Many that use this phrase leave no room for discussion. I’m left wondering if this is the way they wish it to be or if they have convinced themselves, or maybe they have heard it enough that it is now their truth.
Every time I hear this phrase and its equivalent “Kids these days!” I cringe a little.
I do so because I recognize that they begin life with zero knowledge of our world, its laws, teachings or values. They assimilate the values from the people that are slightly older, the very ones that decry the lost intelligence of generations that follow. From parents and grandparents come the lessons of life, the teachings and values they come to hold as their own. As information technology grows this process of passing knowledge becomes more difficult for individuals. We see influences of television, movies, music and video games stamped across the brains of our children. We see positive things as well. We see a vast network of information spread before their eyes and fingers in a way we never dreamed of or imagined we would ever experience.
The information is often technical however. I’ve not yet seen a video game dealing with ethics or moral choice. Information marketed to teens is rarely of the ethics and honor variety, rather themes like ‘jackass’ bring the dollars to the tv executives and shareholders.
It then becomes easy for us to turn our back and declare it is the fault of the world outside of us that kids have no manners, values, honor or knowledge. This is too easy I think.
If we are so convinced that kids have lost their way, defined as OUR way, then why are we so reticent to teach the values? Why do we blame an outside world?
I am drifting off into moralizing and hoped not to do so, still I see a world of kids with incredible potential. Theirs is a potential far greater than yours or mine for no other reason than that they are living through a continually advancing world of knowledge at a time later than you or I.
We inherit what we sow, do we not? This is wisdom handed down through the Books of Wisdom and layers of time. The next time we want to lament the ignorance of our children perhaps we should remind ourselves who has been teaching them, and then ask if we might have been teaching them at all?
I am reminded of the NFL head coach that declared at his weekly press conference that he was coaching the stupidest football team of all time. He said it was a team that appeared to know nothing about football. He said it with a straight face. He appeared to believe the responsibility for teaching them football belonged with someone else.
I laughed. He kept frowning.