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Are We Failing To Prepare Children For Leadership In the US?

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the growing-up-fast dept.

Education 754

Vulcan195 writes "Would you let your three-year-old play with a real saw? You would if you were a parent in Switzerland. Suzanne Lucas (a U.S. mom residing in Switzerland) writes about the contrasts between the U.S. and Swiss ways of instilling wisdom. She writes: 'Every Friday, whether rain, shine, snow, or heat, my three-year-old goes into the forest for four hours with 10 other school children. In addition to playing with saws and files, they roast their own hot dogs over an open fire. If a child drops a hot dog, the teacher picks it up, brushes the dirt off, and hands it back.' She suggests that such kids grow up and lead the ones who were coddled (e.g. U.S. kids) during their early years."

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you're all worthless and weak (5, Funny)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438331)

No American child would be caught dead allowing a Swiss teacher to wipe dirt off their hard-earned American Hot Dogs. Freedom Dogs 4eva!

Re:you're all worthless and weak (5, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438541)

No, they would just run and cry to their obese parents, who would in turn tattle to the principal, who would have the teacher brought up on sexual harassment charges for the suggestive way she brushed the dirt off that phallic foodstuff.

Re:you're all worthless and weak (5, Funny)

Barefoot Monkey (1657313) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438869)

No, they would just run and cry to their obese parents,

Running means exercise, which is healthy. US wins another round. Your move, Switzerland.

Re:you're all worthless and weak (2, Funny)

rvw (755107) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438835)

Freedom Dogs 4eva!

Who's this eva that gets all the dogs?

Are we failing to prepare children for leadership? (3, Insightful)

alexbgreat (1422591) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438335)

As a general rule....yes.

Re:Are we failing to prepare children for leadersh (1)

Zsub (1365549) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438383)

End of discussion.

Re:Are we failing to prepare children for leadersh (5, Insightful)

knappe duivel (914316) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438847)

End of discussion.

why?

Not very new. (4, Informative)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438345)

These Forest-Kindergartens are all over Europe.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forest_kindergarten [wikipedia.org]

Where I work, I can see them going by foot up a mountain to reach the forest. I can imagine their immune-system must beat those of TV-watching coach-potatoes.

In other news I read that 5 year olds, who did not go to such Kindergartens had to be rescued on a school excursion.
They weren't able to continue because they had never actually _walked_ a mile in their life, only from the couch to the car and back.

Re:Not very new. (5, Interesting)

gameres (1050972) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438439)

Not sure about the forest kids, but my daughter did go to a montessori school in germany. she learned which end of a paring knife cuts and how to keep birds and cook breakfast. I was there when "normal" kindergarten teachers came for a demonstration. They were horrified. I do think that schools there prepare their kids better for life in general. I do like the Montessori way of raising kids.

Re:Not very new. (3, Interesting)

silanea (1241518) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438843)

It depends very much on the individual kindergarten or school. The "Montessori way" is often fundamentally misapplied, resulting in kids that essentially do whatever they want whenever they want in whatever pace they want, which translates to an almost non-existent education. There are a few really good such schools, but I for one would rather not take that chance.

Re:Not very new. (4, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438465)

Where I work, I can see them going by foot up a mountain to reach the forest. I can imagine their immune-system must beat those of TV-watching coach-potatoes.

Sure, but what are their Starcraft 2 scores like?

See, there's always a tradeoff. Good health, strong immune system and lifelong leadership skills vs mad Starcraft 2 skillz.... Which is more important?

Hold on, I'm still thinking...

Re:Not very new. (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438645)

If you're really really good at Starcraft, you could end up a pro-gamer in Korea, which would put you in the same ranks in their society as a NFL player is here. Of course, your odds of that are even worse than your average high school player becoming an NFL star.

The other counterargument, as described by a college friend of mine: "2000 hit points, and no life".

Re:Not very new. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40438741)

Well... I'm already screwed... I'm not Korean.

Re:Not very new. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40438859)

You don't need leadership skills to manage a zerg rush; you just take orders from the overmind.

And this is why Switzerland rules the world (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40438361)

When it comes to being intolerant racist dumbfucks who ban Mosques in their country because they hate the brown people even more than the most staunch white hood wearing republican.

*jerky jerky motion* my country is better than your country.

Re:And this is why Switzerland rules the world (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40438441)

And while you sit on you ass and whine they win.

Re:And this is why Switzerland rules the world (1)

PReDiToR (687141) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438469)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minaret_controversy_in_Switzerland [wikipedia.org]

Typical. Even when you're trying to be helpful you get it wrong.

