This weekend I was enjoying the company of a friend who teaches guitar. At one point he mentioned the necessity of “self-discipline” and that if a student lacks this all of his teaching was worthless.
This sticks in my mind because it echoes some conclusions I had reached about another body of students. Said students are lazy, self-indulgent, self-centred, sloppy, unfocused, negligent, selfish… basically, think of a negative character trait and you will find it well represented in this group. A single individual like this is tiresome, you can imagine what forty plus in a group are like!
Colleagues and myself have wondered why students have been so bad in recent years. An idea occurred to me the other day. The current generation had been born after corporal punishment had become illegal. (At this point I fully expect certain readers to have thrown their hands in the air and wailed that I am advocating flogging babies with a cat-o-nine tails. Respectfully I say get over yourselves, this is not about your pet cause. Try to understand what I am saying.)
The current generation are used to getting their own way. The only sanctions they have ever known is being made to sit on the “naughty step” or being told they cannot go to Macdonalds. In the latter instance they probably just screamed their heads off until their parents gave in. Spoilt, selfish children become spoilt, selfish adults.
A friend of mine often passes on articles about narcissistic personalities. I don’t know if a childhood environment can create such personalities but certainly it could nurture and encourage such traits where they already exist. The current culture in this institution undoubtedly encourages the selfish and self-centred further.
This blog is about self-defence and survival. A generation with a high proportion of narcissistic individuals is relevant to both. To groups such as these students each one thinks they are the only person that matters. They are the people who cannot be bothered to dispose of dangerous items safely. The motorists that use their phones while driving. They are the cyclists that run the lights and injure pedestrians (My girlfriend's aunt was killed by just such a cyclist). The only rationale they need is “I want to”. These people are the reason you need to learn to protect yourself.