Forgive the long quote coming up, but it is instructive. (And crazy!)
The President of Hamilton College, David Wippman, and his colleague, Cornell American Studies Prof. Glenn C. Altschuler, have somehow been peeking in on the discussions parents are having online about their young adults now matriculated at university.
These Facebook group discussions may or may not sometimes be about whether the philosophy department is leaning too deconstructionist, or even whether anyone is driving to the school and can squeeze in an extra passenger. But one thing the discussions most certainly are about is…laundry. As Wippman and Altschuler note in a recent article in The Hill, this includes parental discussions of:
“…the number and location of washing machines and dryers in each residence hall, whether machines are top or front loading, the best dryer settings, whether high-efficiency detergent should be used, room dimensions and setup (including floor plans, diagrams and photos), bed height, sheet size, mattress toppers, dresser capacity, the utility of bed risers and stackable bins, bike storage, rug size, window size, lighting, cleaning supplies, acceptable wall hangings, the advisability of air purifiers, refrigerators, televisions, microwaves, printers, and fans, and, by the parent of a tall student, the height of shower heads in the bathroom.”
It’s easy to laugh at these parents, but clearly if folks feel no compunctions about this kind of granular assistance, it’s the culture that is off, not individual moms and dads. Even the fact that it is perfectly normal for parents of college students to join discussion groups about their kids’ experience has normalized the idea that these young men and women are still children in need of a whole lot of care and feeding, albeit from afar.
It’s a culture that has been undermining kids by underestimating them the whole way up.
So: That’s what I discuss today over at Let Grow, including what it’s doing to our kids. Please come join me there by clicking here!