Mr Coward, please create an account so you can come back and read replies.

Re:And this is why Switzerland rules the world (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40438591)

Oh hey look, I clicked the link and was disgusted by a long-winded display of the Swiss brand of dogwhistle racism, and progressive bigotry.

You don't need to log in to read replies, and who the fuck has the time to log in to slashdot? It's not 1999, and this isn't a tech story.

Now tell me how France banned headscarves, you know, to "empower" women by telling them what they can or cannot wear.

Re:And this is why Switzerland rules the world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40438519)

They banned minarets. Mosques are ok. There are also plenty of immigrants in Switzerland. About 20% of the total population is foreign born. So they
can't be that intolerant.

Re:And this is why Switzerland rules the world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40438585)

"They banned minarets. Mosques are ok. "

Why do the churches still make all that ruckus every hour or more, can't their followers just get an app for that?

Re:And this is why Switzerland rules the world (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438731)

A large number of Swiss immigrants are from the "local" Swiss ethnic groups, though, which limits their foreignness. The two largest Swiss immigrant groups are: 1) Italians who move to the Italian part of Switzerland, and 2) Germans/Austrians who move to the German part of Switzerland. Even the anti-immigrant Swiss parties tend not to care about them, because they already share a cultural/linguistic background.

Re:And this is why Switzerland rules the world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40438861)

They banned minarets. Mosques are ok. There are also plenty of immigrants in Switzerland. About 20% of the total population is foreign born. So they
can't be that intolerant.

I lived in Switzerland from 94 through 95. They actually are pretty intolerant, it just manifests differently. If you're from certain areas you keep your fucking mouth shut. On the upside they don't have immigrant gang violence like in France (though those are all second generation by now).

I was mostly in western CH, I'm relatively certain it was a national phenomenon though.

Re:And this is why Switzerland rules the world (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40438599)

It's not mosques that were banned in Switzerland, it's minarets.
And minarets are not a religious symbol, except to extremists who consider them the "bayonets of Islam" and a symbol of conquest. Historically minarets were built for practical purposes, to call Muslims for prayer so there is not even a question of religious discrimination.

In Switzerland, the call to prayer is banned and thus minarets are useless for that purpose. Therefore the only reason anyone would have to build one is because they're extremists and want to show to other extremists that they have conquered Switzerland. We really don't need or want to let extremists build something that encourages them to commit violence, thank you very much.

The "brown people" (I prefer calling them Middle-Eastern, Arabs or Muslims, depending which of these they are) are welcome to practice their religion peacefully in the many mosques that nobody stopped them from building in Switzerland.

I suppose next you'll be bringing up the Polanski affair and blaming Switzerland for not extraditing him when the USA refused to provide all the required documents?

I have no idea if you're an Al Qaeda supporter butthurt over the ban of your precious conquest symbol or an American (one of the dumb ones) who's butthurt over the fact that you raise your kids in protection foam and turn them into pussies as a result, but either way you can go fuck yourself.

Sure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40438367)

I get where you're coming from, but the simple fact of the matter is that I have never worked for a Swiss boss. Ever. I know nobody who has. If they are such great leaders of (US) men, where are they?

Re:Sure... (4, Funny)

tripy (1753236) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438407)

I get where you're coming from, but the simple fact of the matter is that I have never worked for a Swiss boss. Ever. I know nobody who has. If they are such great leaders of (US) men, where are they?

Hum, here, in Switzerland... *waving*

Re:Sure... (1)

Fwipp (1473271) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438417)

Switzerland, mainly.

Re:Sure... (1)

Zsub (1365549) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438419)

In Switzerland, sitting on that motherlode of gold and art of dubious legality. Duh. Seriously, though, I suspect that Switzerland is very capable of retaining its high potentials, although its banking system may not have everything to do with that.

Re:Sure... (2)

funwithBSD (245349) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438423)

Oh you work for them, yes you do.

*Cue the Black Helicopters*

Re:Sure... (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438733)

As any player of Illuminati: NWO [sjgames.com] can tell you, he's not actually controlled by the gnomes of Zurich but instead by the Adepts of Hermes (through a tangled web involving urban gangs, Bill Clinton, vampires, and South American Nazis.

Re:Sure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40438815)

You mean Global Warming ranks up there with Black Ops and Illuminati. You twits. This isn't a tech story, come slash Dot.

