Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Kids in America

A few nights ago I started a much different blog, but I didn't get to finish it and tonight as I sit here, I am not interested in finishing my previous rant. After a full month of summer break from school and now, a summer holiday weekend is just finishing up, I figured that I have seen a vast span of people come through the Biloxi area. I have given more than my share of directions to restaurants, casinos and Wal-Mart. I have met and observed people from all over the country, both young and old, and it saddens me to think of what the future holds for society in general. When I was growing up, we would never dream of talking back or worse, cursing any person that we felt was even the slightest bit our elder. We were talk to respect all people and, even when disagreeing, to be mindful of what you said and how you said it. Lately all I have seen are people spouting obscenities to any and everyone. Case in point, I was sitting outside our neighborhood Starbucks enjoying some coffee and the cooler weather that moved through. Our Starbucks closes its cafe at 8:30pm and the drive through remains open until 9pm. This doesn't make most people want to jump for joy, but life goes on. A truck, 2009 Toyota Tundra Super Crew, pulled up and about five teenagers jump out. I am not talking about college students who could be in their 20s, I mean "I just got my driver's license" teenagers. One of the ladies on the patio told them what she had told everyone about the hours. They then proceeded to beat on the door and curse at the woman closing up inside. One of the statements was B^@!ch you need to open up this door and serve me some coffee. I didn't want coffee an hour ago! Now, not only were they foul and disrespectful, where does this new generation get off thinking that they have a right to have anything they want anytime they want it? It made me really think about what mistakes we are making while raising our kids. Our parents never did things by the book, but when we got older and we got educated, we found that it was time to tell them all the things they had done wrong and exactly how our generation, mostly without kids at the time, would do things. This may be one case to prove Mommy and Daddy know best. How is it that our generation has more successful people who are well-educated, take care of ourselves and up until this new economic downturn have been doing okay, but the people who punished us and taught us values didn't know anything. I look back on psychology class from college. I still remember my astonishment when the professor announced that parenting by fear would result in failure. I can honestly say that my parents probably used every technique that you weren't supposed to use and, yes, I did fear them for most of my life. I feared them enough to make good grades and do all that I was told to do in school. I feared them enough to not dare get arrested because then I would have to call them. I feared them enough to not dare speak to adults the way kids do today for fear that I would suddenly feel them pop me in the mouth. I feared them enough to not have sex early or with random people because you never wanted to have the "I'm pregnant" conversation as an unwed teen. No, the rules in our house were not up for negotiation. You did what you were told when you were told or suffer the consequences. I was locked out with my belonging sitting outside on at least two occasions and I was 21 then, but I didn't break curfew again. We learned how to cook and clean; Mom joked that she had kids for free housekeeping. However, now that I have my own house and family and I have been inside other's homes that did not have my training, I thank the Lord that she taught me well. We had to work, not during the school year, but every summer. We got no more than a day or two off between school and work and usually worked until the Friday before school started back. She used to take my check and give me an allowance out of it, but the day she gave me the money she had saved for me to start a checking account, I was thankful that she forced me to be thrifty. We learned the value of a dollar and how to budget our funds. Our college allowance was given on the first of every month and we got no more until the next month. She made us responsible for purchasing all toiletries and other needs for school. It worked. To this day, I have never had to pay a late payment on a bill or bounce a check. We had to earn a car. Earning was not monetary because even if we had the money, we would not have been allowed to purchase it. I received my first car in April of my Freshman year in college. I had proven via my grades and reports that I could be as responsible in college as they expected, so I was rewarded with a 1987 Honda Civic. This was 1995 and I didn't buy another until it was falling apart. I thank God everyday that my parents were strict. I look at those kids I grew up with that had everything and their parents were so "cool". Those kids took very different paths from me and I can say that although people measure success in different ways, I don't see many of those people measuring up to my concept of success. Isn't everyone's goal to raise their children to be productive human beings? If not, it should be. My sister and I have not been dependents of our parents for 10 years. We don't ask for loans or call complaining about not being able to pay our bills. We weren't boomerangs which all parents fear. Okay, I guess I was for a couple of months, but Hurricane Katrina was an extenuating circumstance. Like my mama always says "the only measure of success for parenting is your children" and from the looks of her two girls she thinks she did okay. No drug or alcohol problems; no unplanned pregnancies; jobs; families; independence; and most importantly, a strong sense of ourselves and our beliefs. I want everyone to sit back and look around at the younger generations around us. They have a definite sense of entitlement. They want everything handed to them on a silver platter. Instead of standing up for their beliefs, they take a stance over whatever the newest trend going is. Many that are graduating from college are unemployed; not because the jobs aren't there, but because they feel they are worth so much more than is being offered. Maybe it was because my parents are baby boomers, born to parents who survived the Great Depression, but my parents would tell me to suck it up and draw a check of some sort. I am not sure where this country is headed, but God help us all if things don't get better before this new generation is old enough to actually be in charge of something. I got a little long winded, so in the words of Forrest Gump...."that's all I have to say about that!"

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