Lonnae O’Neal’s column about her reservations regarding her 12 year old son’s desire to play football is an insightful character study into the recent phenomenon of the “helicopter parent” syndrome. What is it today with this overprotective impulse? Indeed, should all of our “little snowflakes” be covered metaphorically in bubble wrap and kept in the basement for safety until their eighteenth birthday or beyond? As boys naturally and rightly model their fathers, it is no surprise that a joy of playing football would be passed by osmosis from one generation to the next. Given the advancement of modern athletic equipment and training techniques as well as medical science, Ms. O’Neal should take great comfort and allow her child to follow his passion. While keeping the body safe is necessary, the development of character and the expression of youthful exuberance are even more important. The gridiron is her boy’s chosen playground where I have no doubt her crossed fingers and scrutinizing eyes will be on the sidelines.
Re: "Should I let my young son play football," Lonnae O'Neal's column, Washington Post