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 firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on Fridays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/natemccullough.