With today’s political climate, the one question I have is, when did the belief that if you work hard you will get the things you want no longer become something we teach our children? When did this entitlement mentality start becoming the driving force that the Millennials now live by? Well guess what Gen-X’ers and Xennials it’s our fault.
Now hear me out. Let me explain why I believe it is our fault for the current political climate and ideology of today’s youth. We are a generation (and micro-generation) of people that when we were young, we had parents that worked. Whether it be mom, dad, mom and dad, grandparents etc. When we got home from school our parents, or whoever we lived with, would be at work leaving us to our own vices. We had to clean the house, make dinner or fend for yourself. We were taught that money doesn’t grow on trees. Most of us lived in homes that were either on the poor side or lower middle class. This includes myself. If we wanted something we had to do more chores or get a job and save up for what we wanted. Mom and dad for the most part never just handed us money to buy that new pager or bike we wanted. We grew up in an analog age and for us Xennials we grew up in an analog age and became adults in a digital age. Yes we had Nintendo, but we didn’t have cell phones, computer or the technology we have today. We were given freedoms that the youth today only hear about. We weren’t allowed to stay inside on beautiful sunny days and sit in front of a television screen. We couldn’t come in on those days until the street lights came on. But by the time that happened we were so enveloped with what we were doing we didn’t want to go in.
We tell our children stories about when we grew up. The hilarious things we did with our friends and the stupid things we did that might or might not have been illegal at the time. We created memories, good and bad. We were taught to figure life out for ourselves. How to do things on our own. But were also taught morals and substance to be able to get through life. We were taught life is hard and doesn’t just hand you things. We were taught how to work on cars by dad even though we might not have wanted to. Mom taught us how to do everyday tasks like cooking and laundry. Our parents let us make mistakes and take falls to teach us how to learn from them. As a parent I now understand how hard this was for my parents to not tell me I have to do something this way or that way.
I always heard while growing up in the late 80’s and 90’s “I’m going to raise my kids differently!” Well guess what? We have. Completely differently. We have become more friends than parents. Granted some of us might not know how to be a parent. A lot of us had kids when we were still kids and as we got older started trying to get back the time we lost because you didn’t have a chance to experience life as a normal 18 year old or 21 year old. You partied with your kids. Drank with your kids. And yes partook in extracurricular activities that might or might not be illegal with your kids. We worry about our kid’s feelings more than the morality of the situation. Coach isn’t letting your child play in the youth football game? Let’s get up in front of everybody and start yelling at the coach. Let’s make a scene and embarrass your child.
That’s right Gen-X’ers and Xennials, it’s our fault. In the name of safety, under the delusion of protecting our children and their feelings. We have raised today’s youth that now have the ideology that everyone has to give up something they have worked hard for so that someone who hasn’t, can have a better life. Yes, so that our children’s feelings didn’t get hurt we yelled at coaches and teachers and people who were once looked at as mentors because our children didn’t work as hard, didn’t participate and yes even cried because they didn’t get to do something or because they wanted something. Yes, we have now made it standard to give participation trophies because we didn’t want our kid’s feelings to get hurt or even so they didn’t feel like they were good enough.
Yes it is our fault. Somewhere starting in the late 90’s and early 2000’s we lived up to our statement that “I will raise my kids differently”. We remember how it felt to get left out, to always sit on the bench, to be picked on and how it felt not to have the best things We have lived up to never let our kids feel that way, not wanting to see the life lessons it brought with it. The same life lessons our parents let us learn on our own.
Our self-fulfilling prophecy has now come full circle and is now starting to bite America and parts of the world in the rear end. We have let our youth grow up thinking that everyone else owes someone something just because they have worked harder to make their lives better. We kept our youth sheltered from the reality of life outside of home and school and now expect them as they leave the nest on their own to be able to make it. Instead they are smacked in the face that their feelings don’t matter to everyone. That you don’t get participation trophies. That yes you even have to follow the rules. That life does not hand you anything. That no one owes you anything. Yes, you do have to work for what you want and that does mean you may have to work hard. You may have to work long hours. And yes you will have to follow the rules of your job.
Yes Gen-X’ers and Xennials, we have failed today’s youth. We are to blame for the current ideology and political climate. There is no one else to blame but ourselves.