One Hypothesis

This week, some of our nation’s Ivy League Universities placated their students in regards to their devastation over the election of Donald Trump to the presidency. Cornell held a “Cry-In” in which students were offered Play-doh, posters, markers, and hot cocoa. One professor at Yale University made the mid-term exam optional for students. Several universities cancelled classes altogether allowing students to take the day to grieve and mourn the loss.*

You’ve got to be kidding!

One wonders what these students will do when they actually grow up, get a job, have a family of their own, and an actual crisis hits? I’m certainly not wishing ill will on any one, but any reasonable adult realizes that crises do come along and we really have to handle them without asking the world around us to pause while we cry.

How did these students come to this way of thinking? Since my own sons are about this same age, I did some deductive reasoning (something we adults learned to do in elementary school) and came up with an interesting hypothesis. I believe it began when they were young children and played in the local community sports league.

When my children were young I always served as the Team Mother. It was my responsibility to plan the end-of-the-season team party. During the season it was obvious which children were more acclimated to the sport. My older son quickly advanced from the outfield and became a pitcher. Our younger son didn’t do so well and didn’t want to play after a couple of seasons. However, if you look on their respective dressers in their room, each of them has a trophy to represent each season they played.

I confess that I am like every other parent in the world. I want my children to be recognized for their accomplishments. Like most parents, I often think that my child is better than everyone else’s (Oh, come on, you do it, too!).

After a few years on the baseball field my sons decided they preferred competing in various 4-H activities, most often with beef cattle. There were many times that I thought their project was the best one. The judges and I rarely agreed on this, though. While my sons did receive a trophy for each baseball season, they rarely earned the awards they sought in 4-H. I’m incredibly thankful for this.

I always thought I was making each child on the team realize their worth by presenting them with a trophy. However, my sons show little regard for those trophies today (and some of them look really cool). Instead they are proud to show off the many ribbons, plaques, and pins they earned in 4-H. These prizes were not given, they were earned.

I can’t help but to compare that mindset of earning the reward to being given a prize. The “snowflakes” on college campuses who are crying and holding candlelight vigils over their loss in the presidential election have probably been given most everything they’ve ever had. I know there are exceptions to this, of course. But if my hypothesis is correct, the college parking lots are probably filled with cars purchased by daddy.

When I was growing up (go ahead and roll your eyes), I wasn’t given anything. I also wasn’t especially talented at anything. I worked very hard and earned every bit of what I got, including jobs, grades, degrees, and money. So did each of my family members.

Earlier this week on a social media outlet, I explained that when Barack Obama won in both 2008 and 2012, I was devastated. I could not believe that this nation would elect someone based on the color of his skin rather than the content of his character. On both occasions, though, I got up the next morning, made breakfast, and got my boys started on their school work. I was chastised for my comment and advised that my socioeconomic status was such that I was incapable of understanding what the problem is. Really?

Oh, believe me, I understand the problem.

When Obama was elected, I went through those days angry and disappointed at the outcome, as well as at some of the people who caused that outcome. I certainly prayed for our nation and our newly elected leaders. However, I never had to take a day off to mourn, cry, grieve, or make animal models with Play-doh.

The problem is that I’m willing to work harder than a snowflake. So I win the prize.


~Temerity Dowell