Charles Sykes ends his op-ed about over-protectiveness, which appeared in today's Wall Street Journal, with a quote from the Duke of Wellington: "The battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton." In other words, childhood competition shapes a nation's character. But in today's k-12 schools--Brave New Worlds of self-esteem police that they are--competition is something of a dirty word. So, too, is anything mildly unsafe or risky. In addition to the familiar stories about schools banning tag, touch football, dodgeball (don't want to pick on the chubby kids), etc., Sykes adds other bemusing details. For example, principals at several schools in North Carolina, worried that the sun's rays might be too much for little Johnny and Sally, want to spend thousands of dollars to cover their playgrounds with massive canopies. Sykes wonders: "can actual bubble-wrap be far behind?"  

"Adult Supervision," by Charles Sykes, Wall Street Journal, November 8, 2007

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