Cruel Growing or Stand By Me

In due time, not too long ago, an article was published in the New York Times about the Dutch custom of leaving children in the wild to grow up faster has caused public outrage. Is it really about how children become steeled and accustomed to the cruelty of adulthood, or is it another challenge I don't know, you can judge by yourself.


The challenge looks something like this: one of the adults is driving children with blindfolds, in the dead of night, to the woods. The children then go out, remove the blindfold, and in the dark it is time to find their way to the summer camp they started from, miles away. The only help is an old GPS device that shows them if they are headed in the right direction. It's not easy to get in the middle of the wilderness either. They happen to go out of the way and have to go back. With each step the children are more tired and hungry. But they don't give up. At least they returned to camp almost before dawn ...


Is this way really cruel? If we take into account all the circumstances of today in terms of the dangers that lurk, the children's habits of comfort and technology at every turn. In that sense, yes, this can be cruel, and things should be viewed according to the circumstances and reality. In today's conditions, this can be cruel.


However, when I remember my childhood, things like that were almost commonplace. It's literally like I'm watching the Stand By Me movie from 1986, when I think of my childhood buddies, and all the adventures we did as kids. Even then there were dangers, but somehow it was common to run away from home at least once, imagine, without GPS. And nobody missed anything. In this context, growing up of Dutch children is not cruel at all. But, circumstances have changed in many ways. First, today's kids may not be ready for these kinds of challenges, and second, older people today force children to do something like that, and we did it ourselves with enthusiasm and no one forced us, there was no need ....

That is why I think that, given the conditions of today, nothing needs to be forced.


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