Re:Sure... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40438473)

"Maximum" Bob Lutz, the most interesting boss in the world

Re:Sure... (1)

kanto (1851816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438479)

I get where you're coming from, but the simple fact of the matter is that I have never worked for a Swiss boss. Ever. I know nobody who has. If they are such great leaders of (US) men, where are they?

I know this! [google.com]

Re:Sure... (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438875)

They're probably mostly in Switzerland, and possibly in some other nearby European countries like Germany and France. Why on earth would they want to move to America? Switzerland is a great place, with the highest standard of living in the world.

Path to Leadership in the USA (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40438411)

Step 1: Have a Rich Family

Not sure what the other steps are...

Re:Path to Leadership in the USA (5, Insightful)

hodet (620484) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438719)

Step 2: Narcissistic and psychopathic tendancies ..keep it rolling people, we can establish a framework here.

Re:Path to Leadership in the USA (0)

yanyan (302849) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438725)

Step 2: ??????
Step 3: Profit!

Fixed that for you.

Re:Path to Leadership in the USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40438871)

"Step 1: Have a Rich Family

Not sure what the other steps are..."

Step 2. Always tie the dog to the roof.
Step 3. Stop obsessing about other people's haircuts.

I doubt my smart kid will work for the dumb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40438415)

spawn of some HR lady just because she sends him out on lord of the flies outings when he's 3.

What's the tech angle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40438435)

This is a tech news site. What's the tech angle here? Are the Swiss children building linux systems where the US ones aren't?

Re:What's the tech angle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40438555)

No, it's that the Swiss kids get to play with technology like saws and files that are off-limits to Americans with less than a high-school education (or GRE).

Seriously, not only is it not tech news, I don't see how it's really news at all -- I certainly had the opportunity to mess around with tools at that age. Sure, some suburban American kids whose parents keep them in a protective bubble may not, but not all European schoolkids get the benefit of a sane upbringing either.

Are We? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40438437)

Nahh you're just plain failing.

Always the same BS: 'My way is better because' (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40438443)

Most people say there are two certainties in life. Death and taxes.

I'd like to add a third to the list: Mothers thinking their way of raising their kids is better than x, bragging about it and if allowed to will continue to write about it in a blog, on Facebook or in a magazine in excruciating (to the rest of us) detail.

Nothing new here, just a new fad 'that's better because...' and the reasoning is usually just thinly disguised as because "I'm doing it"

As an Uncle (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438449)

My niece and nephew were playing with real saws, hammers, and power tools long before the age of three.

Re:As an Uncle (2)

Saija (1114681) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438485)

Luigi is that you?

Re:As an Uncle (1)

Bicx (1042846) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438771)

I played with saws, hammers, and the like at age three until I got in trouble for punching my brother in the head while still holding a nail.

Only if your parents are in government (1)

GeneralTurgidson (2464452) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438459)

You don't think it's a coincidence that a lot of political appointees are the result of nepotism, do you?

Gap (5, Funny)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438483)

Gentlemen, it pains me to tell you this but, we have a lumberjack gap.

Re:Gap (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40438589)

Lumberjack?
Cue Monty Python...

In the US they call it Scouts. (5, Interesting)

Picass0 (147474) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438489)

They teach crafts, hard work and leadership. The problem is Boy Scouts has become stigmatized, lampooned, and in recent years depicted as homophobic. Girl Scouts spends too much time focused on selling cookies.

Public schools wouldn't put a saw or hammer in a child's hand. It would take five minutes for an upset parent or a lawyer to show up. You can thank our overly litigious society for closing doors on an idea like this. And as a parent, I can tell you I'd need a high level of trust in the instructor before I let them take my kids alone into the woods.

Re:In the US they call it Scouts. (5, Interesting)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438563)

Public schools wouldn't put a saw or hammer in a child's hand. It would take five minutes for an upset parent or a lawyer to show up. You can thank our overly litigious society for closing doors on an idea like this.

Football (the US variety, that is).

We don't seem to have a problem sending them out onto the field to risk suffering head injuries that will leave them a bunch of drooling idiots .....

.... so I guess we are preparing our next generation of leaders.

Re:In the US they call it Scouts. (4, Interesting)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438811)

There is physical risk in every sport. Don't drink the press koolaid. There are more injuries in cheer-leading then in football*. Organized school sports provide plenty of opportunity to learn and sharpen leadership/organizational skills.

