Buck up…

My grandparents generation created the term “teenager” to describe the years 13-19. They lowered the expectations for these years. They wanted to give the next generation more time to grow up. Intentions were good; unintended consequences not so much. In essence they were promoting more freedom coupled with less responsibility; growing up, not so much. Remember, freedom and responsibility are bookends.

My generation has coined a term too. We created the term “emerging adults,” to describe the years 18-29. We’ve lowered expectations further. If the greatest generation gave us the gift of time, we were damn sure gonna pass it on, and then some. We’ve replaced “buck up, son,” with “hey kids how ’bout some more freedom to “find yourself” and send us the tab when you arrive.” And, the unintended consequence is we’ve spawned a generation that is thanking us by giving us the Heisman. Funny, huh…

Christian Smith, in his worthwhile read titled Lost in Transition spells it out succinctly: “Parental relationships may remain important in many ways, but they usually do not form the fabric of the daily interactions or consume the hours of time spent together that other emerging adult relationships do. This means that structurally, most emerging adults live this crucial decade of life surrounded mostly by their peers – people of the same age and in the same boat – who have no more experience, insight, wisdom, perspective, or balance than they do. It is sociologically a very odd way to help young people come of age, to learn how to be responsible, capable, mature adults.” Yes. Yes it is.

Talk about the blind leading the blind…

If you hadn’t guessed, this is written to young parents who still have toddlers and time. Do NOT make the mistake my generation, my parents generation, and my grandparents generation made. Remember, freedom and responsibility are bookends. Do not extend freedoms further. Instead focus on teaching responsibilities and challenging the next generation instead of more coddling. Challenge the young. TALK to them about the tough topics. Push them to think about moral dilemma’s. Help them learn to think for themselves and ask good questions of those that have been there before. Build them. Make them do what they can.

Who knew “Buck up” was exactly what we needed…

1 thought on “Buck up…

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