Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The De-generation gap.

Here is a brief recap of recent American history as it pertains to the subject of our discussion tonight.
The World War Two generation raised the Baby Boom generation. The Baby Boomers raised the Me generation, who then raised Generation X. After the Gen-X'ers came Generation Y (or Generation Why??), and the latest group of kids, The Nothing Generation.(More on this in a future blog. This is a great launching pad for a lot of subjects that I like to complain about. Stay tuned...)
Each generation has a more pronounced sense of entitlement than the one which preceded them, and each generation has, in large part, been less productive than the last.
I totally understand how we got here. Everyone wants their kids to have things easier than they had it, and everyone works very hard to that end. The ultimate result is that the kids from each generation get a little bit softer, a little bit fatter, a little bit slower, a little more helpless.
The group of kids my wife teaches, for the most part, dont want to exert any effort for any reason. If it isn't handed to them, they don't want it. Doesn't matter what it is. They toss aside without a backward glance the education that previous generations tried so hard to make available to them. They don't believe that they have to do anything that they don't want to do. They don't respect themselves, the police, teachers, parents, other people's property, other people' personal space, or anything else. There is the occasional kid who stands out from the rest,but those are rare.
The only things that seem to matter to them is entertainment, and sex. Which is funny, because the entertainment that they like is for the most part ridiculous, and they know about as much about sex as a suicide bomber knows about explosives.(Just enough to blow themselves up.)
I want to tell them that they need to get a grip. I wish that I could explain to them that the reason that I have to work sixty-five hours a week in the Florida heat is that when I was their age, I DIDN'T GET IT. I goofed off, didn't pay attention, and I blew it. So now I pay the price. I firmly believe I could have been a rocket surgeon if I had done my best when it counted.
Don't get me wrong, I make decent money. When you look at my paycheck, it would probably seem like an awful lot of money to a high school kid, but when I think about what I have to do every day to get it, I wish I had done things differently.
The reason that they are the way they are is that they have had it too easy. My parents had chores. I had television. The generation today has video games. They don't have time to help with the dishes, they have to beat level 60 on the PS2 version of "Heaven v/s Hell." Good luck getting a 14 year old today to milk a cow. No one ever told them that milk even comes out of a cow. If they saw that happen, they would never touch a glass of milk again.
So they have no character. No work ethic. No sense of responsibility.They are the janitors, fast food workers, convenience store clerks and laborers of the future.(No offense to the people in these fine professions intended.)
Their problems will be further intensified by the fact that our wise and forward-looking government is about to grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants who will gladly do these jobs for a fraction of the money the jobs pay now, and THEY WANT to work.
The cold, hard fact is that parents, if they really want their kids to have things easier, are going to have to start letting their kids experience a little bit of adversity. Make them work up a sweat occasionally. Make them do without things sometimes, so that they learn when they are young how to set priorities, they learn how to do things for themselves.
We somehow have to figure out how to raise some responsible adults, or we will all be in trouble.


alaletos said...

I thank God every day for my mother.The best thing she ever said to me was "no". She may not be mother teresa , but she's pretty close. It's b/c pf her prayers and the response "no" that I turned out the way I did.(no sarcastic remarks please). I work on the full time staff on a church in M.D. and i see alot of messed up kids. ex. a boy 17 yrs. old quit school and plays ps2 all stinkin day. Thats all-His dad is in Ga prison . and his mom works 70some hr weeks just to raise 3 kids. Parents need to step up and say get a job and help pay for my food, or get your butt back to school. Or else we'll just keep raising the fattest,laziest,most effieceint video gamers the world has ever scene!!

Daffy76 said...

As the author's sister, I can say I remember very well when "he just didn't get it." This was very frustrating to my father especially, who was so impressed with his children and their potential. He expected alot from us and still does. I understand where he is coming from on that issue alot now that I have children myself. It would be heartbreaking to see either one of my daughters not live up to their potential. Especially if I there is anything I can do to avoid that.

Parents have forgotten what the purpose is in raising kids. So many of my peers believe that the object is to keep your children happy. Happiness has nothing to do with raising a successful adult. In fact, it is far more important that your child be taught that happiness is journey. It's something you work for and look forward to and when you get there, you can look back with a sense of accomplishment.