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheerleading#Dangers_of_cheerleading [wikipedia.org]

"Out of the United States' 2.9 million female high school athletes, only 3% are cheerleaders, yet cheerleading accounts for 65% of all catastrophic injuries in girls' high school athletics. Since the NCAA has yet to recognize cheerleading as an official college sport, there are no solid numbers on college cheerleading, yet when it comes to injuries, 67% of female athlete injuries at the college level are due to cheerleading mishaps.[citation needed] LiveScience.com recaps new evidence showing that the most dangerous sport for high school and college females is cheerleading: Another study found that between 1982 and 2007, there were 103 fatal, disabling or serious injuries recorded among female high school athletes, with the vast majority (67) occurring in cheerleading."

Re:In the US they call it Scouts. (5, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438565)

Is that the Boy Scouts you are referring to?

Are you kidding? They are a pale shallow immitation of what they were 30 years ago. If anything they are a great example of what the original article was talking about.

The Scouts have similar failings as the public schools you're whining about.

Re:In the US they call it Scouts. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40438671)

The Boy Scouts of America [wikipedia.org] is a homophobic organization. That is a fact; not a parody, lampoon, or depiction. The organization brought that opinion onto itself by its actions.

Re:In the US they call it Scouts. (2, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438711)

They are indeed depicted as homophobic. That is because they (Specifically the BSA, their American branch) *are* homophobic. They are quite open about it, and even proud of it. It's right there in their official rules: No gay men are permitted in any form of leadership role in the organisation, not even local troop leader.

schools used to have SHOP but it's not on the test (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40438727)

schools used to have SHOP but it's not on the test so it gets cut

Re:In the US they call it Scouts. (3, Insightful)

Lurker2288 (995635) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438737)

Maybe the Boy Scouts have been depicted as homophobic because of the way they throw out gay Scoutmasters.

Re:In the US they call it Scouts. (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438751)

I took a shop class in a U.S. public school in the 1990s, and we used saws and hammers. Have things really changed that much since the '90s?

Re:In the US they call it Scouts. (4, Funny)

jittles (1613415) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438821)

And as a parent, I can tell you I'd need a high level of trust in the instructor before I let them take my kids alone into the woods.

Relax. I take a group of kids up to Camp Crystal Lake every year, where we play with chainsaws, large knives, and hockey masks.... nothing bad ever happens in the woods...

Re:In the US they call it Scouts. (1)

yakatz (1176317) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438851)

I could not agree more. Our Boy Scout troop has to fight to get the kids interested in something besides their electronic devices, while the parents keep asking why we can't make their children show more leadership in the home, with their friends and at school. This is the purpose of the Boy Scouts of America.

totally backwards (5, Insightful)

hort_wort (1401963) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438491)

We don't want our young cattle to grow into leadership roles, are you nuts!? Here, we make a point to keep kids docile with a mix of fluoride and Prozac.

Re:totally backwards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40438659)

How does having no cavities square with docility? Just because they have good strong square teeth doesn't mean that they must naturally chew cud.

Answer: (5, Informative)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438493)

No. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Answer: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40438791)

For this story there will be an exception.

Monday Morning Troll (4, Insightful)

Darth Snowshoe (1434515) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438495)

I'm sorry, this is just too much. Every week there's at least a couple of these what's-wrong-with-American-education stories. It's always that Americans are doing it wrong, somewhere else is doing it better.

It's entirely reasonable to survey the different approaches to teaching and try to select the best for your own kids/schools/country. But the underlying nationalistic streak in all these articles, and the bogus tone of imminent disaster, is just baiting. And you're going to provide a big fat forum for the libertarians and plutorepublicans to grind away at "why don't we totally defund public education, it's clearly not working". Someone will misquote ol' Thom Jefferson.

God, I would like to be able to differentiate this week from the one that came before. Why is this what Slashdot has become? How is this "news for nerds"? This looks much more like "bait for hot-headed middle-aged guys".

Re:Monday Morning Troll (4, Interesting)

Loughla (2531696) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438779)

to grind away at "why don't we totally defund public education, it's clearly not working".

I was finishing my masters degree with this conversation started, in earnest, on the national level. I thought to myself, "Well, it can't be that bad, there's just a few wingnuts that believe that."

Flash forward - now when you read the news, watch television, or do anything except talk to a teacher, you hear about how piss-poor the US educational system is. My opinion is that private enterprise has already sucked up as much money as it can from the larger portions of government money (energy, food, transportation, communications and banking), so they have set their sights on their latest cash-cow to bleed out (see shock-economics and its impact on South America for examples of what they really want to do - we just have controls in place to stop that scale of greed, so they settle for playing by the legal rules). What's the best way to do that? Swing public opinion using news outlets, and let the masses cut their own throats.

