Your Generation Probably Sucks... or WillWhen Generations Become the Worst Aspects of Our Parents' Generations
We Were Our Parent’s Nightmares; Our Children Are Ours
“What did we do back in the day that kids today no longer do?”
“What did we have back in the day that kids today no longer have?”
These two questions usually start with light and wistful nostalgia and end with the trolling of younger generations. I’m rooted in Gen X regardless of where the years slide depending on which site or country or locale you’re in looking at generations. And the same trolling comments about what is missing today (respect, manners, God, humor) are the same comments I heard from the Boomer crowd as I was growing up. They’re the same things their parents said to them growing up. At some point, we stopped being the “it” generation and stepped into the status quo generation, and with that step, we became our parents. And often, we became the most frustrating things we hated about our parents when we were kids.
There is no question that my mom was often correct in her warnings or worrying about me. I was a really stupid kid prone to doing really stupid things. So it is no surprise that she was correct. She was biologically my grandmother, so she had already seen a host of her kids doing very stupid things. So she had warnings galore. I, of course, ignored them. I was a teenager or a twenty-something, so I had no reason to not forge my way in the world any way I liked. In fact, her other children, who had also been through it and were in the Boomer generation, gave me the same warnings. But what did they know, right?
Kids today are the same. And they need to make their own mistakes. Just because they do not play the same way you did as a kid or align with your politics or religious zealotry doesn’t mean they’ll end up in a mess. They will, but there isn’t much you can do about it. Just like we ran blindly and headstrong into the abyss as kids, they’re going to do the same thing.
And they’re going to have a great time doing it. There will be heartache, sure. There may be broken bones, hang-overs, and pregnancy scares. But they will also make some of the best friends who will cheer them on forever, even when they’re in different cities with families of their own. They will be a part of their in-group, whether or not you approve of it.
But I’m not here to give parenting advice. I chose not to have kids for a reason. I didn’t need them in my life. But I do want to ask if you want your kids to have a better life than you did. Do you want more for them, even if they are lazy lay-abouts that play video games all the time? Do you want mini-you’s? Because sometime, probably when they hit 30, they’re going to start to shape-shift into you.
Their politics might be different. They may belong to a different religion or eschew religion altogether. They may be gay or trans or marry a person from a different race or open-carry or whatever it is that is the opposite of you. But they’ll also transition into you. They’ll start talking about how their kids are doing stupid things, and why don’t they just play co-op Halo like they did as kids? And the weird thing is that you might just support your grandkids more than you did your kids when they were the same age.
Just thinking about some of the things I’ve seen around the web lately, and comments on social media groups, especially in the 80s and 90s. One guy was appalled because his twenty-something daughter was listening to WAP. This is a guy who knew all the lyrics to 2 Live Crew’s “The Fuck Shop” in high school. And he was shook by her knowledge not only of the lyrics of the song, but that she knew what those lyrics meant.
I just smiled, thinking back to my own misspent youth and what my mom knew versus what I talked about with her. And all I could think was, “buckle up buttercup, because she has a WHOLE WORLD she’s not telling you.”