Friday, September 05, 2008

Something to Think About

I got this in an email today. Thought provoking, at least. What do you think?

"We send our children to school at an earlier age than our ancestors did. We provide our children with a minimum of 17 years of formal education (preschool thru college). We spend more income and resources on our children than our ancestors consumed in food and shelter. We provide more organized activities for our children to improve their social skills. Yet, our children take longer to mature / grow up, are more self-centered, and less empathetic towards others.

Today’s typical child is no smarter than a child from 100 years ago or even 200 years ago (although they live much longer). The child may have acquired more knowledge in terms of pure facts but is not capable of performing simple tasks that earlier generations performed without effort or injury.

Generations ago a boy was considered a man when he reached the age of 12, later it was 16, and now today it is 24. Some experts think it is more like 30 after the boy has had some life experiences on his own. In our effort to provide and protect for our children, have we abdicated our responsibility as parents / mentors to provide our children with real meaningful growth? Is not the acquisition of knowledge without real world application just trivia?

If this is evolution, then it would appear that we are headed to a very peaceful, self-serving destruction. Or is this a form of de-evolution? Where as parents, we accept less responsibility for our children and require others to share the burdens of our decisions. Where our children proclaim ignorance of the facts even though they have been schooled in these facts for more than 2 decades.

If as parents, we want our children to mature / grow-up as nature intended it (and not when they feel like it) then should we not also grow-up and accept the responsibility for the gifts that were given to us? If there is to be any hope for our children in this world, should we not set the correct example?

Remember this when you are washing the clothes for your 30 year old son or paying the bills for 30 year old daughter. Remember this when your children won’t help you because they can’t be bothered with your problems or when they put you in a home because it is easier than physically caring for you.

Being a parent may be choice. But once you have made that the choice, it’s a lifetime responsibility. For ever and ever, till the day you expire."


Adam@home said...

Yes, interesting...:o)

We will see what will happen to our boys :oD

Mirjam :o), homeschooling three boys in the Netherlands and trying to catch up with your blogging :o))

Kristin said...

That's hard to argue with. It's a sad commentary on the children and parents of this country. It's funny how worried parents are that their children have "fun" and other "experiences", but they don't teach them how to be a grown-up. Great reminder!

soleil said...

Very true! This will be something to think about as my husband and I start our family. I think it's really sad how this generation is so self-serving and spoiled. I'm not proud of it.

Michelle said...

Are we abdicating our responsibility, or loosing sight of how far the responsibility goes?

Yes, it's a shame when a 40 year old won't leave the house, but does this commentary take into account the proportional increases in the costs of living alone? What happens when going away to college to learn how to live on your own becomes financially impossible? When said children totally screw up and rack up so much debt that they want to commit suicide - how would you feel if you practiced that and they went through with it?

I think that these are things to think about, but not necessarily cut and dried.

Wandering emails like the one you have posted often are written from a specific point of view and are designed to elicit certain responses.

What would be the alternative? I'm not willing to bet that anyone who reads you will be willing to ceremonially shove their kids out the door on their 18th birthday. As much as we'd like to say that we would, we probably won't.