I, for one, welcome our new upper-upper-upper class overlords, and am excited to see the new and fascinating changes that will take place for people living in poverty! We won't have to worry about 'class warfare', because we simply won't learn about that option. If you want to go full-blown tin-foil hat, consider this: We are already accused of indoctrinating our children to the 'myth of US superiority' on a regular basis. What if that changes to 'the myth of the superiority of rich folks'? Pair that with the recent articles about genetic research and altering genes to make perfect babies, and what do we get? Two, distinct types of humans - the ruling elite and the working monsters.

Oh, man, I'm going to be a kick-ass Morlock.

As a side note - I don't believe that it will go that far, but I firmly believe that this type of story is part of a conscious, concerted effort to dismantle public education.

Organized child abuse (5, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438501)

Well, what you Americans do looks very much like organized child abuse to the rest of the world. Not letting children make essential experiences results in stunted development, and there are not many worse things you can do to a child. Even if you think you are protecting them, what you really do is setting them up to fail more drastically later, when they are less resilient and learning is harder for them.

Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40438507)

Man, the woods are boring. Books and videogames are way more awesome. Fuck trees.

Guns anyone? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40438529)

Glad that I was taught how to shoot guns starting at age 5. But then, I live in Texas.

Re:Guns anyone? (4, Funny)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438635)

Are the trees in Texas really that dangerous? Cant you just tranquilise them?

Re:Guns anyone? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438803)

Are the trees in Texas really that dangerous?

When they're made of gigantic, wild boars, yea, yea they are.

Cant you just tranquilise them?

It's harder to get a tranq gun than an actual firearm in this country, namely because the tranquilizer itself is considered a controlled substance.

Don't get me started! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40438533)

Of course we are failing to prepare our children for leadership in the US! Hell, we are failing to prepare our children for anything!

How many of your local schools even offer woodworking clases anymore? Why is that? Whether it is the continual bitching by parents who are afraid Johnny or Jenny cutting their fingers off or the fear of lawsuits by the school districts themselves doesn't matter. The fact is, schools don't teach those skills anymore.

And math? Well, math is just too hard for kids! We can't damage their self-esteem by making them learn something that's HARD!

Reading/writing? Unnecessary! I knew the school systems were failing when my son told me that he could opt out of reading and writing to take a movie appreciation class. That's right - instead of learning how to read or how to structure clear, concise sentences, the school would let him watch movies and talk about them. Clearly equivalent!

Anyone who doesn't think that the US is failing to prepare children for leadership clearly wasn't paying attention as George W. Bush ran this country into the ground for 8 years!

Then, why are fatcats & their dessendants .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40438537)

... in the "leaders' seats"? Of course, given the current state of world economy, one can argue that they are not leading us (forward), but they ARE in that seat - not the people who had to take responsibilities growing up (read ppl from poorer famililes). what do you say, wise lady?

Before you can lead you must learn to follow. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40438547)

If you want to prepare children for leadership, the first thing that they need to learn is that responsibility is earned. Too often today those who excel are denigrated so as not to harm the feelings of those less capable. In this type of environment, those who would lead are discouraged from doing so and those who could possibly learn to lead are taught to sit back and go with the flow.

Leadership? (4, Insightful)

Sir_Eptishous (873977) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438549)

As far as the "pussification of the American Male" that George Carlin warned about it is a resounding yes. I don't have kids, but I have friends and relatives that do. And boyo, can I tell you how different it is.

Go ahead and hang out on my lawn while I rant...
Yes, in junior high I WALKED to school, which was over a mile away.
Yes, we had fireworks "wars" with bottle rockets, firecrackers and roman candles every summer.
Yes, PE in junior and senior high school was brutal, competitive and compulsory. The coaches and upper classmen were pricks, thats just how it was.
Yes, my parents usually had no idea where we were after school, or especially in the summer. Back then, parents weren't fixated/paranoid on children like they are now.
Yes, we played dodgeball in school and it was fierce.
Yes, there was hazing, bullies, fights, etc; same shit as now, only there wasn't a "national debate" about it.

Leadership however is a different animal.

Re:Leadership? (2)

wozzinator (1079319) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438669)

Yes, in junior high I WALKED to school, which was over a mile away.

We rode our bikes to school in Elementary School and it was freaking awesome. It was about a mile away, but I enjoyed that a lot since there were about 5 of us that would ride together. I hope parents aren't too afraid to let their kids do this anymore.

Yes, my parents usually had no idea where we were after school, or especially in the summer. Back then, parents weren't fixated/paranoid on children like they are now.

