I have teenage boys. I am working hard to raise gentlemen and I am super stoked for their futures. So I’m just going to come out and say it, no holds barred: If you don’t have something nice to say about the younger generation, don’t say anything at all.
I am of the opinion that criticizing the younger generation is the single most boring thing you can do as you age. Grouching about their lack of life skills, manners, work ethic, respect, grit, or the ability to look up from their phones once in awhile and have a real conversation, is lame.
It’s lame because every single blessed generation before us has done the same thing. Tedious are the tales of woe and worry as the torch is passed from the old to the young. Did you know that the very first child labor laws were passed in 1916, literally a century ago? That’s when children were no longer forced to work in a factory by age 12, and the phase of life known as Teenage was born. It has evolved to what we know today, for better or worse. You don’t have to do much research at all into each and every decade in the past 100 years to find the specific fears an older generation had about the world going down the drain because of the character of “kids these days.”
We no longer throw our kids into the workforce before puberty. They’ve got an extra cushion of years in which to become adults. Definitely an improvement. Well done, adult-lawmakers-of-the-early-1900s.
Back to modern times. It’s graduation season and the media is brimming with stories about the future of this generation and what they might be missing in terms of life/job skills. The main fears seem to be centered around their relationship with technology. I share some of those fears. But not in a critical way. It’s just a thing we need to deal with and adjust to. Course correction, if needed. Technology has been thrust upon us and we need to adapt. Present day kids are being studied, like, for real and all scientifically because of the amount of time they spend on devices, screens and social media. I’ve even heard other parents talk about how getting a driver’s license isn’t the priority for teens that it once was because all their friends are already at their fingertips. They very rarely miss out on anything even if they don’t leave the house. Yikes.
We may not have had exactly the same challenges and temptations when we were their age, but we definitely had stuff. In my day, it was probably teen pregnancy, cocaine and subliminal messages from Ozzy Osbourne. Things that equally frustrated and worried our parents.
Scientists are starting to ask about today’s kids: When they grow up, will they know how to talk to real, live people? Will they have any emotional intelligence whatsoever? Will they be able to read facial expressions?
If the loving, responsible adults in their lives have anything to say about it, yes. They will thrive and engage with the world beyond our wildest dreams. The hope for every generation is that they will be better off than the one before. Might they be a tad entitled or even a little soft when it comes to a long, hard day of work? Perhaps. But are they going to be the most compassionate, well-traveled and emotionally healthy generation thus far? Probably.
One way we can ensure the vision of increased success, however you define it, for our younger generation is to stay open to technology while also promoting healthy boundaries. I so appreciate Kudoso’s positive approach to our younger generation and the skills they will need as they move forward in life. They need to be tech savvy while also managing their screen time. And they need to be able to handle real life. The two are not mutually exclusive in this day and age. I appreciate Kudoso’s approach to the whole family unit in working together to create a healthy relationship with the digital world.
Being critical of our younger generations...it’s just not helpful. We need to link arms with them, find the positive, common ground. They deserve our support, encouragement, wisdom and patient leadership. Fear not. The spirit of youth is a beautiful thing.
By Lorri Strand, Kudoso Kontributor