Nov 28

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Scene 1 (Yesterday):     

A student on a school bus misbehaves and causes grief to other students.  He is warned that he is at risk of losing the privilege of travelling on the bus.  He misbehaves twice more and has the right to travel on the bus removed.  The parents are outraged and threaten to take the boy to another school.

Scene 2 (Day before yesterday):

A week of trekking and water-based activities is designed for Year 10 students as part of their initiation into manhood.  The exercise is part reflection and part endurance – both of which are designed to enrich character.  It rains.  In fact, it rains a lot.  A parent emails the School concerned that their son has to walk in the rain.

Most parents recognise the dangers of over-protecting and cosseting.  However, there is a growing minority that are bubble-wrapping their children and causing within them the inability to deal with challenge or to cope with consequences.  A few of our boys also recognise the dangers.  I received this delight email from one of them the other day.


If it wasn’t for your Manhood Program, I would have done something at a party I wouldn’t have been proud of.

Ever since coming back (from the Trek]) on Friday, I am a completely changed person.

I would just like to say that you and your program have really made me think and change my ways.

Kind regards,”


The new childhood ‘is colourful, non-toxic, has no sharp edges and is non-allergenic. But it just sucks.

– Nigel Latta (2009), Confessions of a bad parent –

Permanent link to this article: http://www.timhawkes.com/overprotection/


  1. Karen Monaghan

    I attended The Kings College presentation night to watch the son of my good friends receive an award. I was amazed and impressed by the grounds and buildings, the beautiful sandstone steps, the pool and gymnasium, the list goes on it was beautiful and impressive. I walked into the hall where the presentations were to be made (indoors due to the threat of rain) and saw the enormous pipe organ, just magnificent. What I have to say is that the most impressive part of the night,for me, was the speech given by the headmaster. It was funny and interesting, an unusual combination in my experience of school presentation nights. Most of all, the words were inspiring and showed great depth of character. I would have been extremely proud to send my son to any school led by someone with this type of insight and social and envioronmental conscience. Another highlight, of course, was seeing a personal sports hero, Cadel Evans, a cyclist we have watched since his days as a mountain bike racer. He was a very unassuming person and I enjoyed the opportunity to see him talking with the headmaster. Thank you very much for having me at your school. I enjoyed the evening enormously.
    My own son has finished school at this time and has just completed his third year of medicine at UWS.

  2. Hi Karen, what a delight it was to receive your comments about Speech Day. I am glad you enjoyed the evening. My latest blog post attempts to capture something of what I said on the night. Fantastic to hear your son is doing well in his medical degree. Have a great Christmas!! Tim.

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