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The Sissy Society

September 5, 2011

Updated August 29, 2012

I was prompted to write this post after watching the CBS news one evening. One of the topics was the anxiety that students, parents and teachers are experiencing as the new school year approaches.

Excuse me?

This should be an exciting time of year when kids are preparing their school kits for elementary school, middle school, high school and, yes, college.

Yet we have a situation where kids are not just anxious but actually many are seeking counseling and even prescriptions to calm their nerves. My wife, Sue, shared her experience at work where parents are expressing their anxiety about the school year, some talking about getting counseling for their children (we live in Ottawa, Canada).

Let’s back up a minute.

Sue and I raised four totally functionally children to adult status (22 to 31), “kids” who are contributing constructively to society.

As much as we were both actively involved in prepping them for school each year, it was always a time of excitement and eagerness, even if it meant a new school.

I vaguely recall starting kindergarten in Battle Creek, Michigan, in 1960. My dad was on a two year assignment with the Grand Trunk Railway; his home base was with Canadian National Railways in Montreal. I walked to school by myself and from what I recall I wasn’t traumatized by the experience. My only major incident living in Battle Creek was getting the middle finger of my left hand slammed in a car door.

When we moved back to Montreal I started grade one. I do remember crying my eyes out when my mom walked me to school the first day; after that I was on my own.

Sue had a similar experience – no babying.

So what is becoming of our society, where Gen X parents are exceeding the controlling behaviors of Baby Boomers?

How are today’s children expected to function in a turbulent world, characterized by cut-throat global competition, ever-changing adaptability and resilience to omnipresent pressures?

If Mommy or Daddy is stressed because Junior is getting ready for school, then it’s obvious that this behavior gets transferred.

We live in a sick society, where material acquisition has been the driving force for the measure of success, regardless of the Great Recession and the ongoing financial crisis in the U.S.. Canada is not that far off. So don’t get smug my fellow Canadians.

So kids, ignore your hyperventilated parents. All will be well this school year. Make the most of your learning, but enjoy school activities and meet new friends. Time will pass quickly and before you know it you’ll be getting for summer. And the cycle will start all over again.

Life is a journey – you’re never there. Take a deep breathe…and enjoy!


To learn is to do something by yourself. To educate is to do something to someone else.

– Alan M. Thomas

First photo courtesy of Crystal Andrushko. Click here to see more of Crystal’s photos .


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