Some of you know that I’m a teacher as well as a writer. I keep those two positions separate, not because I’m trying to live a double life, but because I don’t ever want it thought that I’m trying to push my work on my students.
I hear folks—mostly in the comments section of websites—bemoaning how terrible today’s kids are. They’re technology-obsessed, they’re entitled, they’re weak, they’re evil. You want the truth from someone on the front lines?
That’s utter, unadulterated crap.
Kids today are like kids fifty years ago, which were like kids a hundred years before that and a millennium before that. They’re products of their environments and their genetics (I’m more of a nurture guy, but I’m not ruling out a smattering of nature too). If a kid is technology-obsessed, that’s because he’s allowed to be. Or his parents are technology-obsessed too. If a kid is entitled, that’s because he has learned to be. If a kid exhibits other negative traits, well, were the rest of us perfect when we were that age? Are our memories really that short? I was a screaming mass of insecurities and paranoias and issues in my teens, and I was considered fairly well-adjusted.
So let’s drop this pretense that kids are just different these days. They’re not. You know what they are?
Awesome. Yep, I said it. I think today’s kids are growing up in a scary time in which any mistake they make can be revealed to everyone they know or ever will know in the blink of an eye. They’re exposed to the terrible behavior of adults on television, on the Internet. Heck, in their own lives.
And the kids I work with, for the most part, see it for what it is—unacceptable behavior. The kids I work with aren’t perfect—they’re people, remember?—but they’re doing their best to be the best people they can be.You know, kind of like the rest of us? I wish everyone could see the kids that I see every day and understand just how much passion they have, how much sincerity, how much intelligence. How much heart.
So no, I’m not deifying today’s kids, but I am saying that, at the very least, today’s kids are as good as other generations have been. And there are many moments when I suspect they might be even better.
That’s all. Have a great night. And stop shouting at those vicious hooligans to get off your lawn.
2 thoughts on “A Word about Today’s Youth”
Nicely said, man. While I don’t yell at kids to get off my lawn, I do give them the Hairy Eyeball when they misbehave in my bookstore, does that count? 😉
You’re allowed, Chris. The bookstore thing gives you an automatic pass. 🙂