I came across this fantastic quote this morning. It was in my A.Word.A.Day e-mail.
One does not advance the swimming abilities of ducks by throwing the eggs in the water.
-Multatuli (pen name of Eduard Douwes Dekker), novelist (1820-1887)
I never heard of this guy, but now I have to look him up.
This expresses beautifully my quarrel with those who say that infants should sleep alone in their own rooms with the door shut so that they can learn independence. That they should be left to "cry it out" so that they can develop self-reliance. That every child should be steeped daily in an environment of toxic peers and authority figures (instead of, say, homeschooling for individuals better suited to that) so that they can learn resilience and other advanced social skills.
And a hundred other different ways that people push babies and children into overwhelming situations they aren't prepared to manage, on the theory that this itself will give them that preparation. That waiting until a child is strong and ready is no more than unhealthy, effetizing coddling.