Is it every generation's job/fate to worry about the next generation’s ability to successfully carry on the world's business? Or is it that I work with the most dis-ordered children and families day after day? Or perhaps, am I just getting old and cranky?
Because I am seriously worried.
Parents in the 1940's worried that radio and television would be the downfall of society. Parents in the 50's worried about Rock and Roll. Parents in the 60's worried about long hair, drugs and bra burning feminists. My parent's generation worried about the Animal House parties and drug overdoses. Parents in the 80’s worried about anorexia and HIV.
I worry that today’s kids can’t two shoot baskets at the Y without looking at their phone. The young ones lie on the floor playing games on their devices for more time than they play actively. For Cripe’s Sake, they have to have radio commercials telling them to “Go Outside and Play” an hour a day. The overweight are now the majority in the elementary schools.
Most interaction now occurs through texting and social media. Does this generation even know how to communicate face to face? And don’t get me started on their writing or ability to speak without saying “like” every other word.
Conflict resolution? Huh, what’s that? They say unthinkable things on Facebook and resort to profane rants, fists and violence when confrontation does occur. I’ve noticed an increase in sports related fights and a decrease in true sportsmanship being displayed at the high school up to the professional level. Self abuse (cutting and suicide attempts) is the go-to way to lessen one’s personal pain. How does that make any sense?
What is going to happen to this generation of Baby Mama, Baby Daddy, good-bye nuclear family? Even the middle class is moving away from marriage all together and those who do are divorcing at an extraordinary rate.
Granted, my exposure to youth is heavily weighted to the most troubled and emotionally disturbed young people, who have been exposed to unbelievable trauma and dysfunctional environments. Their lives revolve around DCFS, foster care, jail, prison, court, probation. Their coping skills are nil and their role models weak or non-existent. Many kids today don’t know who or where their biological parents are.
And yes, I am getting old. Each day I am greeted with new gray hairs, puffier eyes than the day before, hands that could pass for a great grandmother, and a cranky attitude to match. I hang up my clothes after wearing them for a day. I have put Kleenex up my sleeve when I’ve been too lazy to go to the trash basket. The age spots and cellulite do not go away no matter how much I pay for skin products or how much I work out. I have gone 2-3 days (4 once even !) days without washing my hair, because it “feels like it’s drying out.” That’s when I catch that old people smell on myself. So yes, I have definitely crossed over into the physical and mental make-up of an old person.
Whether I am in the wrong profession, moving into the wrong mindset with age, or simply carrying out my fate, I definitely have concerns. I struggle with these issues on a daily basis. Still, there are days when my faith is restored, and you can look forward to that in my next blog. I have not gone completely to the dark side. Maybe I just need a vacation.