Suicide is not an event that is reserved to one setting, or one set of circumstances. The issues going on at Penn State University are echoes of a larger issue that can be observed throughout America. Statistics have shown that among those living in Alaska, it is young Native men who are the most likely to commit acts of suicide. These are students who have yet to reach far beyond High-School, many of which never had a chance to go to a University in the first place. It is my belief that the issue of suicide can find its roots in society, community, and family.
One of the comments to the Penn State article, written by a man by the name of Clyde Wynant, brought to light the position of the parent in the equation. I think that Clyde was on to something when he stated that “this form of hyper attuned parenting seems to me to be a subtle form of child abuse’ (Wynant). It isn’t just the parents who are hyper-attuning these children. We live in a culture of ridiculous close mindedness where people feel like they are being attacked when their ways of thought are challenged in the slightest way. Students at Universities in America are, for the most part, no longer encouraged to have their beliefs challenged. They are being conditioned to feel threatened by the very notion that their beliefs can change. Almost every day now I can go online and read an article about how someone felt threatened by someone else simply because that other person had a difference of opinion and exercised their free speech in stating their different opinion. For a child who has been sheltered from the world up until University, being bombarded with the world views of thousands of students can be quite a shock. The culture shock of the University setting alone can throw a student out of balance for years, not to mention the expectations set upon these students when they arrive at the University.
The other key issue in the article was the problem of children who never experience failure. Failure is one of the most important experiences a human can have. Through failure, people learn about their strengths and weaknesses. If a student, such as the one described in the article, is only ever conditioned to success, then they are being set up for failure at the University setting. It seems as though the student in the article was brought up to fear failure and always expect success in everything. This seems like terrible parenting in my opinion. I don’t think that the University is to fault when a student arrives on campus with emotional and psychological problems resulting in a coddled upbringing. I don’t necessarily fault the parents entirely for this situation either, as our society has become one of coddling in general. If we are to truly combat this issue, we need to take a look at the social stigmas that surround us on a daily basis and push back against the notion that perfection is all that matters.