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MCCULLOUGH: Is younger generation lost or abandoned?

Nate McCullough

Nate McCullough

I was checking Twitter trends the other day, and I came across one that just made me feel bad for the younger folks.

The hashtag was #weliveinagenerationwhere and then people were finishing the sentence.

Being past the age of 40, I thought reading a few tweets would help me understand the teenager and the wannabe teenager that live in my house. But it just made me sad.

Here are a few choice ones:

-- If you're not attractive, then you're not important.

-- Battery life lasts longer than relationships.

-- Losing your phone is more dramatic than losing your virginity.

-- Kids don't pray before they eat, they take out their phone and take a picture for Instagram.

-- Young people take the seat at trains, and let old people stand up.

-- People think its kwl 2 tlk lyk dis

-- Instead of ringing their door bell saying we're here, we text them instead.

-- Being 16 and pregnant is more acceptable than wearing crocs.

-- Cussing and drinking and doing drugs is cool, God is forgotten, and you can rarely trust anyone.

-- Marriage isn't about Love, Respect, Friendship and Faith, it's about the baby that was born.

-- Phones get thinner and smarter, and people get fatter and dumber.

I read a couple hundred of these tweets, and the same words rose in my head over and over. Shallowness. Promiscuity. Dependence. Disrespect. Laziness. Hopelessness.

There are thousands of these comments, all echoing the same themes, almost all negative, but they are not from older folks criticizing the youth. These are from the young people themselves.

What's more, while a few were bragging or cracking jokes, the majority seemed to understand the sadness, the wrongness of it. They recognized the problem, but few offered any answers.

I'm convinced that every generation since the dawn of man has thought the one that came after it would sound the death knell for humanity. But I've never believed it might actually be true until I saw it spelled out so starkly in 140-character bursts. OK, that's a bit over the top. This generation has plenty of good kids. But, boy, it seems like a lot of them feel like they're running off the rails.

Among all those observations, do you know what was barely mentioned at all? Parents.

I'm also convinced that every younger generation at some point thinks the one that came before it is made up of the stupidest people on Earth, put here soley to inconvenience, hassle and embarrass -- until they realize one day that parents do that stuff to give them a shot at having better lives. But until that realization comes, one of the great pasttimes -- at least the way I remember it from my days as a kid -- is complaining about it.

But not these kids. They didn't mention mom and dad at all. No "Mom is always on my back," or "Dad makes me work too much on weekends," or "I can't believe they complain so much about my clothes." Nothing. I found that disconcerting. And it made me wonder why.

Why are mom and dad afterthoughts? Do these kids have more pressing problems?

Or is it because mom and dad's generation is conspicuosly absent from their kids' lives, to the point that they're not worth talking about?

I don't know the answer. But it's worth discussing, and in more than 140-character tweets.

Email Nate McCullough at nate.mccullough@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Fridays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/natemccullough.

Comments

kevin 1 year, 6 months ago

The parents concerned will know who my comments apply to and not to all kids. I think most of your readers would agree that the problem with kids today is they have to have everything now and at any price. There is no waiting to get anything and the parents keep funding these desires at the expense of the kids. Kids listen, but do not hear. They read, but cannot write. They calculate, but without their brains. Kids do seem to learn lightning fast when it comes to new "toys," but can't seem to ever learn in a classroom. Sports takes away from study time. There is no time for religion. Even in Church, I see kids playing with digital devices. No God, no respect. Parents, do you teach your kids anything at all about right or wrong? Well, they both have to work so there is no time to sit down as a family to discuss things. There are very few kids today that use common sense, something that is inherited! It is no wonder why the Liberals are going after our young people? They can't think for themselves. They are an easy target to lead like sheep.

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NorcrossDot 1 year, 6 months ago

Kudos Kevin. Couldn't have said it better.

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BuzzG 1 year, 6 months ago

Well said, Kevin.
Too many parents want to be their children's best friends. Sometimes it works out. But not if they end up defaulting on discipline.

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notblind 1 year, 6 months ago

I recently read "The Dumbest Generation" by Mark Bauerlien . Pretty interesting reading. There is lots of blame to go around. Government immigration enforcement policy of the past few decades has glutted the labor pool for part time jobs that huge numbers of teenagers used to do. Now most never work until they get out of high school or college and even then many if not most find it hard to get their career on track. Partly this is because of excess competition for jobs and partly it's because the education system in this country is completely broken resulting in graduates without the basic skills needed to do the work .................. The education system has become more of a brainwashing system staffed predominately by liberal teachers and professors. We spend huge amounts of money on classroom technology that does the opposite of what is claimed it does. It replaces the absorption of knowledge instead of enabling it...........Parents and the media also deserve some credit for this generation's dysfunction.

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rco1847 1 year, 6 months ago

Nate - you raise your kids - I raised mine 25 years before you. Tests scores will not improve until the "new" students learn english. If enough people immigrate at one time you can lower the average height, weight, and many health factors. The full cost of immigration is not fully recognized up front and not really offset with cheap labor. No, I'm not anti-immigration - I'm just mentioning one of many things which distort our self assessment. The issue has many more moving parts than what you've acknowledged. It's complicated.

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notblind 1 year, 6 months ago

When the federal government insisted that the states had to accept illegal aliens in K>12 all 50 governors should have refused. The federal government has totally failed to do it's job on immigration. The H1 visa program is another attack on the American worker by their own government.

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news2me 1 year, 6 months ago

They were abandoned first, now they are just lost. Our country has done this damage to ourselves. We treat outsiders and immigrants better than our own. We have given others more and told our youth they are spoiled and entitled, in comparison to those that "come here for a better life". When you send that message over and over again, they begin to believe it and live it.

Our society is broken. We have attempted to educate the world and let outsiders and immigrants simply take the American dream from our own children. Highly educated people don't want to bring kids into this world, and the entitled takers are having too many.

kevin is right too. Technology has destroyed the fiber of our country in many ways.

Too much change too fast. Let's hope our younger generation finds their way back.

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spiehler 1 year, 6 months ago

Wow. Society! Technology! Liberals! Immigrants! Nothing like trying to fix blame instead of fixing the problem. How about this one: we take a long, hard look in the mirror.

Gee, Junior and Missy are materialistic and lost. Hmm, might it have something to do with Mumsie and Daddiekins? All this is going on with the rise of the helicopter parent, those folks who swoop in at every perceived slight to "fix" it. We are no longer willing to let kids problem-solve, because that means they might have to experience failure. We wrap them in bubble wrap, tell exaggerated tales of "stranger danger," and basically do everything possible to make them think that anyone who is "other" is threat.

For the record, I am a married (25-year) father of a 17-year-old HS senior with a lifetime 4.0 average. I see in her friends a lot of hope for the future. These kids are willing to work for it, even when everyone around them is handed things on a silver platter.

Technology is a tool, nothing more, nothing less. If we're not willing to teach how the tool should be used, shame on us. If we can't model stable relationships, shame on us. If we value style over substance, shame on us.

Kids learn what they live.

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spiehler 1 year, 6 months ago

Oh, let me add one thing: I once read a study that suggested that the only difference between a "good" kid and a "bad" kid, controlling for every conceivable factor (family, faith, socioeconomics) was this: A non-parental adult (Coach, teacher, pastor, scout leader, etc) that cared.

I always remember-for some kid, I may be that difference. Keeps a man honest.

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