Little Red Writing Good

Two weeks ago, I read in am New York, one of the city’s free daily papers, that some schools are banishing the use of red pens for correcting students’s work. As it turns out, red ink isn’t friendly enough for today’s super-sensitive kiddles, coddled by hyper-protective parents hellbent on keeping their sweet little angels’s psyches free from psychosis. Red, it turns out, is a meanie! A big bad wolf! Red is angry and mean and evil and JUST NOT NICE. Purple and green, the colors supplanting red, are deemed more appropriate. Purple and green are gentle and soothing. They don’t raise their voices. They stroke the silken hair off the innocent babes’s damp brows and whisper fruit juice-sweetened platitudes in their ears.
This whole notion makes me see red. Have we become such a nation of wishy-washy, namby-pamby crybabies that we’re offended by something as innocent as the color of the ink used to indicate errors? Or is it that little Tyler and Emma, raised by parents who consider every burp an aria and every crayon scribble a masterpiece — and whose every accomplishment, no matter how miniscule or insignificant, is given a standing ovation — are not just unprepared for indicia of failure but are also not even allowed to fail at all?
In a world where we hear, “There are no losers! Everyone’s a winner!” and witness actors lying to themselves and the public as they intone, “It’s an honor just to be nominated”, I suppose it’s a crime to come right out and say, “Hey, guess what? You FAILED.” This lack of acknowledgment of the existence of failure at all, is, in itself, a failure of the highest grade. Our Connors and Hannahs, our Jacobs and Madisons, are being done a great disservice when they’re coddled and hugged and kissed and snuggled in every way imaginable. I suppose that failure is a big fat NO, which is a word you just don’t hear parents saying to their kids anymore.
It’s time to say NO to the coddling, to the wishy-washy babification. A big, bold, no holds barred, unequivocal NO, as red as blood and just as important.