Monday, September 20, 2010

They Grow Up

It's a commonly heard refrain in society in recent times:

"Kids grow up so fast these days."

Kids grow up so fast these days. But why do we think that? Because every 10 year old in America has a cell phone? Because they know how to operate a PlayStation, or play games on the computer? Because 12 and 13 year olds are allowed to date--and have sex-- and not have to deal with the consequences of their behavior?

Do kids really grow up much faster these days? Only if you believe that knowing how to play with the latest techno gadget makes one grown up. Truth is, we are keeping our kids immature much longer than we used to.

Think about it this way. A hundred and fifty years ago, no child would ever be allowed to sleep until 1:00 in the afternoon, after having stayed up all night playing video games. No, kids back then got up before the sun and fed livestock, gathered eggs, milked the cows and turned them out to pasture, cleaned the barn, brought water from the well, and filled the woodbox --all before breakfast.

Then they went off for a full day of school, and when they got home, they chopped more wood, hauled more water, weeded the vegetables, hoed the corn, fed the stock again, rounded up the cows and milked them, cleaned the chicken coop, helped with dinner and the dishes, then did their homework by lanternlight.

When they grew up, they got married at 17 or 18 years of age, and those marriages worked. Those marriages lasted because those kids grew up knowing what it takes to make a marriage last. They knew how to be responsible, and had the maturity to do so.  Kids today don't have that maturity.  Kids today don't know how to work.  They huff and blow and sulk just doing the simplest of chores like taking out the trash or putting their dirty dishes in the sink.  The don't know how to earn what they want.  They expect to have every little thing they want just handed to them without them lifting a finger to earn it. 

The biggest problem is the parents.  They've bought into this strange idea that a parent's job it to make her kids happy all the time.  So instead of raising mature, competent, contributing members of society, today's parents raise spoiled, whiny, selfish perpetual children who demand everything from medical care to food to housing to phone service be handed to them at no cost to themselves. 

Kids today don't grow up faster than they used to.  Kids today don't grow up at all. 

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