I am stepping away from all of the interesting blogs about me, me and me…because I want to address something that I’m hearing more and more about, and I’ve experienced myself a few times. Let’s call it Generation “I”.
Now, at the risk of sounding like ALL of our parents, or grandparents, kids today are getting out of control. Not the typical issues that we’re familiar with (and probably guilty of AS kids) like curfew violations, disrespecting adults, and general shenanigans. I’m more concerned with the seemingly oblivious attitude kids seem to have regarding the world around them, and the danger they may be exposing themselves to.
Case in point:
I was driving down the street this past weekend, when I saw a group of kids walking a block or so ahead of me. I happen to live in a neighborhood that has invested heavily in sidewalks…still…kids walking in the street isn’t too unusual. But as I got closer, I was surprised that – while a few kids moved to the side to allow me to pass, three girls (I’ll put them at 12 to 14 years of age) continued to walk down the middle of the street. Keep in mind that I don’t drive a Prius, so it wasn’t like I was sneaking up on them. I kept a safe distance back while waiting for them to move aside, but they just kept going. It was only after a half block or so that I finally tapped my horn, assuming that they were distracted by shiny pebbles or the chirping of birds and could not hear the gentle purring of my engine. The response? A glare from each of them, as though I just told them I had run over their favorite pet.
I’m a nice guy. I have kids and grandkids, and I even go to church every now and then. Yet this really bugged me. And the more I thought about it, the more aggravated I became. I mean…what if? What is I was a drunk driver, or if I was texting my bff? What if I had just spilled hot coffee in my lap, or a bee flew in my window? Yes, these are all “hypothetical”, but what if? What makes it okay to “play in traffic”?
I freely admit that I was a nonconformist as a kid. I went against my parents at every opportunity, and (as a child of the “60’s/70’s”) tried to do my own thing. But I have to say there were two things as a young teen that I followed with an almost religious fervor; respecting my fellow human beings and not going to battle against a large motorized metal object. The first is just about being a good person, the second was just good sense and was better left to superheroes like Superman or The Incredible Hulk.
Maybe we should blame ourselves for the attitude of our children. As parents, we are constantly protecting our children to the point of excess. We try to shelter them from the bad things that occur in our world, which probably helps them believe that nothing bad CAN happen to them. When I was about five or six, I was playing in front of my grandmother’s house in Chicago with some of the neighborhood kids. We were darting through yards and in between cars, when a kid from across the street got hit by a car. She was hurt badly, and from that day forward, I knew (and so did she) about the evils of playing in the street. I put my hand on a hot iron once too. Another valuable lesson learned!
The term “School of Life” is really quite appropriate. We learn every day, from books, computers, television, and human interaction. The lessons we learn will help us avoid future mistakes, and help us develop into good teachers in the future.
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