Why Can’t Kids Think Anymore?

If I want your opinion I’ll give it to you.

Steve QJ
5 min readAug 28, 2022
Photo by Karolina Grabowska

Nine years ago, Karl Greenfeld noticed a change in his 13-year-old daughter, Esmee.

On weekday evenings, between 8 pm and midnight, she began holing herself up in her bedroom. In the mornings, he found her red-eyed, trudging to school in a state of obvious exhaustion. And when Karl tried forcing her to go to bed earlier, she pretended to sleep for an hour or so before signs of wakefulness came from her room.

But what exactly was Esmee up to? Drugs? Online gambling? Dabbling in the occult? Worse. She was doing her homework.

Esmee was so overwhelmed by the workload at her fancy selective school in Manhattan that on a typical school night, she was averaging three to four hours of homework and only six and a half hours of sleep. It was taking everything she had to keep up.

And so, hoping to understand what his daughter was going through, Karl decided to try an experiment. Every day, after he finished work, they sat down together and (independently) completed whatever homework Esmee had been assigned. But here, Karl made the most disturbing discovery of all; she wasn’t learning anything:

…Esmee shows me that we have to memorize the conjugations of the future tense of regular and irregular verbs, and…



Steve QJ

Race. Politics. Culture. Sometimes other things. Almost always polite. Find more at https://steveqj.substack.com