Making sure your children become successful adults IS NOT EASY. You have to say no. Alot. I had a friend who once told me that her 2 year old had a t.v. in her room because all of her friends had them. That's messed up. No 2 year old needs a t.v. No 2 year old needs to be worried about what her friends have. But that's the reality. Children who do come from homes where something is expected of them go to school every day with those who just don't care.

It's going to be a hard road for any child these days. The best thing we can do is teach our children that the world is not about them. That if they want to be happy they will have to work for it. And pray. Alot.

carrier said...

Good you really believe that each decending generation is so bad off? If that were truly so I think we would have failed as a race long ago. As youngsters most of us were directionless true, but with age came understanding. Generalizing entire generations is a risky proposition. Like those of us before them, I'm sure the children of today will be just fine with a little guidance and a whole lot of patience. And I hope they learn to spell better than justlikehim!

tugboatcapn said...

Carrier1,in response to your comment:
If this cycle had started at the beginning of the human race,we would have failed long ago.However,it did not.It is only recently that such a large number of people have had the luxury to be able to spoil their children,and the cycle has increased exponentially over about the last 60 to 70 years.
The seeds of this calamity were sewn on the heels of the great depression,and bloomed during the era of FDR with the new deal.This was a turning point in american history which was the reason that I started my history lesson in the beginning of this post with the WWII generation.
I offered my observations to serve as a topic of thought,a wake up call more or less.These observations were based on multiple specific examples of people that I deal with in my everyday life.I've seen a trend developing with the new hires where i work,that if the new guy is under about 25 years old,You can't get him to do anything.They last about a week,then they leave and don't come back,and the whole time they worked there,they complained about not making any money.
As i said,there are a few who stand out,but they are few and far between.
It is a sense of entitlement,a mindset that from my observations seems to run throughout entire generations,getting progressively worse as you deal with younger people.
I appreciate your thoughts and your feedback.I hope this will serve to clarify my point of view.
Thanks! TBC

tugboatcapn said...

One other thing...
justlikehim,I wish to offer you a sincere apology for the attack that you recieved at the hands of carrier1.
I intended this blog to be a tool for the free exchange of ideas and opinions,not a forum for people to point out the percieved shortcomings of the other readers.
Let's all play nice,now!!

carrier said...

I understand that you meant to target a specific time frame. But each successive generation from the beginning of human existence has suffered the same accusation from the generation before. Whether it was "these kids today with their new-fangled wheel" or their "infernal video games", each generation before has had doubts about the next generations ability to succeed. I believe this phenomenon has been around far longer than the sixty years you claim. Every generation...and granted some may take a little longer than others...eventually proves it's own worth.

I hate what if's, but what if WWII had never occured? What if that next generation would not have had cause to rise up and burden the responsibility that they did? Would the adults of the depression era derided that generation due to a lack of understanding hardship? My guess is that they probably would have.

I appreciate your point trucker, but I think we should save our lack of faith in youth to that final generation that truly and finally fails...thus dooming the human race.

And is it really asking so much for someone to use a spell checking device...or at the very least a dictionary?

For the record trucker I'm 43, four years older than yourself...whipper snapper. Great topic! Carrier1

carrier said...

One more thing trucker. My father-in-law is a long haul trucker, my hat is off to all you guys and gals out there moving stuff for the rest of us.

Daffy76 said...

I think you underestimate just how easy we have it in our modern society. You also fail to take into account the failures of past societies due to hedonism. Take Rome for example.

Children today ARE being raised to live the easy life. Whether or not World War II happened does not make a difference to this generation. WWII was at least two whole generations ago anyway. We've not had anything akin to it since. So the generations since then, have had it easier and easier.

Wake up and smell the coffee, Carrier1. If people like Trucker don't start pointing out problems like this, we will fall. I am part of the generation he is talking about and I see potential for this everyday.

We're not trying to be doomsayers.
We want the problem recognized and solved.

Oh, and by the way, I think you contradict your entire point by pointing out the flaws in justlikehim's spelling.

Mark said...

You have your finger on the pulse of the future. I am going to put a link to your site on my blog.

Toad734 said...

My generation works more hours and we have a higher GNP that ever before.