- Value only that which can be counted.
- Raise children under protective house arrest. Remove nature from their lives. Make sure they never get their hands muddy or their feet wet.
- Fight with your spouse or partner as much and as loudly as possible.
- Never fight with your spouse or partner.
- Whenever describing the future, make sure it looks like the post-apocalypse.
- Immerse children in virtual violence, to the exclusion of other forms of experience and expression.
- Immerse them in or threaten them with real or imagined violence at home or in the neighborhood.
- Take away their access to surrogate grandparents in the neighborhood, or to other positive adults.
- Plan every minute of their lives. Eliminate alone time.
- Politically sanitize education, so that nothing really interesting – like religion or race – is ever discussed.
- Make sure their teachers pay more attention to “standards” than to students. Shift the focus of school counselors exclusively to academics.
- Repair nothing. Show them by example that anything old or broken should be thrown away and replaced by something new.
- Cancel recess, drop field trips, cut extra-curricular activities, criminalize play. Devalue and defund art and music.
- Never encourage them to make up their own games.
- Make sure they always play by the rules.
- Punish the daydreamers.
- For hyperactivity, resort first to drugs. At home and at school, make sure they sit as much as possible. To accommodate digital technology, narrow the use of the senses.
- Create schools with no windows, playgrounds with no green, neighborhoods with no place to walk or play independently.
- Never allow them to grow anything; make sure they’re never responsible for another creature’s life.
- Tear down their tree houses and forts.
- Load the parents with too much debt and work. Do nothing about the widening gap between rich and poor.
- Repeat this mantra often: Our generation has failed; now it’s up to you.
- Tell them they can’t do anything right.
- Tell them that everything they do is wonderful.
- Set the example. Live in fear.
Richard Louv is Chairman Emeritus of the Children and Nature Network. He is the author of “The Nature Principle” and “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder,” which includes a Field Guide of 100 Actions for Families and Communities.
Top photo by Angela Lee
Is Happiness the Key? – Larry Rosen, M.D.
You Can Get Your Students Outside — and Still Meet Your State Standards – Michelle Aldenderfer-Griffin