Whom do we blame for the end result, or is doing so immature?
One always risks playing to “old fart” (the whiner, not the wine) when reflecting back on what seemed better times in society. If old fart means learning something from the past, so be it.
While we marvel at teenagers and their ability to use technology to heartily dissect and digest computer programming and porn, we also know they can’t change the oil in the hybrids we bought them or fully fathom illicit drug use and 401ks.
But perhaps that was part of our plan…the myth of making a better life for our children by protecting, forestalling and insulating them from harmful realities. But are we helping them?
Think about distinguished youth from history. Young westward-ho settlers killing three rattlesnakes and a grizzly bear before breakfast and salt-of-the-earth farm families also raising teenaged brood carrying bales of hay, a plow and their own weight. Young and distinguished military officers, politicians, Underground Railroaders, resistance fighters, conquerors and heroes. Boys and girls who were men and women. They contributed more than they took, and perhaps we’re all in a better place because of that.
For many baby boomers, parents often gauged their success as parents by insisting on and facilitating the path to college. “Don’t work in the mill/mine/store like me. Make something of yourself!” They toiled so we didn’t have to. And despite years of backbreaking WORK for those of us now graduating towards old-farterdom, they often had it better than THEIR parents.
Yet better is often not better, and such insulation hardly makes for the hardy. We all want better for our children, but are we helping them? Since when was it acceptable for late teens and 20somethings to still act like children? Talk about whining…And don’t ask them to vote, name a member of Congress or think about being responsible for their actions. They’ll get to it…later.
It is not uncommon for a family to experience role reversals. As the parents age, forget, move more slowly and see less sharply, children assume increasingly responsible roles. They call the cable company when necessary and help with the checkbook. A little sad, but also nicely normal.
Yet it also doesn’t help that “adult” figureheads act like children. Politicians prouder of partisanship than the unity of their countries. A full-grown real estate developer calling a loud, classless "comedienne" names – and vise versa. A President who lies, back peddles, thinks he knows what’s good for everyone and doesn’t know the difference. Racial leaders hiding their own racism behind their own race. Gay men who use their power to hide who they are and punish their own. Ineffective and impotent Democrats who by being part of that political party helped define it as such. The famous for only being famous. Bah!
To drive through a city neighborhood and see unsupervised children playing in the streets at 11:00 at night or parents condoning by their silence racism, illiteracy, entitlement or disconnectedness with what they brought into the world can be considered a snapshot of our future.
Somewhere along the line 25 year olds still remain children and many of their parents would rather be their sibling than their superior. Someone explain to them the difference between youthfulness and immaturity.