Thursday, May 1, 2014

No, We Have NOT Ruined The Next Generation!

Kids these days, eh? If you believe the blog posts that tend to go viral, kids these days are being raised to be worthless, useless beggars who won't be able to make it in this world because no one is teaching them how to take care of themselves, we don't give them any independence, and we don't let them take risks and learn to fail. We are ruining the next generation and, by extension, the world by raising dependent and needy kids who never want for anything, care only about themselves, and can't be bothered to so much as wash their own clothes, solve their own minor problems, or learn to manage their money properly.

Kids these days. All they want to do all day is sit in front of their computers, watch TV, and text. They've always got their noses buried in their iPhones, drink 64-ounce Cokes from McDonald's, and take pills to help them stay awake for tests. They're all fat and lazy. They're bullies. They don't know how to respect each other or adults.

It's funny, because when I'm driving around my neighborhood, I see kids out riding their bikes and scooters in the pleasant springtime afternoons. We go to the park and there are always other kids there swinging, playing ball, and going down the slides. Yes, some of them have iPhones. Yes, many have earbuds in their ears. But they're out there, running around, playing together. They invite other kids to play with them. They express concern when a peer is hurt. They help the younger ones climb up the ladder to the slide. They push their younger siblings on the swings.

I meet kids who hold doors open for me as I come through with my stroller or a kid on each arm. Polite and sweet children greet me and each other and introduce themselves. Kids share sand toys at the beach and cars and trucks at the park.

I see kids wanting to solve hunger in their communities. I see young people showing incredible sportsmanship. I see kids raising money to fight cancer. I see teenagers helping a stranger with special needs find his way home. I see high schoolers rallying to to give a sick friend the time of her life.

There was the boy at school who helped my son to the bathroom when he wasn't feeling well, then brought him to his teacher. There were the boys playing baseball in the park who invited my son to join them. There was the little girl in the sandbox who offered to share some of her sand toys with my sons so they could play with her.

How about the middle schooler who found an elegantly simple solution to help his school district and the federal government save hundreds of thousands of dollars? Or the young man who got into all eight Ivy League universities?

Instead of denigrating a whole generation, let's hold up these shining stars as examples for their peers. Instead of blaming young parents for raising a crop of moochers who won't do anything to advance humanity, let's celebrate families whose kids go above and beyond. Instead of bemoaning the selfishness of today's youth, let's rejoice in their compassion and generosity.

Tell me about children in your life who deserve recognition for kindness, respect, and accomplishments!

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