I hear it all the time. I have heard it since I was a kid. Our piano tuner said it to my husband and I just the other day. I have even, maybe once or twice, muttered it under my breath. “Kids today…” and then trailing off or adding some other further explanation/exasperation/lament/curse/diatribe.
- They just don’t get it, do they? Don’t they know how easy they have it? Cell phones, the internet, YouTube. The list goes on. It’s all fun, right??
- Can’t they see that piece of paper they dropped on the floor, the one that used to be part of a piece of Starburst candy? Why don’t they pick it up and throw it away?
- How hard is it (really) to replace the toilet paper roll when they use the last square?
- Cleaning the kitchen after dinner means doing the dishes, putting away the food, washing the pots AND wiping down the counters, too.
Kids, are no more or less, than they were 100 years ago. Their world is very, very different though – even much different than it was when we were kids – 20, 30 or 40 some odd years ago.
There is a lot more going on for them, school is mandatory, all the way up to age 16 and then, if they have any plans for a future – finishing not just high school, but also college and probably a graduate degree. Then, they have to compete with the educated and experienced 40, 50 and 60 year olds who are applying for the same jobs they want (or can do) when they first come out of college.
They learn algebra in 5th and 6th grade, and Singapore Math, which none of the adults (even sometimes the teachers) can help them understand. They are, and probably have been, using computers since they were toddlers, not just to play but to type their interpretation of the book they just read, doing research and getting the sum of all human knowledge on screen in 2.3 seconds flat. Then, they have to cull through, not just a book or two available in the library and the Encyclopedia Britannica as their main source, but clicking through pages to see if the search was even relevant…
They don’t just write a paragraph, in cursive and then go out for recess. Both of those things have been eliminated. There’s not much hope of going back…so they have to learn yoga, cross fit and play 3 different sports (after school and all weekend – say hello to the travel team!) so that they don’t grow into a 200+ pound adult with issues walking up stairs and an ulcer or chronic migraines by the time they are 30.
They have to answer us, immediately, or we fear the worst has happened to them. “Text me when you get there. Call me. Beep me… any way that you can reach me. I need to know you’re safe.”
If anything, as parents and as a society, we have created this little (can I call it stressful??) world for them.
They should probably be saying “Parents today just don’t get it, do they? Look at everything we have to know and we are still young, don’t they know we just want to go out and play? Get dirty. See our friends. Climb a tree. Be free to just be a kid?”
Kids today are probably not the problem. Sure, as parents we have to try to teach them everything that we can, but their world is not the same and we can’t expect them to be like we were. Just like our parents couldn’t expect the same of us. So, moms. Just go relax. Let them play…let them climb a tree. They’d probably have fun making a mess in the kitchen if you’d let them – so this Sunday, let them – don’t you just want to sleep in and have pancakes in bed? (Of course, you can still ask them to clean the kitchen, replace the roll of paper, throw away their candy wrappers and send you a happy little text every once in a while to let you know they’re ok. After all, it is Mother’s Day…they should think of their mom.)
~ Dawn aka Hat Girl