[a guest post by my friend Lindsay Brown]
Dear 70’s/80’s child,
Enough! I get it; you were beaten, neglected, starved and lived without (TV, computers, electronics; etc.) as a child. Strangely enough you want to remind us daily on how well you turned out despite your horrific childhood – With phrases like “I was beaten and therefore I have respect” and “I was sent outside to go make my own fun”. I’m an 80’s child too, and yet I remember how much I hated hearing my parents complain about “the youth today! When we were young… ”.
Kids have different challenges. They have to go to school with the fear of being shot at; they can’t go outside and play because you are petrified they will be stolen. They can’t go out and find friends because we now live in a culture where play dates are necessary. They get ignored and shoved in front of the TV constantly because you are too busy with your phone/electronics, (That you hold onto as though you have to catch up on all the time you missed as a kid), and the levels of expectation at school are ridiculous. So your kids sit around waiting for you to help them organize, plan and figure it out. How about for just a second, we place ourselves in their shoes.
They learn new electronics with a speed that can rival any “techie” of our generation; we have kids who fight for what they believe in (just switch on the news). And kids who are still maintaining an ability to rise up in grades at school despite the hard lines of education. I know there are bad seeds, but there were bad seeds in our generation too, we are just too quick to forget. Kids learn from those around us, and I think we as adults (yes, we are the adults now) need to guide and direct those kids that are struggling. Not by force, but with love.
Laws that our generation have fought for, for good reason, such as spanking, starving and badgering children are in place because they are good. I know that if you logically thought about it you would agree. You however, seem to think that because you can’t spank your child that they can’t be disciplined or taught. On the contrary, children learn the best by model. If you start throwing a temper tantrum because your phone won’t start quick enough or if you disrespect that lady behind the counter because you aren’t getting your way… you got it, it’s coming back to haunt you. And then you are the one who gets mad when they speak to you in the same tone and manner as you graced others with when they don’t get their way. This very argument is a fine example of how people have been taught to perpetuate the problem.
How about WE… be the generation of change. The generation that stops complaining about our children and their lack of respect, discipline, and boredom, and be a generation that imparts important wisdom, love and discipline (in love) to our kids. I’m not talking about mommy cuddling, but I am talking about guiding and leading. Imagination in children has not changed since you and I were kids. How about we stop passing them off to anyone/anything else who can “entertain” them and teach them. I understand that life is hard and sometimes the TV seems like the only option for peace and quiet, but how about teaching them to learn how to help themselves. Teach them how to sew, so they can spend hours making dresses for their dolls. Teach them how to play solitaire so they can play on their own. And please stop complaining about all that you miss in the past and start enjoying the life you have created today, and maybe we can have kids that grow up happy to be a part of the future. I know there have been many before me who have said the same thing, but maybe we need to hear it again.