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Kids These Days

Updated: Jan 7

This is not about what you think it is about. Probably. Hang with me for a moment and read something below.

Kids these days... are aliens
Kids... I'm not saying they're aliens, but... Aliens

“The children now love luxury; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are tyrants, …. They no longer rise when their elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up [dessert] at the table, … and tyrannize … their teachers.”

"Whither are the manly vigor and athletic appearance of our forefathers flown? Can these be their legitimate heirs? Surely, no; a race of effeminate, self-admiring, emaciated fribbles can never have descended in a direct line from the heroes of Potiers and Agincourt ..."

“…beauty, their exquisite clothing, their lax habits and low moral standards, are becoming unconsciously appropriated by the plastic minds of American youth. Let them do what they may; divorce scandals, hotel episodes, free love, all are passed over and condoned by the young ...”

“"Household luxuries, school-room steam-press systems, and, above all, the mad spirit of the times, have not come to us without a loss more than proportionate ... [a young man] rushes headlong, with an impetuosity which strikes fire from the sharp flints under his tread ... Occasionally, one of this class ... amasses an estate, but at the expense of his peace, and often of his health. The lunatic asylum or the premature grave too frequently winds up his career ... We expect each succeeding generation will grow 'beautifully less.'"

Kids these days, right? Well… no.

The first is attributed to Socrates by Plato, generally considered incorrectly though it is an ancient quote nonetheless. The second comes from Town and Country magazine in November 1771. The third is 1926. The last is December 18, 1856 issue of The National Era.

A lot has been said in the world about how if every generation was right, society would have entirely collapse by now, not steadily improved toward the high technology freedoms we exist in today that Plato could not have dreamed of. Much has been said about the fact that what we are seeing is the bottom tenth being judged by the rest, and the bottom tenth are always a problem, that is what it means to be at the bottom. Every group will have degeneracy and every group will have those who ae not an improvement on the generation before. We can not say “Generation XYZ is…” any more than it could be said about us. We are people, unique individuals with circumstances that mold who we are.

We are part of an average, and that average anchor biases where we start but…

None of this is what I want to talk about. I want to talk about a cure to “Kids these days,” mentality.

Go find one to get to know. Not yours, if you have one. That one doesn’t count because of course your kids are perfect. 😉 I know it is not easy to find a kid to talk to when you are an adult but keep an eye out for the circumstances, because it matters for your mental health. When the world looks bleak, and I don’t always want to believe in the generation to come, it is infinitely calming, and helpful to know there is a person who is going to outlive me, who will carry forward not with my ideals, not with my beliefs, but with theirs, in a way I can trust. We may differ, but at the core, they are good, as I understand the complexity of that word.

When this happens, we cannot shrug our shoulders and say “let it burn,” because there is someone I want to entrust the future to, because this person will do great things with it that I cannot imagine, and will not be here to see. It is my responsibility to all I can to help them achieve that, and I know it is not just my own biological urge to help my own offspring. It is trust that indeed… Kids these days. They will go to school for subjects which didn’t even exist when I was a child. They will discover things I could not have imagined. They will write stories I could not have penned, and make advances that my generation would not have considered worthwhile.

Go find someone you can believe in. It makes the reality of our own finitude so much more bearable.

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