Hi, I’m a former kid who was relatively Free-Range (sometimes even with my parents’ consent), but then had a nasty collision with the fear-driven culture we have now..Here’s the situation: I was 18 (that’s actually technically adult, right?), and going to summer camp at an arts camp, on the other side of the country. Because I believe in being prepared, I brought my pocket knife, which was small but well-sharpened.Long story short, I ended up not only being expelled for having a “weapon,” but somehow the school counselors decided that I was prone to violence and self-harm, and recommended that I be sent to a mental-health facility! (A psychiatrist of my family’s acquaintance gave me a clean bill of mental health shortly afterwards.).The experience was fairly traumatic and pretty well ruined my summer. It took me a while to get to the point where I can discuss it without crying, and this is coming from someone who generally prides herself on being tough and stoic.If the counselors and administration had been a little more reasonable, a little more willing to believe that I was a rational and responsible person, and a little less afraid of lawsuits, I could have escaped a world of hurt. – Meg
Overreaction Nation: The Pocket Knife at Camp
Hi Readers — This story comes to us from Meg, a college student who came face to face with Overreaction Nation — a society so over-wrought with fear that it can’t see a young person without imagining some terrible thing is about to happen. Ironically, then it did. You’ll see why. – L.
Lenore Here: I am all for helping young people — actually, all people — going through psychologically difficult times. The issue seems to be seeing difficulties where there are none. Or blowing up little problems into big ones. To quote another parenting philosophy which dovetails with ours here: Sometimes the folks in power have to CTFD*.