Don’t Blame the Kids
(Entitlement thinking is not their fault)
Back in Sandy Point, families mostly all had kids. And, they usually had lots of them. There were eight in my dad’s family and six in my mom’s. My Mom’s uncle down the road had twelve kids and so did the folks just around the corner. My wife and I have three. And, we now have five grandchildren. So, I have been around kids some and, in fact, I have neighbors that have kids. I actually talk to some of them from time to time.
But, the family life today has changed considerably from those days in Sandy Point. And, certainly since I was a kid.
When I was a kid, the parents set the tone for what went on and where we went, what we did, etc. The kids were put in the back seat or in the rear of the station wagon, yes, I said station wagon and went where the parents went. In my mom’s day they had to ride in the back of the truck because there wasn’t enough room in the car and they did not use the car much.
Kids played in the yard and later went to school. Some kids had “after school activities” like playing a sport, 4-H, FFA, and some were in Scouts. But, by and large, family activities were determined by the parents and what they had going on. A lot involved family and church.
There was always an issue with transportation if you lived in the country, too far to walk from school, and there were often chores that had to be done at home. So, after school involvement was much more limited than today. Even in high school, kids that had driver’s licenses still rode the bus because there was only one family car, maybe two, and the parents went to work in them. Kids who could get a car and a job, often did so.
But we managed to have our kids in some activities all along. They played some sports, were on the debate team, were involved in Scouts and church activities and had their bands. They were at a friend’s house or hanging out by the pool or riding their motorcycles. And they seem to have survived their deprived childhoods without too much negative impact. But the world has changed.
Today, the family life is centered on the kids, their activities, where they need to be and when they need to be picked up. If it is a little inconvenient, well, that’s the way it is.
Today, we have the “fear of deprivation” effect. Parents want their kids to have everything, miss out on nothing, participate in every sport, music program, class trip, school play, dance lessons, and many have their church activities on top of that. In addition, there is hunting, fishing, and boating, skiing, and electronic gadgets. This requires the involvement of both parents as chauffeurs plus working out car pool with other parents to help cover the events that they can’t get to on their own. Uber could probably take lessons from some of the networks set up by the Moms.
Kids are leaving home at 7:30 AM and getting back at 10:30 PM and not just once in a while. The schedules are posted on desks, refrigerator doors, lap tops and dashboards. A kid getting a drivers license is both curse and blessing.
So who is responsible for all this? Why so much being packed into these kids’ daily activities?
Parents who want their kids to “have everything”, not miss out on any opportunity, and to be prepared for the world as an adult. Also, the desire to keep up appearances. Peer pressure.
Schools that are competing for pride, prestige, and awards. Especially the ones that cost $15-$20,000+ per year per kid.
The kids who have their own interest like dancing, baseball, or music. For some, it is to sit on a computer all day and play games.
Teachers who need to show the world what they are doing for the kids and those who want to be in a play, themselves, so they put on a school play that kids 10 years old have to practice every night until ten o’clock. And, coaches who must win games.
I met some fellows at Sports Authority in Cobb County who were obviously from a sports team. It turns out they were in town from Louisville, Kentucky for a baseball tournament with their kids. One guy said he was gone every week with one of his kids and his wife was with the other kid, a daughter, playing soccer. They swapped kids every week and traveled long distances and stayed in motels to pursue their dreams of greatness. They did not look like millionaires.
Kids, even the poorest ones, have to have a cell phone and the newest Nike shoes. An Xbox is a birthright. No sacrifice is too big. No one wants their kid “left out”. A sixteen year old has to have a car and if that means the parent(s) working two jobs, so be it.
Yes, some kids do work after school, I’m sure, but I really don’t know one that has the time. I saw a young lady who was turning 16 and I asked if she had a car picked out. It turns out she was getting her grandmother’s “used” car. A 300 Mercedes.
So by the time the kids get to twenty five, they expect to continue getting the stuff the way they have always gotten it: someone provides it for them. It’s what they are used to. Certainly, this is not true for every single kid, but it is for many. And those not on the receiving end, certainly want to be.
So is it any wonder that a 22 year old young woman says that everyone should get free college and be guaranteed a $100,000 a year job? Even if she has grown up in a million dollar home provided by her father who makes $900,000 a year and who paid for her $45,000 per year college tuition at Northwestern plus her car and apartment. Seems pretty simple to her. She has been supplied everything her whole life and adjusting to a life without those fringe benefits would seem like being punished for a crime she did not commit. Why shouldn’t everybody have that privilege?
The best milk cow I have every seen only had four outlets to hook up to to get the milk. The best hog in the world can only feed so many little pigs at one time. The same with a mother dog.
I don’t know how many we have suckling at the country’s table but the number has grown considerably and will continue to do so. There is a limit to what the producers can stand. Fewer people working as a percentage of the population, (about 62% of the country is working at present, forget the “unemployment” numbers). More people on food stamps than ever and more people that seeming are perfectly content to accept a life without the encumbrance of working and a government that has ignored the failures of “warehousing poverty”. A lot of us question how a company executive can be worth millions and millions in pay while some of the company’s employees struggle to get by.
Why doesn’t the government do anything about illegal immigration? The population of the US has stopped reproducing babies fast enough to grow the economy and we need the workers. We have a hard core group of people who do not and will not work. And, people I knew in the last recession who were making $80,000 and lost their jobs were not willing to take a lower paying job and were on unemployment for a year and a half. Taking a lower paying job was offensive to them while being on unemployment wasn’t.
Don’t blame the kids for not wanting to be taken off life support. When you have had two people working night and day for you as a kid, why not expect that when you are an adult? Even if the two people are somebody you don’t even know who live in Des Moines and have two kids of their own. You deserve it!