But these are not prepared to enter the kingdom, who say: I want a home for comfort’s sake, and where I may lead an easy life (by John Ballou Newbrough) 
Is our comfort culture affecting our students? Every ad on television pretends to protect us from harm, sometimes to the point of being frankly ridiculous: ‘The man is standing atop a mountain, ready to jump with his specially designed gliding suit. The caption underneath warns not to try this at home, professional stunt man only’.
The motto of the American culture could very well be ‘Why Take Chances?’ Every product in the supermarket has safety labels warning not to do this or that. Plastic bags have a warning that it might suffocate toddlers if misused. Do I, as a parent, really need them to tell me that? Am I so stupid or careless? Yes, every year during the summer, a stupidly criminal mother leaves her kid inside a boiling SUV as she was absent for just a minute. Is she the prototype of most mothers? Do we really need a cop to tell us not to do it? There is no law and no protection against idiocy.
Look around; you can see warnings everywhere, whether climbing on a bus, a plane, or just opening a revolving door. Do we even pay attention to these doomsday messages any more? No, of course not. Because these labels are mandated by federal law, arm of the all-intrusive government in our every day life. Plus, companies are weary of lawsuits, especially the frivolous ones.
Commercial products are designed to make our life easier; now, many Americans just hop on their cars to travel less than a mile, when they could just as easily have walked to get a gallon of milk. Kids are driven to school, even if they live close by. Healthy students in my high school take the rickety elevator to the second floor, apparently unaware of my incredulous stare.
Is this craze for comfort and excessive safety going too far, thus affecting the motivation to learn, to embark on a new adventure? Could we have a Lewis and Clark nowadays, risking their lives on a perilous trip across America? Are we ‘dumbing down’ our children by preventing them from exploring their environment?
Our greatest achievements in space exploration have come to a grinding halt, killed by lack of funds..apparently. But we need the likes of Neil Amstrong to inspire our youth. NASA was in the dreams of every child 30 years ago, boosting the numbers of potential scientists and adventurers. What do kids dream about today? Probably winning first place on American Idol, a lofty goal indeed, but it pales in comparison with stepping on Martian soil.
Quite a few of my students are on welfare, a stark reminder that we need government’s help for those less fortunate. But it shouldn’t be a goal for today’s kids, who dream of doing nothing while enjoying public largesse. And yet, some of them frankly admit that they’ll be perfectly happy being poor, as long as Uncle Sam takes care of them.
How does our modern culture impact our students, who often simply sit passively on their desks waiting for instructions instead of actively seeking the solution to their assignments?
Is it just me, an old-fashioned geezer who refuses to understand modern life? Or is there a real underlying problem in our society that affects our schools?