Quite apart from the exposure of children to sex and drugs via the teachers’ oh-so-tolerant attitude to wrong things [for that age] and the feeling that they’re so modern and relevant in doing all this, there is the culture of sloth in schools and namby-pamby lip service to sport. The notion that kids do not have regular physical exercise – one or two P.E sessions of 45 minutes and one games session of an hour and a half, along with one swimming a week, is jawdropping, given the overwhelming evidence in studies as to the effect of such brain-expanding exercise and competitive and team spirit in games.
If independent schools dominate in sport and I’m not sure they do but if they do – then such a curriculum is largely responsible. Key factors for kids:
3. Intellectual challenge
On the first, that Jamie Oliver’s attempt at healthy eating in schools should receive such mockery and that it’s even been turned into some sort of libertarian issue is amazing. I should have thought everyone would be demanding healthy eating for kids – again, it’s the parents primarily at fault. Sure my parents had trouble getting me to eat my greens and other things they tried I also flatly refused but they didn’t give up, saying, “Oh dear, what can we do?”
They kept pegging away because parents used to know better than kids. They accepted my flat refusals, worked on the waverings and if the food was good and I liked it, indulged me on that. It was never even an issue about physical exercise. My mum expected I’d be chafing at the bit to get out with my mates on our bicycles – she’d have been amazed if I’d wanted to stay home in my room. In fact, it would have ruined the rest she richly deserved and her own work she had to do.
Sure kids differ in temperament and body shape and there was the old culture of the detested fascistic sportsmaster – no one’s arguing for a return to that type and I’d like to see that type eliminated – but there is no good reason for kids not to do exercise in the curriculum, accounting for individual differences and setting different targets. It’s a fundamental of learning capacity for a start to have at least some regular exercise.
The greatest benefit is the culture which emerges and this has flow-ons in what a government can and cannot try on. A nation of fit, well-fed people is considerably more difficult to lead into serfdom than a slothful nation of whingers. I don’t believe iDave wants that at all – a fit, healthy, free-thinking and intelligent nation – his EU masters certainly don’t.
And in the light of yesterday’s little dust-up, it doesn’t make me any less libertarian to say a kid is a parent’s responsibility first and foremost and that the parent rules, a little less by degrees, as the kid reaches the next level – that’s how it’s always been in healthy societies.
Libertarianism is a concept for grown adults, fully-fledged people and to treat children as such is so under the spell of the narrative as to be quite dangerous.