Wednesday, 30 March 2011

March 30, 2011 - Pity the Young People

Ok, that's a needlessly twee title, but I do.  Pity them.

My own daughters, ages 24 and 19, are remarkably self-sufficient people.  But a lot of their peers - not so much.  They really do stay put in their parents' basements, rendered utterly dependent and incompetant by the helicopter parenting to which they were subjected. They genuinely don't seem to know what to do with themselves. 

I have just been working on a piece on the topic of "great Canadians you've never heard of" for my writing circle.  It gave me pause.  Can greatness flourish in this generation of kids who've had their problems solved or circumvented for them, and rarely leave the house without a helmet on?  And what about the next generation, who seem to relate only to screens?

Now I've met plenty of awesome 20somethings through Wise Daughters - creative, enterprising young women who are having a serious go at making a living by selling their handmade goods.  They are full of beans and great ideas.  Some of them have self-esteem issues, and some are overly confident (a by-product of never experiencing failure perhaps?).  But a bunch of them truly give me hope.

As a demographic group, however, the collective abilitiy of today's under 25's to contribute to society (and my old age), and even to function as social beings, rather worries me.  I say that somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but not entirely.  Their attachment to screens is, I fear, going to have implications beyond our wildest nightmares.  I already meet plenty of youth who can’t look me in the eye or string a sentence together standing in front of me.  They communicate more successfully via email, though their spelling makes me sob.   

I can't help but smugly feel that my daughters will outshine their peers simply because they can speak, write and move in the real world.  Also, they are fearless.  Not careless, and not carefree - there is a big difference there.  But they embrace risk.  And greatness cannot be achieved without huge risks, it seems to me.


  1. I think I just gave up hope on "Them" when I recently learned that there was an APP that enables One to utilize their phone camera to see WHERE they are WALKING *under* their TEXTING!!

  2. Visit one or two of the pre-university (LOL) high school English classes I have taught (LOL) over the past 4 years or so, and you will weep; while I tear my hair out.