Not So Powerless Children

When I initially saw this title, Cruelty of Children, I pictured something completely different. I honestly thought this episode of This American Life would have been about cruelty towards children; abuse, domestic violence, etc. But instead, in each story it was a child who had power and controlled the emotions (and with one story-the life) of another person.

The story about the powerless man stuck in the well, is one of the most unfortunate stores I’ve ever heard. It boggles me that these children would not help the man. It’s quite interesting because normally in our society children are the ones that are being dominated. They are being told what to do and how to act in school and at home. So, one would think even in this situation the children would listen to the man when he tells them to go ask for help. He gives them specific directions about what to do. And yet, they don’t go to get help. They bring him food, and talk to him. But they ultimately leave him without any real help.  The interpretation that I can possibly come up with is that the children are so used to being directed what to do. Every question has a pre-determined answer. However, at this time, they decided what to do.

The third story about the way children exclude others, and have a ranking and superiority system even in elementary school is something that really hurts to see. I honestly can not stand to see children be excluded, picked on, bullied, or made fun of. I think the rule the teacher declared was great. Teachers spend more than 8 hours a day on average with their student. Ironically thats about the same amount of time the child spends with their parent. As much as people argue that it is not the teachers duty to teach values and such. Social institutions, especially an educational institution, serves the purpose of teaching and preparing the students for life outside of the classroom. This includes character behavior and life skills.

On this This American Life episode, I was taken by surprise by the content of the episode, but none the less it was very interesting. This was my second episode and I have to say, these are more interesting than I thought it would be.  While I was listening to the first one, I thought I really would not be able to pay attention because I am a more visual learner and by only listening to audio, I didnt think I’d be able to concentrate as much. But with the enthusiasm and the interesting content, This American Life definitely grabs my attention and keeps me interested!


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