Friday, May 14, 2010

Have We (America, Western Europe, Scandinavia) Lost the Ability to Cope with Adversity. Things not going our way?

Helsingborg Father and Son

What sparked this train of thought was an incident in Morgan Hill, California at "Live Oak High School" and a Swedish TV discussion show talking about the welfare system with an Irish news reporter.

Morgan Hill, California has a high population of Mexican Americans.  There are many versions of what happened.  Cinco de Mayo (Fifth of May) is a Mexican Holiday celebrating the defeat of the French occupation in Mexico.  This is a big festivity for the Mexicans.  Apparently last year the school had problems as Mexican flag and American flag waving (on T-shirts) caused tensions between the Mexican-Americans and White Americans (for lack of a better description).  This year the school banned the American flag from being worn by students in order to avoid problems.  What a mistake!

What are we teaching our children in school?  I may not have all the facts correct but it doesn't affect the underlying problem as I see it.  What I think the school officials should have said to the students and the parents before the event is that we all have a right to be here and we all have a right to our opinions.  What we will not accept is violence and bullying.  Those that partake in these actions will be sent home.

The point is that our children need to learn that life is hard at times and that things don't always go our way.    We don't avoid Problems.  We face them.  People will not always like us, not always agree with us, etc.  Our children need to learn that how we overcome this adversity is what will determine the type of people they will become.  Life will always throw us curves.  It is learning to deal with this adversity that will keep them going and make them self sufficient.  Too often institutions, parents, governments, try to keep us all safe by trying to protect us from whatever.  When this only makes us weaker.  Learning to deal/cope with all that life comes our way is essential to our well being.

The Irish news reporter was trying to understand how Sweden is coping with the high percentage of people on sick leave and unemployment due to disability.  Many people in sweden are on sick leave because of high stress, not being able to cope with the pressures of work for one reason or another.  School children taken out of school because of being bullied or picked on, or one reason or another.  The government tries to take care of the people with laws and programs and protect them from harm.  Again, the people, the children need to cope with the problems life throws at them.

The Swedish political system of caring for its people is great, but sometime goes to far to where the people can't cope with problems or its to easy to let the government take care of them.  Here in Sweden many Swedes are non-confrontational.  I think people need to confront their problems.  In America the "Pull yourself up by you're bootstraps" often goes to far to where the people are left to suffer.

What to do?  Do the best you can to raise your family so that they can cope with problems life sends them their way.  And to get involved in their community to make a difference in what little way they can.

There is no one system that is perfect.  And one cannot be inflexible.  All systems, rules have exceptions. We must learn to be very open minded and teach our children the same.  This is global.  This leads to understanding.  We need more understanding in this world.

OK now I am getting to preachy.  Enough said.


  1. Good Blog! And it's not "preachy" either. One thing that you said may be a clue to why what you're complaining about is happening, what with governments and institutions trying to "protect us from ourselves" — you say "this only makes us weaker." Isn't that the best way to control someone?

  2. Thanks Tom. Yes it is a good way to control someone along with big news media used by the powers that be and clever advertising designed to mislead people.