Agreed, in elementary school we'd often hang out at one of our friends houses and swim or play in the woods. We even tried to start our own landscaping business and had a few customers.

Yes, we played dodgeball in school and it was fierce.

But it was f***** awesome!

All in all, parents need to give their kids some freedom to do stuff on their own and not control every second of their lives. I never needed to have my parents tell me to play outside cause it was a nice day, cause as a kid I was generally doing this anyways. Thinking back on it, I wish I could do that right now instead of working full-time...

swiss press (2)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438557)

i wonder if in switzerland the media also tries to apply overly broad generalizations and stereotypes to an entire population

What's the Difference? (2)

wozzinator (1079319) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438573)

I don't understand, what is the difference between these schools and having what we call "recess" in the US? We always used to play outside and in the woods (granted never with knives and fires whilst unsupervised.) We learned leadership via school yard games such as man-hunt, tag, capture the flag, sharks and minoes, etc. I think as long as kids are playing with eachother outside, they'll develop these same communication skills that you can get from these Forest Kindergartens (and not pay $34,000 USD per year on tuition.)

Is it really that bad? (3, Interesting)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438579)

The description of the Swiss mentality sounds quite normal to me as a Finn. Is the US really as bad as the article implies?

If so, what happened? Is it the insane damages you can sue for in the US that caused a climate of fear?

My kids have played with hammers saws and knives too, obviously being guided how to use those tools first. Just today my 5-year-old son was chopping carrots while we were preparing food. Had to stop him once when his big brother went WOW in front of the TV and he was about to run and check with the blade pointing in front of him. Now he probably remembers to put down the knife the next time. :)

Re:Is it really that bad? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40438665)

The description of the Swiss mentality sounds quite normal to me as a Finn. Is the US really as bad as the article implies?

No, such hysterical "OMG, we're DOOMED!" reactions have been common in the US since...probably the beginning since "Think of the Children" way predates the history of this country. Heck, there was constant wanking over the Communists having smarter more capable Children for decades, even up to the 80s.

There was an episode of Small Wonder where there was a child from Russia brought to tour the US and show off his or her smarts. I think the child turned out to be a robot (like the Small Wonder girl was), but not as good as the American version or something.

If so, what happened? Is it the insane damages you can sue for in the US that caused a climate of fear?

Nope. 90% of people never see a lawsuit in their lives. If anything, it's the insane hysteria of a lawsuit. Everybody hears about them, very few people face them.

My kids have played with hammers saws and knives too, obviously being guided how to use those tools first. Just today my 5-year-old son was chopping carrots while we were preparing food. Had to stop him once when his big brother went WOW in front of the TV and he was about to run and check with the blade pointing in front of him. Now he probably remembers to put down the knife the next time. :)

See now, I'd be more worried about the carrots. Those things are evil! Evil!

But I've seen quite a few children brought in hurt over so many things, so it's not like people aren't doing it.

If there's a real problem, it's the lack of insurance/national healthcare plan.

The Lawn Darts were prudently banned though.

Playing with saws is OK (3, Funny)

cvtan (752695) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438593)

But playing with my files? Not on your life! What if there is a tax audit? I could be in big trouble.

Not seeing the whole picture... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40438617)

My kid has mad Wii skills, has his own tool set. We go on nature walks. We talk about politics, math science and reading. He's 7.

Do you really think every American is raised the same? I am pretty sure we are closer to the majority than you may think.

When I was in Germany, the kids there seemed to be coddled ones.

Only safe choices? (5, Insightful)

jcdick1 (254644) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438623)

I don't think its really an administrative decision to protect children and provide only safe choices that prevent an education like this. Its the need to protect the schools, the businesses and any other organizations involved from lawsuits. Here in the U.S., the insurance premiums necessary for any group that would allow a 3 yr old to even approach - let alone use - a functional cutting blade bigger than "safety scissors" would be astronomical.

Its like the need for all that squishy rubber surface on playgrounds these days. It isn't there to keep kids from breaking limbs falling off equipment because breaking limbs is a bad thing. Its to minimize exposure to litigation if they do.

Skills (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438633)

There is a story from my ancestral homeland in which the boys of a tribe were given a Cocoa bean, which they were required to eat, and then sent out into the forest to fend for himself. If he survived the caffeine and the forest he was allowed to rejoin the tribe. Otherwise he was presumed dead.This was a relatively efficient method to insure the weak would not burden the tribe.

