In this, the 21st Century, what do average teens like to do? I doubt the answer is very surprising.
“Teenagers enjoy hanging out, playing video games, eating, playing sports, going to sports events, and watching TV, etc.”
The above was taken from a site called answer.com. Notice that reading or writing is not among the favorite things. All are activities that will not further their education or mental skills for a future that will definitely leave them behind.
One of my favorite one-liners involves a well-known literary character. I said this to a junior in high school and a two-year college student, and neither one knew who I was talking about.
“Did you know that the only person to ever get their work done by Friday was Robinson Crusoe?”
They both responded, “Who is Robinson Crusoe?”
Daniel Defoe’s literary classic isn’t even read in school anymore, but was required reading in my day. It was the subject of several movies, including a rather campy one in the 60s called “Robinson Crusoe on Mars.”
This brings me now to where we are headed in our education here in America. As a teen graduating in 1970, in California, we were able to read at the second year college level. We wrote our papers in English, not in slang terms like “lol” or other such internet lingo, which are not even in the dictionary. Although at times we had some of the same interests as kids today, we were a bit more serious about the future. It seems that the lack of focus is more prevalent today than then.
We had our share of foreign exchange students in school. Some of them were really nice people. But what was amazing, is how smart they were, and yet very humble. Back then, Japanese students came here to go to college, mainly to play. Their high school diploma, due to their curriculum, gave them the equivalent of a four year college education here. They needed that “sheep skin” on the wall to compete in their country for jobs and careers. Still, they were a lot better off than we were.
I have friends my age whose late 20s kids have “failed to launch” on their own, and are still living at home. These friends are ready to retire and enjoy their senior years, and yet have to put up with the kids hanging around the house, unable to either find or hold down a job, and think they will be able to live off the parents forever.
I grew up in a one-parent home. Mom and Dad split up not long after I was adopted. We moved up and down the state of California, until finally settling down in the Bay Area, in Concord, California. I mowed lawns, delivered papers, and other odd jobs to help with our finances.
After high school, I joined the Navy, where I spent 15 years of my life. It helped me a great deal. It gave me a sense of discipline, which kids today do not have. I became organized, focused, and greatly more appreciative of what I had in this country compared to some other countries.
I learned to make it on my own. And it pleases me that my three grown children have done the same thing. The two boys have well-paying jobs with benefits, and seem to do well for themselves. My daughter is handicapped and in a wheelchair, but with her boyfriend do alright for themselves.
Kids today are definitely more irreverent than we were at that age. It is more fun to go out, party, get drunk, get laid, and be irresponsible than it was in our day. When getting married fresh out of high school or pregnant at such an early age, when you’ve not even experienced anything beyond the home is a sad commentary. In this day and age, when relationships are as expendable as throwing away soda cans and other trash, what does that say for our society? And when their friends have bad experiences as a result of a drunken party, where they may be injured in a car accident or injured in other ways and wind up in the hospital or dead, you’d think kids would have learned from the lessons of others. Not the case. They will still have to go out and put their hands on the stove, just to find out that it really was “hot.” Foresight has never been the norm. Hindsight usually wins out.
I also have made my fair share of mistakes and have learned from them. Trying to pass that wisdom onto younger generations is an apparent waste of time. The only thing we can do is maybe turn the heat down on the stove a little, so they don’t burn themselves too badly.