Readers! This note from a teacher interested me so much — and not just because I really hate bottled water. (Always have. It’s a waste of plastic, and a waste of fuel, in that it gets transported from Fiji or wherever, by boat and truck. And in a country with clean tap water, it’s a waste of money! Especially because so many brands, including Dasani and Aquafina, are just re-filtered tap water anyway!)
But anyway — the letter interests me not just because it has to do with over-coddling, but also because of insidious privatizing: The triumph of bottled water over public drinking fountains. When we start to shun public resources in favor of “better” private ones, we start to break down something bigger: The idea that we should work (and pay) to make things better for the whole community, not just our own precious progeny. It reminds me of the way book stores have taken the place of libraries in some places, because they’re open longer, have more books, and serve lattes. And yet, libraries are much more important, because they provide a world of learning, free, to everyone.
Okay — that’s a long intro to a short letter, and slightly off-topic, at that. So here goes! –L.
Dear Free-Range Kids: In the last year I have noticed something that I wanted to share with you, thinking, maybe, you could confirm my thought that the world, and parents, are going mad. Or maybe I’m crazy? During the school day the children are given frequent opportunities to get a drink of water. But, afraid that their kids might still not get enough, a lot of parents give their children water bottles to have at their desks. This year I have gotten multiple requests from parents to remind their children to drink water throughout the day.
Have I lost it completely in thinking that learning to drink when you’re thirsty is one of the key parts of growing up into a functioning adult human? While water is obviously important, it doesn’t seem to kill kids to be without for a couple hours. A shocking number of parents act like it’s insulin for their diabetic children.
Maybe it would just be best to hook all kids up to fluid drips to make sure they are always fully hydrated? Am I crazy? — A Teacher
Dear Teach — I don’t think you’re crazy. I agree: Once again we have “dangerized” a little thirst and turned it into a health problem that must be immediately addressed. And once again we are thinking of our children as less safe, less resilient and less smart (they have to be TOLD to drink?) than any generation before them. — L.