An interesting experiment is taking place in the U.K.: They call it the Nanny Intervention, appropriately, since an actual trained woman is sent to dysfunctional families or to parents incapable of educating their children properly. The goal is not to separate families as happens with the foster system, often with traumatic consequences. The lady, a mother herself, is charged with helping raise the kids while educating parents at the same time. I have seen my ample share of incompetent parents, from the very young ones (kids having kids), to the careless and totally inept. Depending on the situation, the nanny will stay for days, weeks, or even months. Of course, this is government intervention at its worst but it has the merit of leaving children with their original creators whenever possible.
- Do not pursue with the terrible scourge him who deserves a slight whip.
- Horace, Satires. I. 3. 119.
The recent news regarding the death of a high school football player due to severe physical punishment for arriving late to practice is added to a long list of students who either died or were injured under insensitive coaches. What constitutes punishment for a student, any student, whether athlete or not, is a topic that has not been studied sufficiently by science. As a comparison, I watched the training of an elite military unit which pushes candidates to the limit of their resistance. Sergeants and instructors were very careful to tell each man to drop out if they felt so weak that they might lose consciousness. These soldiers were not being punished; they were trying to qualify for a few spots in a grueling try-out. There was no shame is giving up; not everybody is able to transcend their physical limits. It is a lesson that some coaches apparently haven’t learned. Some of the injured kids were too proud to admit defeat or to tell their instructor that they couldn’t continue.