When I started teaching full time at the university level last fall, I was subjected to three “training” days before the semester began. These days included webinars and other sessions directed toward particular things like technology in the classroom or plagiarism.
But the lecture that started it out was “Kids These Days!”
No, that wasn’t the title. But it might as well have been. Complete with a song and dance number from the musical Bye, Bye Birdie.
Since that “Kids these days” lecture, I’ve had to listen to multiple older persons—most notably the former hippies from the sixties—lament what is wrong with everyone born after 1980.
And frankly, I’m [expletive deleted] tired of it.
As a “Millenial,” I’ve been told that members of my generation:
· are narcissistic and obsessed only with what we can put on our Facebook pages or otherwise use to draw attention to ourselves
· are not hard workers, and expect things to come easily to us in our work lives
· have a sense of entitlement and feel we should have a trophy or reward for every accomplishment or attempt at an accomplishment
· are so involved in technological toys that we have little concern or understanding of “the real world”
I listened to this in the lecture, and sank lower in my seat…I started to feel badly that I used my phone to text instead of call, thinking it was quicker and less likely to interrupt someone else’s important tasks. Silly me, there I go thinking again. Which, apparently, is one of the skills that my generation lacks.
Says the generation who spent their 20’s on acid.
I recently attended a literary lecture with a famous author, who commented on how the youth of America were not attuned to the world around them. I looked around at the nodding, greying heads, and noticed that they were doing the following activities:
· knitting and cross stitch
· Sudoku and crossword puzzles
· Reading magazines/newspapers
And finally, the icing on the hypocritical cake:
· PLAYING ON THEIR COMPUTERS, IPADS, AND SMARTPHONES
*Ring, ring.* “Hello, pot. This is kettle. You’re black.”
The very same people Tom Wolfe described as “The Me Generation” in the 1970s are surprised when they see similar traits appear in their children.
For the older generation who believes everything they read on the internet to be truth, let me fill you in on what you appear to be missing, in reference to my points above:
· Everyone is narcissistic. That’s human nature. Facebook provides an outlet for that. But it also provides a way to keep in touch (or get back in touch) with friends and colleagues of old, many of whom are important to our personal and business lives.
When I announce to Facebook that I’ve learned to sail, I’m only partly doing it to toot my own horn. I’m also doing it because I once said I’d do it, and maybe my completing that long-ago planned task will encourage one of my long-ago friends to do the same. Their posts about the goings-on of their lives certainly do that for me.
· I don’t know who your sample pool is for the lazy of my generation, but I’m going to take a guess that they learned that from their parents. There are lazy people in every generation. My family put me to work in the family business at the age of 6, and people scoffed at them, telling them we were subjected to child labor and how would we ever just be children?
Newsflash: children are in training for adulthood. And by working as a child, I learned that working as an adult was not only necessary, but fulfilling. As I’ve said in previous posts about other aspects of my upbringing: Thanks, Mom. Thanks, Dad. Thanks, Mamaw and Daddad. Thanks, Mommom and Poppop.
· When I was a kid, I got trophies for “participation.” It was understood that these were trophies that could have as easily been labeled “loser who sucks at this.” Kids know.
But if you really see it as a problem, STOP GIVING OUT SO [EXPLETIVE DELETED] MANY.
Rewards for accomplishments are like Pavlov’s dog. Ring the bell, and we think it’s dinnertime.
· I always giggle when people look at technology and are afraid of it. I’m not incapable of shutting off, and regularly do so. Not everyone in my generation does this, but not everyone in my generation sings opera, either.
As to our involvement in technology keeping us from the real world, I’ve got another newsflash: the world is becoming digital. And stopping that will be like my grandchildren trying to stop their robot overlords from enslaving them.