My specific comments on education is that in the US any sacrifice for education is seen as unacceptable. Thinking hard, asked for supplies, homework, separation between child and parent by banning cell phones, is all unacceptable. For students in certain schools, leadership is taught. Otherwise it is assumed that students are going to be worker bees, hired by some person better than them. If we ask for sacrifice, that is the purchase of general purpose computer rather than an xBox, or a notebooks and pencils rather than jordans, then we might be able to begin to teach the skills and techniques that allow on to be an efficient entrepreneur and creator of innovative product. However since there is an inherent adversarial relationship set up between those who know and have stuff and those who don't, such an education is difficult at best.

Yes. Yes I would (4, Insightful)

Inda (580031) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438639)

I remember playing with some twist drill bits as a very young child. I was poking them into holes my father had already drilled; all good fun. When he offered me the cordless drill, complete with keyless chuck, all my birthdays came at once.

Even my own daughter has proper toys to play with. The medical certificated stethoscope we bought her was actually cheaper on Ebay than the toy version in Toys-R-Us. The magnifying glass she treasures will be awesome when she discovers the sun and it's fire-starting magic. muhahaha.

Children: They'll only cut their fingers off once.

Depends on the kid I guess (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438647)

I have a six year old nephew, and his parents allow him to use a fork and a knife at the table. Which seems safe enough as it is a normal table knife, read not very sharp. But considering how he attacks his food with more enthusiasm than skill, I'd have some reservations about giving him a really sharp knife ;-)

Bubble wrapped their lives (5, Interesting)

realsilly (186931) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438653)

I grew up in a different time, a time when children of all ages had expectation of behavior and responsibility handed to them at a very early age, and since I've become an adult I've watched the population coddle children more and more. I remember my uncle literally bubble wrapping the edges of tables and furniture so his little girl would not take a bump to the head. I mean really, he bubble wrapped shit.

If children don't learn right away how to protect themselves they do become rather weak, and the miss very important lessons. Gone are the days when a child could take a BB gun and shoot cans in the back yard. Gone are the days when children knew not to touch a hot stove because they've already learned that lesson. Gone are the days when children would be given homework in public schools an were expected to do more than 5 mins of homework a day. Gone are the days when we expected children to learn a subject well enough that they could write an essay about their knowledge.

Our children are poor in math, poor in reading, poor in data retention, poor in knowing right from wrong. Our children don't know common sense, how can they when an education system has a zero tolerance foundation. What happened to having the ability to stand up for ones convictions and not being suspended or expelled for it.

We American adults only have ourselves to blame. We've coddled the world. But this stems back to our litigious society. We put warning labels on the most ridiculous thing because some child received a Darwin award for drowning in a bucket, or some lady wins 8 million dollars because McDonald's didn't put a warning label on the coffee cup "Caution contents are very hot". We sue if someone wrongs us, even if we failed to read directions, or to use some sound judgment.

I'm not saying all litigation is wrong, just the frivolous ones. I'm not saying some safeguards are needed, but "coffee is hot" is a bit too much. I'm not saying that all kids won't struggle to learn, most will, and it's those struggles (which sometimes end with injury or death) that we learn from the most.

Allow violence on TV. Allow kids to be kids. Stop bubble wrapping our next generations.

Ten children enter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40438661)

nine children leave. Worth it unless yours is the tenth.

Yup... (1)

s0litaire (1205168) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438679)

..from the viewpoint of an outsider (here in Sunny Scotland) that is...

The constant bashing of Science over Religion in K-12 (?) is producing a generation of sheep rather than a generation of Sheppard's.

The Education system is too busy spoon-feeding test answers that in effect stunt creative and enquiring minds,
But you need minds that can think creatively (i.e. Out-side-the-box) in the fast paced society we have today...

It's starting to hurt us now especially in the UK where a generation of children have not had the IT experience of us older generation that built PC's from scratch (or at lest got a BBC Micro / Atari ST / Commodore / Sinclair Spectrum) and actually got hands on programming, rather than just moving boxes in a GUI. Europe and soon America will see a shortage of competent programmers and system engineers you'll end up off shoring all of your IT to places like India where they HAVE been actively pushing IT skills in schools.

Even If we act now, it will take 10-20 years for the problem to be fixed as that's how long it takes to get a child through the Education system to the level required for our future needs.

The Google Turing machine a few days ago is a prime example! How many of you's in your 30+ could do it, and how many younger than 30 managed it?
In my non-scientific survey of an IT forum it was 60% of over 30's managed it while less than 30% of Under 30's could only do it without cheating.

