Kids These Days

Are we raising a generation of nincompoops? -

This article via Google news caught my attention this morning. Even in my generation, somewhat on the cusp of the technology era, I often felt misplaced. I remember having a conversation about this years ago with my former business partner, during which he remarked that he remembered a time when very few households had the luxury of color television, and that we had progressed to a place where very few were now without a personal computer, today as I write this, few high school kids are without cellular phones - not back when I was in school! Though I grew up without a lot of money, my parents had purchased a computer for my sister and I before computers were really much to speak of. They were then not much more than word processing machines, with a single color display and a handful of programs. Instead of the basic solitaire games that are now on every desktop and laptop, we had hangman. I took a computer class in a summer program at my elementary school in 1986, today I couldn't tell you what they taught us in that class, but I was learning about computers as early as possible, thorough education was always my parents' goal for me.

Later, in high school and the years just after, I was heavily involved with my dance academy and with teaching the younger classes. I often had conversations with the directors and an older friend who was a school teacher about the students and their attitudes towards their education and life in general. It was amusing to have a "kids these days" conversation when I was not much older than the "kids" we were talking about. Still, the students had little drive to better themselves in our dance classes, which was consistent with my friend's experiences with her classes at school. They were unfocused, wanting to do everything; dance, sports, yearbook, drama, which resulted in their general lack of improvement at any one thing. Being a dancer, of course that was my focus, and one which, in order to be as good as I desired -and being a dancer - you want only to be the best, I had to be completely focused and dedicated. This carried through into everything I involved myself in, from hobbies to volunteer work to my career. Many of the other kids, even in my classes, didn't seem to care about bettering themselves, something I couldn't understand, how could they be satisfied with the half-assed effort they were putting forth, and in turn the half-assed performance that resulted? Was it simply lethargy? Did they think they were top-notch? Or did they care less about their performance and more about bragging rights? Looking back, I did want to do some of these other things when I was in school, and my mother didn't let me, for which I was at least disappointed at the time, but now see as a blessing. Perhaps some parents would argue that childhood is a time for kids to enjoy and do what they want before "real life" gets a hold of them, which I agree with to a point, but I believe this trend can scatter their focus and carry on into their later lives.

That is what struck me about the article, the next generations are clueless about so many things basic to so many of us who grew up without computer spell check, cell phones and cars with automatic everything (stick shift anyone?). I was brought up to live frugally, as much for earth preservation as for financial reasons, and this taught me to use my resources (mind over iPhone) to get things accomplished. This has made me a very good business woman, as I was able to minimize in order to optimize assets, and DIY rather than outsource. Even fancy programs for the computer that do this-or-that, I built myself with a general knowledge of simple programs. Rather than spend another $700 for software that builds websites, I open up notepad and speak a language full of symbols like this: {} < > / ::

There are exceptions to the rule, and I always find it so refreshing to uncover them, but I am so frustrated and disappointed to see these young people who have grown up to be so helpless in many situations (and cannot use the correct your or you're). I suppose they are a product of the current state of society, but what is the cost of continuing to follow this trend?


TerryC said…
Wow, awesome post.

Excellent observations. Especially the part about "bragging rights".

The "been there, done that" mentality and lack of true interest in what is truly meaningful in life is very frustrating to those of us who do care and strive to make the world a better place.

your so write ;-)

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