Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

A healthy mind in a healthy body

I grew up in a small village in the 1960s. I suppose that most villagers knew about each other’s reputations. We played outside all of the time, with no supervision. Nevertheless, my parents seemed aware of our activities. Back then, they didn’t seem to worry about our independence.

A 2023 WaPo article (below) suggests that children develop a mental health crisis due to less independence. In 2015, Professor Dr. Jan Derksen claimed that helicopter parenting caused an explosion of burnouts and/or depressions amongst people of c.18-25. Also see 2015 TV and my 2021 blog.

In my view, many more ingredients are responsible for the (unfortunate) mix that causes a burnout:

In my view, independence is only a minor issue. The many major issues have been listed above. Probably, urbanisation is the most important and also the most underappreciated issue of all those issues. Megacities with populations of 10+ million people appear to be our future.

The lack of nearby nature (eg, forest, lake, river, sea), the absence of silence, and our wilful substitution of solitude for loneliness may also be vital ingredients.

All the above ingredients, including our lack of independence, are negatively affecting human resilience.

orandum est ut sit mens sana in corpore sano; or: You should pray for a healthy mind in a healthy body.

A quote from Satire X, part of the satirical poems Satires, by the Roman poet Juvenal around the end of the first century AD (source)

A Well Respected Man (1965) by The Kinks
band, lyrics, video, Wiki-band, Wiki-song

And he’s oh, so good
And he’s oh, so fine
And he’s oh, so healthy
In his body and his mind
He’s a well respected man about town
Doing the best things so conservatively

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.

Children today have less independence. Is that fueling a mental health crisis? (WaPo)

By: Caitlin Gibson
Date: 24 October 2023

“For years, Peter Gray, a research professor of psychology and neuroscience at Boston College, has been closely following two disturbing trends: the dwindling of independent activity and play afforded to children over the past half-century, and the accelerating rise in mental health disorders and suicides among youth during that same period.

There are familiar factors that surface in discussions of the youth mental health crisis in America, with screen use and social media often topping the list of concerns. But Gray suspects a deeper underlying issue: The landscape of childhood has transformed in ways that are profoundly affecting the way children develop — by limiting their ability to play independently, to roam beyond the supervision of adults, to learn from peers, and to build resilience and confidence.

Gray presented this argument as the lead author of a commentary published in the September issue of the Journal of Pediatrics, co-written by David Lancy, an anthropologist and professor emeritus at Utah State University, and David Bjorklund, a professor of psychology at Florida Atlantic University.

The co-authors spoke with The Washington Post about their thesis and what it might mean for people — as a society and as individual parents within a community. The following is drawn from three separate interviews and is edited for length and clarity.


Washington Post: Children today have less independence. Is that fueling a mental health crisis?


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