Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A New Generation

My parents are from the “Baby Boomer” generation, I am a Gen X-er, but what should we call today’s generation? The “Apple Generation?” The reason I say Apple is because of the “I” products…I-phones, I-pads, and I-pods. In reality they should be Generation “I.”
The Apple products theory is an interesting take, but the real reason is due to this generation’s thinking. They only think about them and never do anything wrong. It is always someone else who is wrong and accountability is thrown out the window.
“I couldn’t do well on the test because Suzie had a hair out of place” or “Johnnie looked at me wrong and I lost all motivation” are some of the standard answers that you hear from today’s generation. The inner drive isn’t there to push one’s self to do better.  Instead they are given a free pass for many different reasons, leading to mediocrity being the norm.
The breakdown of home life is one contributing factor. Family structure is being lost because of divorce or both parents having to work to make ends meet. The parent or parents are tired from working all day and just give in to “Little Johnnie” so that they don’t have to deal with the problem. There are other factors in there, but that reason is a major contributor to the attitude of tomorrow’s leaders.
Government has also played a major role in today’s generation by mandating even participation and that there are no longer to be winners or losers. Heaven forbid if “Little Johnnie” should learn one of life’s lessons early on…LIFE IS NOT FAIR! The winners in life take responsibility and accountability by the horns and wrestle it to the ground.
Added to the government’s negative role is the role that teachers and administrators play in the development of these young adults. Today’s kids do not have good manners. I shouldn’t generalize, but the sad reality is only about 10% of the kids show respect to teachers, school administrators, coaches, and adults in general.
These kids do not say “Mister Smith” or “Coach Smith”; they just blurt out the person’s first name or just their last name. Why aren’t teachers holding these kids accountable? Have they given up the fight as well or do they just don’t care anymore? Again, this is a generalization because there are teachers that demand accountability and respect from their students, but they are becoming an endangered species.
Even commercials play on the “I” generation theme. The money shark, J.G. Wentworth does a great job by having everyday people shout out “It’s MY money and I need it now!” Sure it’s your money, but what happened to planning for the future? It has been thrown out the proverbial window as well.
If today’s generation of young adults are not learning some of life’s greatest and simplest lessons, what type of foundation will they be laying for their own kids in the future? “Oh, go ahead and take the car, just don’t spill any alcohol on the school gym today!” Is this where we are headed?
Last week was my oldest son’s birthday and we had an away basketball game. I am an assistant coach and thought that it would be nice to have pizza and soft drinks after the game for all of the players. Now food for 20+ hungry boys is not cheap, but I felt the memories would be worth more. I couldn’t have been more right.
Out of those 20+ kids, only two (excluding my son) said thank you. Yes that is right, TWO! That is less than 10 percent. I did have one player come up to me the next day and say thank you and I greatly appreciated that. I don’t get paid for my time and I am trying to make sure that every player grows not only as a player, but more importantly as a person. But how do address this?
I am 99 percent of the time a very optimistic, a glass ¾ full type of person. However, I am very concerned with the direction this generation is taking. Not only that, but the lack of accountability the adults in the lives of these kids are taking makes me shudder in disgust, especially when majority of the adult time these kids get is in the school system.
On the news today is a story about a suburban Philadelphia teacher that is in trouble for writing a blog. On USA Today Deadline they write “In one post, she called her students "rude, lazy, disengaged whiners." She drew up a list of canned comments she thought teachers should be able to pick from when writing report cards, such as "rat-like," "dresses like a streetwalker," "frightfully dim" and "whiny, simpering grade-grubber with an unrealistically high perception of own ability level."
Now I don’t know anything about this teacher other than the stories breaking out on all major networks and on the internet. I don’t know if she is crazy, a good teacher, or what, but I am respecting the heck out her because of her own accountability and her ability to call spades, spades!
In her blog she wrote While I never in a million years would have guessed that this many people would ever see my words, and I didn't even intend them to, I stand by what I wrote and think it's good that people are aware now. There are serious problems with our education system today--with the way that schools and school districts and students and parents take teachers who enter the education field full of life and hope and a desire to change the world and positively impact kids, and beat the life out of them and villainize them and blame them for everything--and those need to be brought to light. If this 'scandal' opens the door for that conversation, so be it.”
I agree that there are problems in education, but I believe the problem isn’t how teachers are taken it is what they deliver and expect from the students. Teachers, parents, and community members are being taken hostage by this generation and are settling for any little sign of respect, accountability, or responsibility. They now praise mediocrity instead of sticking to their guns and challenging each student to be successful.
Well, I do believe that this is the “I” generation. There are good kids, but I am afraid of what the future will be like for the next generation. If we are going to praise and except mediocrity as the new level of excellence, then what will that level be 10 to 20 years from now? “I” just wish “I” could do something more, but “I” will have to be satisfied with my own family and writing this article.

1 comment:

  1. I seem to remember a discourse between God and Satan where Satan used the "I" word extensively and revealed his destructive pride that we've been struggling with ever since. Just who are our children patterning themselves after, and what example are we setting for them?