A few followers have asked…why so long between posts?
It’s simple, actually.
I’m too busy reacting to my kids’ inability to stay organized.
You see, kids today do not understand how to manage their lives. Other than staying on top of normal homework (i.e. assignments that don’t require specialty items such as foam core boards or specific books), the concept of responsibility eludes them.
We spend inordinate amounts of time searching for wayward knee pads, phone chargers and scrambling to accommodate last minute requests for field trip deposit checks and rides to forgotten activities…all because our kids cannot think more than five minutes into the future.
This is expected with youngsters, you know…KINDERGARTNERS. But a 17 year-old? A 15 year-old? Middle school-aged kids? Come on! Their failure is our spike in blood pressure. Some examples just in the past week:
“The printer doesn’t work and I need to print something for school”…Monday morning, 6:55am, 5 minutes before it’s time to leave for school
“I don’t have any socks”…Monday morning, 6:45am, 15 minutes before it’s time to leave for school
“Oh whoops…I forgot I have to read 75 pages”…Sunday night 8:45pm (due date for reading? Monday morning, first period).
“My [several-hundred-dollar] school housing deposit is due” our college-bound son
“When?” his father
“Tomorrow at 7am” our college-bound son
These are but a few high notes in the relentless, rapid-fire current of constant need and last-minute scrambling that goes on in our house.
What’s a parent to do? The options are few but vastly different in terms of the result. I am guilty of oversimplifying. It’s so easy to hear a friend complain about this sort of thing and react with a casual, “Well, stop doing things for them. If they can’t give you X days’ notice, tough luck.” This is much harder to pull off in real life, when grades and college housing availability are at stake.
Honestly? I think we blew it. We missed the window of opportunity for instilling basic responsibility into our kids. It has to start at a much younger age…maybe even with a generational shift that can’t happen until this wave of kids is up and out of the house, because we’ve conditioned them to rely on us for everything.
This is the end result of our entitlement approach to parenting…kids that are completely unable to manage their lives, and worse, kids that EXPECT their parents to run around behind them cleaning it all up. Their biggest concern on any given day is their social calendar, their wants and their priorities, none of which include even a passing thought for the future. The scariest part is that we are slowly unleashing these grossly unprepared soon-to-be-adults into a society where employment is hard to come by, and common sense is evaporating in favor of misguided allegiances to ’causes’ that advocate for a slacker culture (i.e. Occupy Wall Street).
Tomorrows leaders: a group of unprepared children with a nasty case of arrested development, whose preferred method of communication is a text, Tweet or Facebook post; who on any given day will be forced to turn their dirty underwear inside out and re-use because they forgot to do laundry; who will run out of gas on the freeway at least once a month; whose $300/month Smartphones will alert them when their checking accounts are overdrawn; who will gladly live with their parents well into their mid-20s (and complain if said parents ask for rent); whose “C gets a degree” mentality will promote mediocrity, thus forcing a socialist government to take over and make the big decisions, because they simply don’t have the tools.
OK, maybe that last part is a bit dramatic, but you get my drift.
Mark my words – we are spiraling, people. Every time they forget their backpacks at school or neglect to plan ahead for events, it may seem innocuous. In fact, it’s a symptom of the larger problem: a generation of kids that do not understand consequences which, if left unchecked, is going to be a death blow to our society…maybe not in 10 years or even 50 years, but it’s coming.
We need to stop behaving like a bucket of joint compound, filling in the holes of their mistakes and missteps. If they forget an assignment, they get an F. If that’s all they’re capable of, then who are we to artificially inflate their abilities by walking them through it or coming to their rescue? Ditto with all aspects of their lives. Forgotten knee pads? I guess your knees will be sore after volleyball. Forgot to tell us about the camp deposit that’s due? No, I won’t drive to your school at the last minute and drop off the check for you. I guess you don’t get to go to camp.
My advice? Start early. The consequences are not as serious when your kid forgets her lunch and you refuse to bring it to her. Break the cycle we’ve created – we’re counting on you!