This week has been incredibly grueling, and it’s not even over yet. fosteronfilm has had to drive me home twice in three days*, and Hobkin was feeling under the weather on Tuesday (he seems fine now; I think he’s stressed because I’ve been away from home so much).
Bad week, no cookie. Need. Weekend.
One of the unlooked-for silver linings of my laptop being in the shop is that I’ve been catching up on my reading on the train. On the nonfiction front, I’m reading Robert Epstein’s The Case Against Adolescence, which expounds upon a subject I’ve been soapboxing in one way or another since I was 13, which is how the infantilization of young adults and the artificial extension of childhood, as well as people’s preoccupation with ensuring that their children are insulated from anything and everything that has even an iota of hazard in the world, is incredibly dysfunctional for both young people and society as a whole.
A fascinating read, although not particularly revolutionary for me, as I already hold to the belief that young adults are much more capable than most people give them credit for. But Epstein puts it together articulately and presents some historical pretext as well as research findings and ethnographic studies that I wasn’t aware of previously. (For more information about Epstein and his book, check out this Psychology Today article.)
As an amusing cosmic synchronicity, fosteronfilm mentioned that he’d heard my advisor in graduate school, Dr. Laura Berk, on NPR the other day but couldn’t remember what the subject matter was. I continue to hold Dr. Berk in the highest of regard and esteem (I’m also co-author with her on a textbook resource on Child Development—my first taste of that oh-so-addictive “name in print” goodness). So I went out to the NPR website and discovered this article, “The Bryant Park Project,” focusing on play and child development, particularly with regard to executive function—of which a central aspect is the ability to self-regulate**. And I thought it most telling that there’s been a marked decrease in childrens’ ability to self-regulate in the last six decades or so. The fanaticism to safeguard children from the world is retarding the natural rate of maturity and creating increasingly incapable young people.
Gripping stuff (to me, at least), even if it paints a rather bleak prognosis for the state of personal accountability, sound judgment, and capability in general for present and future generations.
* We’ve agreed that if I have to stay at work past 9PM that he’ll come get me rather than me taking the train home.
**Executive function and self-regulation is a good predictor of future achievement and well-being. From the article: “Poor executive function is associated with high dropout rates, drug use and crime. In fact, good executive function is a better predictor of success in school than a child’s IQ. Children who are able to manage their feelings and pay attention are better able to learn. As executive function researcher Laura Berk explains, ‘Self-regulation predicts effective development in virtually every domain.'”
Got a(nother) note from a writer asking me whether a review had been published of his collection yet. Not an unusual occurrence, save that this is the third or so such note I’ve gotten from him. And also that he continues to address me as “Dear Editor.” It’s not hard to find my name on The Fix‘s website. Really, it’s not. But it is hard for me to feel disposed to respond to someone who doesn’t take the trouble to address me by name. Maybe I should reply “Dear Writer”…
Yeah, yeah. I’m feeling snarky. Blah. It’s been a taxing couple weeks.
• 76-day SALE of “Megumi’s Fire” to the Fantasist Enterprises Paper Blossoms, Sharpened Steel anthology. Woot! I lost count of how many people sent me a heads up when these GLs went up, but thankyouthankyou to each of y’all!