A Generation of Affluence
Disclaimer: What I’m about to say might come across as blasphemy to some. It might seem ill-informed, ignorant, or otherwise clueless. I’m perfectly willing to accept those adjectives, as long as those who are offended are willing to take my advice with a grain of salt. What I have to offer is a little advice to the parents of this world.
Please, for the love of Pete, stop providing your children with “a better life” than you had.
I know that when you were a kid, you had to hike uphill in the snow both ways when trying to get to school–or at the least you had to ride a bus with no air-conditioner and a heater that didn’t work. It’s nice that this current generation actually gets seat belts on their bus rides, but we can carry things too far.
While there are many children in this world who suffer the consequences of poverty, never knowing from whence their next meal will come, but there are still startlingly growing numbers of children who have no concept of “need.”
Today’s child has choices when it comes to dinner. If she doesn’t like what everyone else is having, she’s got a freezer full of tasty combestibles. When I was a child, if I didn’t like what was served for dinner, I had options–eat it, or go to bed hungry. Now, granted, there were occasions when exceptions were made, but those were few and far between. Pretty much, if Mom fixed it, you were going to eat it– and you better tell her how “mmm mmm” good it was, or there’d be “consequences.”
“Consequences.” Now there’s a word for you. Whatever happened to consequences? Now we have “time-out.” We had “time-out” then, but it was called “a guilt trip.” There were few things as devastating to a young lad as “dissapointing your mother.” One of the few things worse than that was being informed that, “your father won’t be pleased.” Of course, that was a time when I and other kids my age still respected our parents. Somewhere, parents stopped gaining the respect of their children. Perhaps rightly so.
When parents stopped being adults (my generation seems to be fighting “growing up” pretty vehemently), and started being “buddies,” the system started breaking down. There’s a reason that God charged adults with caring for children. It’s because children need mature guidance. Not everything that happens in life is pleasant, and it’s a parent’s responsibility to ensure that their children aren’t blind-sided by strife when they grow older.
Everybody knew that one kid who’s parents sheltered him just a little too much. When he grew up and moved away, he swung so hard into life that he hit the wall and imploded with self-indulgence and all abandon. He was either dead or in prison before he hit 30. He was usually some preacher’s kid. If his parents had let him see them fight, make up, fight again over the same thing, and make up again, he might not have failed in his marriage. If he had been taught that his older brother’s bicycle was still good enough for him to ride, he might not have left it in the driveway to be run over, like the new bike they bought him, instead. If he had to sand and prep the body on his first car, (coincidentally, he had to rebuild the engine in it before the 10 year old beast could be driven) he might not have been so cavalier about drinking and driving (into a tree) in his brand new sports car that mom & dad bought for him.
Was my life “better” than my parents’?
Do I have children of my own?
No, I’m child-free (note the distinction from “childless”).
So what do I know about raising children?
More than I care to, and not as much as those of you with children of your own.
Does this mean I’m wrong?
So, next time you’re in the store with your little one and she just can’t possibly live without getting the new “Pukey Patty” doll, be the adult. Show her that life will go on, and make her put the doll back on the shelf.
Then, when she’s stopped crying, take her for Ice-cream. Tell her Uncle Albert said, “It’ll be okay.”