Alternative to Boy Scouts? (1)

i_hate_robots (922668) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438693)

Someone mentioned Scouting as an organization in America teaching these same skills. I was a cub scout as a kid, never a full fledged Boy Scout, but I'm curious - is Boy Scouts of America the only such organization for this sort of thing? I'm curious if there's a non-religious version. And yes, I think the Boy Scouts is basically an Evangelical organization.

Parenting Shouldn't Require Societal Intervention (3, Insightful)

PHCOSci (1771552) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438699)

I'm not sure why "forest school" needs to exist. It shouldn't be the duty of any government funded agency to do this sort of thing. Take your kids camping. Teach them this stuff yourself. Just because the Swedes have these programs does not mean Americans don't also instruct their children this way.

Before I was 10 I'd taken a lawn mower apart and reassembled it, made furniture, could identify all the varieties of hardwood in the northeast, and fired a longbow. That was thanks to my Dad. Not my school teacher. I think that's appropriate!

Reminds me of the Russian Pilot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40438735)

Check out the story of Aeroflot Flight 593. Commercial flight with 63 passengers and 12 flight crew. Pilot had his kids on board and wanted to let them fly.

The real problem was he had TWO kids, which meant that he put one kid in the pilot seat and the other in the co-pilot seat. If he had just made them take turns, one at a time, he probably would not have crashed the plane and killed everyone on board.

But now back to reality. Yeah, everyone likes to complain about 'soft American kids'. People have been complaining about that for fifty years now. If all the "you are too soft" people were right, America would be a third world country.

We are not soft.

We don't baby our kids.

We protect them - but we teach them to live without rules.

We keep them away from dangerous things - but we encourage them to work hard and do things safely.

I grew up with tools woods and critters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40438747)

right in america. but over 60 years ago lol

I think the safetymania is evil and ought to be fought like Nazis - by all conceivable means. It's due to selfishness: off-load old-age worries onto welfare (social security), have few or no kids, borrow and spend. not much margin there, hence the safety mania, from global warming through the precautionary principle (how you can call a profoind error a principle confoinds me) and on to not spanking kids with paddles in schools.

Of course we are.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40438759)

Kids with leadership won't grow into government dependent adults, so their votes would not be easily bought by promises of "free stuff" (ironically paid for by funds taken from those evil self-reliant folks).

Cooking Hot Dogs != Leadership (4, Interesting)

PerfectionLost (1004287) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438765)

I find the concept that handling saws, and roasting hotdogs prepares children for leadership positions ridiculous. Every child that roasts a hot dog will become a world class leader? Ridiculous. Now, if you want to say group activities will allow a couple kids out of the group to develop leadership skills that I would believe. But really, when my siblings gather in a pack of 5-6, unsupervised in my parents back yard I'd argue that they are developing more leadership skills then some Swiss tikes that have an adult supervisor just about any day.

Leave children zoning out solo on the TV, reading books, tinkering with a computer, or tweaking lawn mower and they are not developing leadership skills. Not everyone needs to be a leader though.

no but (1)

Bender Unit 22 (216955) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438767)

But when it was 14 i was using power/table drilling machings, angle grinders, arc welders etc.
Had much fun.
Around 16 I got one of my fingernails squeezed between a door and the door frame. And the pressure from blood etc under the nail was really painful since the nail didn't quite fell off. So i took a small drill and used the table drill to make a hole in the nail. worked really well. :)

City slickers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40438777)

What city slicker posted this rant? I took wood working and metal working in middle school. I participated in Boy Scouts and soccer. It seems like the commentator is more concerned about hot dogs than actual working and leadership. If you're concerned about this stuff, then get out of the inner city and do something.

Leadership? pfft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40438783)

Leadership is a 20th century concept. Raise your kids to be engaged, informed, and independent so they can participate effectively in decentralized groups.

Parenting wars on Slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40438819)

Parenting wars on Slashdot? The world is really changing for the worst.
Trolling headline seeking to scare parents on Slashdot? The world is really changing for the bad.
Exaggerating insignificant parental decisions on Slashdot? The world is really changing for the ugly.

"WE"? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40438823)

Why is it "WE" raising my child? If you want your child to be a leader, innovative or smart it's up to you to drive them that way. If you are comfortable with a participation award I feel sorry for you.

Unless (1)

hackula (2596247) | more than 2 years ago | (#40438857)

She suggests that such kids grow up and lead the ones who were coddled (e.g. US kids) during their early years.

...Assuming they do not fall in the fire or chop off an arm, leaving them a hideously deformed social pariah.

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